So, you’ve been scrolling through Instagram and have come upon some excellent smartphone macro photography. Congratulations on finding one of the most exciting and utilizable kinds of smartphone photography!
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I figured if the tiny male mason bees could shake off the long cold Winter, and make it out of hibernation to face the world, so could I. The bees made it out almost before the first Spring flowers. There is not much for them to eat yet, but still, they wait expectantly for the females to emerge. Soon the garden will be filled with all the colors and sounds of Spring. We juuuust have to make it through this upcoming week of forecasted rain. #macro #arthropod #insect #insects #bug #Hemiptera #masonbee #bee #nature #wild #sony #a7RIII #canada #vancouverisland #BC #macrophotography #banzoos #savethebees #savethepollinators #protectpollinators #protecttheplanet #banherbicides #banpesticides #ArthropodAdvocacy #conservation #yearofthearthropod
Now that you’ve discovered the discipline though you’re eager to set about teaching yourself how to take macro photos like the pros.
That’s where we at Photos With Phones come in. We’ll explain what smartphone macro photography is and teach you how and when to do it.
Then, we’ll give you some buying recommendations to make sure you have the gear necessary to take top-notch photos.
It’s easier than you may think to take professional grade smartphone macro photos!
What is Macro Photography?
In the simplest terms, smartphone macro photography is the photographing of tiny items with a smartphone as opposed to a DSLR or mirrorless camera. You can read about the pros and cons of smartphone photography in comparison to the two here.
While smartphone macro photography is a bit of a niche within the larger smartphone photography world, it is a wildly popular one in the regular photography industry.
The idea of macro photography is to capture as much detail in a photo as possible – from a bug’s antennae to a water droplet on a leaf. Sometimes because of the immense detail captured while doing smartphone macro photography, the images look abstract. This abstract style is an interesting concept to play with for some smartphone photographers.
While smartphone macro photography is specific to smartphones, the philosophies behind macro photography as a discipline are the same regardless of what kind of camera you’re using (don’t believe us – check this out).
In the eyes of many photography professionals, macro photography is a term only used when the subject is the same size as your camera sensor or smaller. According to these people, the term is frequently misused by people who’re just taking photos of little things.
Principally macro photography is used when the subject fills the frame, and the frame is limited to the sensor size.
For example, if your camera’s sensor were one inch wide, you would be photographing something one inch or smaller.
Important Smartphone Macro Photography Terminology:
Magnification (sample image below) –
So, how big is the subject of your photo compared to the size of the camera’s sensor?
It may seem like an unimportant question, but the answer is of the utmost importance when doing smartphone macro photography.
After all, the ratio of the subject size and sensor size gives you the photo’s magnification.
To explain, macro lenses are specifically designed to capture tiny subjects, so their sensors tend only to be between 17 and 36 millimeters. Or, for those unfamiliar with the metric system, the majority of your photo.
In layman’s terms, the more magnification in the lens, the more detail you can capture in a smaller subject.
Working Distance –
Working distance is the distance between the front of your lens and your nearest subject.
For most DSLR and mirrorless cameras, the recommended working distance when doing macro photography is about six centimeters.
For smartphone macro photography, however, we recommend doing some reading on what the lens producer says. Some lenses, for example, are ideal for use at an inch whereas others perform better at the same working distance as their DSLR or mirrorless counterparts.
It can help to think about what exactly you’ll be doing smartphone macro photography on before purchasing. If, for example, you’ll be photographing leaves then a one-inch working distance is ok. If, on the other hand, you’ll be photographing insects and lizards then good luck getting that close without them scuttering away.
How to Do Macro Photography
We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it – don’t zoom!
Especially if you are using a macro lens – don’t worry we’ll get to some recommendations later on which one you should choose – zooming makes the photo worse. Zooming compromises the integrity of the picture and makes it nearly impossible to edit.
Instead, get up close and personal with your subject, you shouldn’t ever even need to zoom anyway. The whole job of the macro lens (not lense) is to magnify your subject. Don’t worry if your photo doesn’t meet the subject fills the frame, and the frame is limited to the sensor size rule. Take the picture that you set out to take and deal with the repercussions later.
Oh, at this point you should catch the drift – to do pure smartphone macro photography you’re going to need a macro lens.
Don’t worry, though, this pure mobile macro photography can be both cost-effective and high quality! We’ve outlined some of the best ones for you – whether you’re an expert looking for a new lens or a beginner looking to purchase your first.
When to do Macro Photography
As we discussed earlier, macro photography should be done when the subject is the same size as your camera sensor or smaller.
At the same time, it is certainly worth experimenting with smartphone macro photography on other objects – regardless of their size.
You never know when an excellent experimental shot may come out!
In most cases, smartphone macro photography is great for capturing the intricate details of bugs, plants, and small animals. It may also be worth getting close up to take textured photos of larger objects if the picture is part of a collection.
But that piece of advice is just a little photography tip of the trade.
Best Lenses for Smartphone Macro Photography
We’ve looked at lenses a couple of times in the past. But we’ve never just talked macro.
That all changes now!
The lenses are ordered from best to worst performers, though all of these perform well for their price. The further down the list you go, then the cheaper the lenses become.
Happy lens hunting.
Maybe one day we’ll stop tooting Moment’s horn…
But that day is not today.
Moment’s Macro offering is another excellent product in terms of usability and performance. At $99, it’s relatively cost-effective in comparison to their other lenses too! Though, compared to the different smartphone macro photography lenses in this guide, the Moment Macro is relatively expensive.
The only other drawback to the Moment Macro is its comparatively low magnification. At the same time, the quality of glass in the lens almost makes up for the lack of those mentioned above.
The glass and the lens as a whole get made from only the finest materials that money can buy. Moment is a legit company, and their products make it clear that they’re here to stay. Care to read a little bit more about Moment?
Their macro lens is, regardless of the previously mentioned cons, definitely a must have in any serious macro photographers tool belt.
It’s worth noting though that to use any Moment lens you have to have a Moment Case!
There is a chance that Moment’s new range of lenses offers a new edition for smartphone macro photography as the macro is now one of the cheapest lenses that they sell. The current situation is sometimes an indication that an older model is soon to be replaced and they’re trying to clear stock.
So, the price of this baby could drop if that’s the case.
20x magnifcation for under $30?
Count us in and consider us head over heels in love.
The GLHMOGM Macro lens also comes with a lifetime warranty, which is something the competitors don’t offer. The 45-day satisfaction guarantee also means that if you aren’t as in love as we are, then, you can get your money back.
While they offer the money back guarantee, based on our work with GLHMOGM Macro you won’t even think about considering it! The images taken by this macro lens are almost competitive with those taken by the Moment lens, and more a third of the price we wouldn’t blame you for going in this direction.
One of the best parts about the GLHMOGM Macro lens is the clip – it’s unbelievably strong! You’ll never have to worry about the lens falling off.
If you’re someone who has never tried macro photography and are looking for a way to start, then the GLHMOGM Macro is the ideal lens for you.
At just over $22 for 15x magnification, this lens is an absolute steal! Once you see the performance too, you’ll be convinced that you’ve gotten away with highway robbery.
So, unfortunately, Anazalea says this one is only compatible with the iPhone. At the same time, according to Amazon, the Anazalea Macro and Wide Angle lens also work with Samsung Galaxies S9, S8, and other Android devices.
Based on our research, compatibility is, in fact, not a real issue with this lens.
Both the Anazalea lenses are German Schott Optical Glass. This company is one of the best in the business!
Oh, we hadn’t mentioned that this $22 purchase would net you multiple lenses? The wide-angle offering is perfect for a wide variety of photography types. This means that if you’re a complete smartphone photography beginner, then this is the ideal purchase for you. You’ll get two different kinds of lenses that will provide you with all of the possibilities you could need.
Also, did we mention that its Amazon’s best smartphone macro photography lens according to customer reviews?
Last update on 2020-01-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API