I was so very honoured to be asked to write some tips for mobile macro photography for the fabulous @beyondthesnapshot on instagram a while ago, though could only provide a small amount of information. Hopefully this extended original version will help some of you and you’ll be able to take a little something away 😀
What do I need?
Mobile macro can be easy and cheap. Surprising right?!
All you really need is your device, ie. your phone, your tablet or similar device, not a dedicated camera 😀
You can do it fairly much for free with an app or spend a little… they’re a simple way to trial macro and see whether it’s your type of thing. Sometimes they also offer editing tools etc.
I’ve used Camera + for iOS (paid) and found it good.
Both Windows and Android phones have apps too, though I confess to not knowing whether they’re any good. Apps like Camera FV-5 (paid) or Camera Magic (free) for Android or Refocus (paid) for Windows.
LENSES FOR MOBILES
There are really cheap mobile lens systems out there from places like eBay or your local shopping centre/mall may sell them. If you don’t use an app, you’ll need a lens. No name brands can be excellent and if you look across Instagram you’ll see heaps of people use them. They’re so cheap and you can get selfie sticks or other cool things thrown in as a bundle. And who doesn’t like cheap or free right?
Whether you buy a cheap lens kit or more expensive, your results may vary from brand to brand. Also, some are sold as lens only, some are case and lens. Really, what you buy is dependent on what you want and how much you’re able to or willing to spend. I came across a site with instructions to create your own macro lens at Instructables.
At the more well known end of the market are Olloclip for iPhone and Photojojo lens or Android. There are more out there.
The fun thing is, the lenses from your mobile device can sometimes be used for non-macro cool things.
How do I do it?
So, you’ve got an app/ some equipment and you’re super keen to get started? What now?
Go out and snap photos of course 😀 and practice, practice, practice.
After you’ve attached lenses, macro is similar to other photography. You can point and shoot and hope for the best or you can use other tools you’ve learnt elsewhere (like the fabulous @beyondthesnapshot). Because you still need and use those with macro photos. So remembering things like:
Rule of thirds
Flare/ halos and sunbursts
Shooting from various angles, look high and low, moving your device, moving you – you’ll see new things and thank yourself later 😉
Whether shooting indoors or out ensure you have light, natural and bright unless you’re going for a moody feel. And experiment with your style. As macro is so much closer to a subject you do need more lighting than taking normal shots, ie further back from the subject. Simply because you’re mobile device is blocking most of the light. Morning or afternoon light is best. It’s awesome and not harsh!
Find a subject that tickles your fancy, this is for you. Trust me, macro is more interesting when you shoot for you, I tried doing it the other way first and nearly stopped.
So you’ll shoot using photography rules (or fly in the face of them and do your own thing, cause that’s awesome too, and rules were meant to be broken right?) and in great light. And then what?
You shoot…your flower, or book or blade of grass with water droplets. And then move your device around and focus and click. Move yourself around, and focus and click. Stand up, lie down and take it from a completely different angle. Compose your shot differently. Use negative space, rule of thirds. Go crazy.
Ensure the entire time that you’re stabilising yourself. Macro magnifies the subject so much, the image is hard to hold steady and focus. You can buy little tripods for mobile devices, or you could use yourself as the tripod.
Get a comfortable mat or rug and lie on your belly, supporting your arms with your elbows your device will be held steady. Sometimes holding your breath works 😀 and if you’re shooting really low, using a book or something else to stabilise the device is even better.
Standing up? Try and lean against something solid or use your body as a tripod with your feet apart.
And avoid the wind, it doesn’t play nice and phones etc just aren’t fast enough to capture a moving macro. Most of the time.
Much of macro photography is like any other form though…it takes practice! And lots of fun. It’s all about having fun 😀
Further tips can be found at FatMumSlim and
Digital Photography School – not specifically mobile device related
Happy mobile macro shooting xx