Macro Photography

Macro photography is close-up photography of small objects that depicts them as larger than life-sized. Digital cameras have long been capable of macro photography through special macro photography lenses and settings modes. Smartphones with multiple-lens camera systems are also capable of macro photography through dedicated macro settings on wide-angle lenses.

Setting up a digital camera for macro photography involves a mix of both hardware and software settings. Cameras that support interchangeable lenses can use special macro lenses that achieve high magnification levels. Close-up lenses that attach to the front of another camera lens are also an option, increasing the total magnification with some potential quality loss due to the stacking of lenses. Some digital cameras also include a macro mode that you can enable that automatically sets the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to their ideal levels for close-up photography.

Some modern smartphones also support macro photography using dedicated camera modes. Smartphones with multi-camera systems, like the iPhone 13 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and the Google Pixel 7 Pro, can capture macro photos using their ultra-wide-angle lenses. Just like a digital camera's macro mode, a smartphone's macro mode automatically changes some camera settings to optimize for close-up photographs of small subjects. Some camera apps automatically switch to macro mode when focusing on a subject at short range, making macro photography as easy as any other smartphone photography.

NOTE: Macro mode on a digital camera or smartphone is often indicated by a small flower icon.

Updated August 1, 2023 by Brian P.

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