Macro photography is possible with a smartphone (even without a dedicated lens): here are our tips

This content is courtesy of Samsung and made by Humanoid xp

Some smartphones now have cameras dedicated to macro photography. But is it really mandatory to take as many beautiful shots as your members can? Well, not necessarily.

Is macro photography possible on a smartphone? To take a photo infinitely small and see it, you don’t have to use an expensive camera. Photo -savvy smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S22+ we use manage to capture beautifully detailed images, as much as possible of the subjects. Here are our tips and tricks for capturing beautiful macro images using your smartphone.

What is macro photography?

Macro photography is rather a stream of photography that is usually described by its 1: 1 scale magnification ratio. That is, the subject as it appears in the image measures the smallest of its actual size. With higher magnification ratios it is possible to magnify the subject and see details that are usually invisible to the naked eye or in any case very difficult to identify at first glance.

But if we want to be more precise, macro photography with a smartphone is the equivalent of proxiphotography. This last category instead consists of getting as close as possible to the subject in order to get a picture of it around it, without having to enlarge it. Proxiphotography and macrophotography are nevertheless involved and very close to the desire to highlight a very small subject.

Macro photography is therefore commonly used in nature to photograph insects or plants and to isolate hidden details. We favor photos of plants and flowers, which are easier to capture. It really takes patience and accuracy to photograph small animals, especially when they are moving. You can also use macro photography for any subject, to show detail or texture. For example, you can take very beautiful macro photos with fabrics.

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Take macro photos with your smartphone, with or without a dedicated sensor

Some newer smartphones directly have a macro mode, sometimes with a dedicated sensor. A sensor with a shorter minimum focusing distance that allows you to get closer to the subject. In this case, taking macro photos is as easy as taking panoramas: you need to choose the right mode.

However, it is possible to take macro photos using your smartphone even if it is not in dedicated mode. Proof, all the photos in this article were taken using the Samsung Galaxy S22 +. How do we do it? We tricked it into using portrait mode. It uses the main 50-megapixel sensor and offers x1 or x3 zoom with a minimum recommended focusing distance of between 1 and 1.50 meters. In fact, we got sharp images under the recommendation.

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Portrait mode is enabled in x3 mode. The area of ​​sharpness is reduced, but this detail of the plant is allowed to be emphasized.

Portrait mode has the advantage of using digital blur around the focus area. You can even choose the intensity a posterior. It allows you to play with the depth of the field and take your topic even further. An option not to be neglected is to emphasize a small topic or a detail in particular.

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Here, I play with the depth of the field and the blur created in portrait mode, for a more beautiful composition and to highlight these little flowers full of details. Photo taken with Samsung Galaxy S22+.

Put natural light first

When taking beautiful macro photos, there is nothing better than a beautiful and powerful natural light. This allows the smartphone to better find the subject and achieve better focus. It also limits the visibility of camera shake (e.g. if you’re shaking), since the smartphone will automatically select a relatively fast shutter speed when there’s enough light.

Photos that are very close to the smartphone at night are less conclusive unless you activate the flash, because the sensors are not sensitive enough to light. The worse the lighting conditions, the more you can expose yourself to camera shake or digital noise that can disturb the image.

If the shadow on your smartphone damages the brightness of your image or hides your subject, you can opt for a portable mini-reflector. You can also use a white sheet or piece of cardboard to reflect the light to increase the exposure of your image and remove shadows.

Another tip: to get a little difference, remember to underexpose a little when shooting. The automatic modes on smartphones tend to overexpose an image that is sometimes unnecessary.

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Here I have underexposed versus automatically generated exposure and the difference and details are more visible

Go through retouching to improve your photos

L ‘Edit of your pictures, even on a smartphone, can carry a lot. First, we recommend adjusting the basic exposure settings (brightness, contrast, highlights and lowlights) so that the shot fits your preferences. You can also add detail and juice to the image, the subject will look more precise. Finally, vignetting and white balance are the settings in favor of changing the atmosphere of the image, by making it more dramatic for example.

By using the (free) Snapseed application, it is possible to get very good results. For the photo above, we played a lot with detail and vignetting to separate the plant from the background. The final translation is more artistic.

macro for everyone

Whether you have a camera or smartphone, macro photography is not a simple subject. However, many options make it possible to obtain convincing results. By focusing on natural light and gradually approaching, it is possible to get very beautiful results, accurate and detailed, even in standard photo mode. If you don’t have the mode you’ve come to expect, you can always rely on editing applications that offer a lot of possibilities. What really fun is macro photography, even on a smartphone.

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