Macro photography is a fairly common practice but very poorly known to the general public. A lot of people would love to be able to take photos of things such as ladybirds in a magical microcosm, but very few people know that we can do the same thing with just our smartphone and a Pixter Macro lens. Our smartphones have sensors with a minimum focal length that is quite short which already favours the macro. In addition, additional lenses like the Pixter Macro make it possible to take beautiful shots of the small world around us.
Being fascinated by nature and taking shots, I fell in love with this style of photography.
The basics of a good photo with the macro are pretty simple. I will share with you the approach that I take for getting a macro photo.
First of all it is necessary to know that the macro has a very short focal distance which needs to be almost glued to the subject. This makes shooting more difficult but will be great for fans of fixed focal lengths!
For a beautiful photo, the main point is ensuring that you have a good subject. And for that you have to go out and explore with your smartphone and Pixter Macro in hand.
I – Find the subject
The subject of your photo can be anything from flora (leaves, flowers, plants …), mineral or animals (insects). The nature of your subject will determine your approach and your shot. A flower, for example, is immobile and therefore can more easily be stabilised than an insect, which can be harder to capture. To find your subject, don’t look with the usual look of the photographer who is looking for a composition in the big things around him. Look at your feet what can become in your goals a work of art. This is not necessarily obvious at first, but we must look at a subject that catches your attention is to observe it to imagine the perfect shot.
Tip: You will discover that a subject can give a multitude of different photos. For example this faded dandelion contains in him tiny drops of water and a small insect.
This “stop time” will allow you to become aware of everything around you and begin to get closer to your topic.
II – The approach of the subject
Check that both your Pixter and smartphone lens are clean to ensure that the photo comes out the best that it can.
If your subject is a flower, I advise you to hold it with three fingers left, and hold your smartphone with your right hand. You can stabilize the subject and your smartphone by pressing your left hands. You can also use a tripod.
If it is a living subject, the task is much more complex. You will have to approach it slowly as if you were in a slow-motion. Take into account the shadows that can scare some insects, and also the wind that can make stabilization more complex.
Tips: If it is an insect, it is better to go photographing in the first rays of the sun in the morning, in the evening when the insects go to bed, or after a rainfall. The morning and evening lights are beautiful for photos but can create fake days. This type of trick is also valid for flowers. After the rain, the insects are wet and therefore immobile and stay at the top of the blades of grass to dry. It is therefore easier to approach and photograph them without them moving. For other types of subject, the rain leaves drops of water that give a very nice effect and increases the contrast of colours.
III- Setting up the framework
To begin this part, I will advise you to go to the settings of your phone, in the Camera tab, and activate the grid. This grid will allow you to better visualize the composition of your photo.
Once you have done this step, you can start experimenting with different shots by varying the brightness and exposure.
One of the most common mistakes is to focus the subject on your photo. Unless it is a desired effect, I advise you more to use the natural curves of your subject and the grid to create a more dynamic staging. For example, if your subject is looking to the left, put it in the right side of your photo to give it depth of view.
If you want more details (the eyes of an insect …), you can use a quarter of the digital zoom of your smartphone. Avoid going to the quarter, otherwise you will lose in quality.
Tips: If the subject moves, forget about it and follow it gently until it enters the sharpness zone. If it moves too much, use still subjects to start.
In addition, by varying the angle of view, the colour of the background will change completely and can give nice effect. If you wish, you can use a sheet of coloured paper to create an artificial background of a colour you like.
I do not like this technique at all, but you can also use dead insects to photograph them from any angle. This approach may be good to start, but I personally find that it removes the authentic and alive aspect of the photo, it loses the appearance “on the go”.
IV- Taking the picture
Once you have located your perfect photo, hold your breath (not too long) to reduce shaking, and press the trigger button.
You can use burst mode to be sure you capture the perfect shot!
Tips: Nature is beautiful to photograph, but it must above all be respected and not damaged or disturbed.
And yes it can seem long and complex to take a macro shot. The macro is a totally different world, or the slightest quake becomes a big movement on the screen. Taking a nice picture can be quite long and tedious, especially with the macro. You will probably come back from an exit without a single photo that you think is appropriate, but just persevere and all this will become a reflex.
The macro is the most powerful smartphone goal and therefore, the most capricious. So if you pair it with the infinite beauty of nature, you get a challenge with incredible results.