Macro photography or close-up photography needs users to get very close to their subjects to reveal details that usually get ignored by our naked eyes. Most people click photographs of subjects that are either on a human scale or larger. However, there are certain iPhones and Android handsets that support the “macro mode”. This mode helps you to take clear pictures of small details and objects. Here, we will discuss what macro photography is and how you use it on your smartphones.
What is macro photography?
Macro photography is the art of capturing close-up images of tiny objects to reveal intricate details that are not usually visible to naked eyes. There is a strict rule of macro photography, where the subject needs to match up at a 1:1 scale with the camera sensor. However, most macro photographs don’t stick to this rule. There are smartphones that come with a dedicated macro mode and lens, but you can also capture good macro photographs even without the dedicated mode. Other than smartphones, you can also do macro photography with traditional cameras.
How does macro photography work in smartphones?
Users need a camera that can focus clearly on subjects that are very close to it if they intend to take macro photos. The distance between the camera and the subject can be as low as under an inch. Smartphone makers have two main options to add the macro photography feature to their devices. Either they can add a dedicated macro camera to the phone or they can re-purpose one of the wide or ultra-wide sensors on the phone to adjust its focal distance into a macro range. Both these methods also gain from computational photography, but users will get better results if they provide the device with better raw input for those algorithms.
How does macro mode work in iPhones?
Earlier iPhones didn’t have a dedicated macro mode but users were still able to take good macro shots with them. However, the latest iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max features a macro mode that automatically engages a subject when you get close enough to it. For macro photography, these phones switch to their ultra-wide camera as this lens can focus on closer subjects better than the main camera.
The ultra-wide lens has a minimum focus distance of two centimeters. Users need to get close to this kind of proximity to get the best results. However, getting close to static subjects is much easier than live ones. Apple also allows users to enable or disable this auto-switch feature in the camera’s Settings menu.
How does macro mode work in Android phones?
Most modern Android smartphones pack multiple cameras. Adding a wide and ultra-wide camera to smartphones is very common for most manufacturers, but there are some premium phones that pack more than three cameras. Flagship models like Samsung S21 Ultra also use the same method that iPhones use.
The phone anticipates when you’re very close to a subject and switches to a “focus enhancer” mode (which is only available if you’re switched to the wide camera). Some Android phones come with a dedicated macro camera, where users just need to switch to that camera and the phone will be ready for macro photography.
How to click macro photographs in smartphones without a macro mode?
It is possible to take macro or at least near-macro photos, even if your smartphone doesn’t have a macro mode. However, it will be a more complex process to check which lens is better for macro photography through trial and error. Users need to test the different cameras on their smartphones to see how close they can get to the small subject and still remain in focus.
Users can also change their camera settings to increase the quality and resolution of images, which will eventually allow them to crop a macro-like image from the larger frame. You can also buy external macro lenses that attach to your phone. It might be an extra hassle, but it is cheaper than buying a whole new phone to access the macro mode.