Macro without the macro Part 1 – Using your phone

I was asked the other day if I had an article on how to do macro or close up photos when you don’t have a macro lens.  I thought for sure I had written one, but I couldn’t find anything. So I decided that it couldn’t hurt to just do another one.

Then the problem was there are so many ways to take photos without a macro lens could I do it all in one post. The answer to the question was let’s do a series of posts and explore the different ways.

Today we are looking at your phone.

Smart phone macros

Using your phone is a simple way to do it. Most of us have them now and if you are lucky your phone might have a macro setting on it. Mine does, but I’m not sure if I like it or not.

You can do it with the normal setting, nothing wrong with that really. I had to do that all the time with my old phone. You were limited with how close you could get, but I managed okay.

At least with my new one, I can use the x2 and it gives fairly decent results.

No form of macro photography is easy. You are getting so close to your subject that any wobble will result in a less than sharp image. It does take practice, but if you love this kind of photography you will want to do that.

If you like what you get with your phone and want to do more then you can try adding lenses to it.

Phone lenses

For a few years now it has been possible to get various lenses to fit onto your phone. Initially, they had rings that stuck on your phone and then the magnetic part of the ring would allow the lens to attach to it.

My first one was a Lensbaby lens. I had fun with it, but the metal ring was a problem for me. Leaving it on my phone wasn’t good when I wanted to take other photos so I had to remove it all the time. Then I ran out of them.

There were so other brands that came out with similar lenses, but there were mixed results them.

The best solution I have seen was the clip method or special phone case. I first came across this with Struman Optics.

Struman Optics – phone lenses

The lens screws into the clip and you can clip it onto your phone. There are also covers available for certain phones so you can screw the lens into the cover on the phone.

I have used the phone cover with older phones, but when I had the Pixel they didn’t do covers for them so I had to use the clip. I actually found that I loved the clip more. They do more than one lens, so if you have more than one clip it is very easy to switch between them. I think the clip is far more convenient.

My favourite lens from them, which I’m sure is no surprise to you, is the macro lens.

With the macro, you can get very close to the subject, in my case, flowers. I love photographing flowers and being able to have a lens with me that easily fits in my pocket or bag is fantastic. It means I can always be ready to take a photo if I see something.

Of course, it isn’t perfect.

You are taking photos on your phone and that means there are limits to what you can do.

When you are taking a photo with the macro lens on your phone there is a small area of focus. What I mean is the lens will decide how far away you can be from your subject. It is very close and that introduces another problem.

As I said before when taking photos with your phone you have to be careful when you are that close. You have to be steady, hope there is no wind and take a few shots with the idea of getting at least one in focus. It isn’t easy, but again, it is all about practice. The more you do it the better you will get.

With your phone, you can be limited in how to process them. They are jpegs and if that is all you usually take your images in, then it won’t be a problem. I suppose you can use RAW these days on your phone, but it isn’t something I have tried, if you have, tell us about your experience. I would love to hear about it.

I went out into the garden with the macro lens on my phone and took some photos. They aren’t all sharp, and I haven’t processed them at all. These are straight out of the phone.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t work on the photos, and I have done that in the past. I showed some on Sunday, here let’s see them again.

Other lenses by Struman

I should mention that they do other lenses as well. You can get a fisheye, or wide angle ones as well.

There is a starter kit that contains three lenses for AU$199 and if you click here it will take you to the page.

You can buy the macro lens on its own if you aren’t interested in the other ones. It is AU$129 and if you click here you can see it.

They have other lenses as well and it is best to go to their site and see what you can find.

They would make a great Christmas present for anyone wanting to try them out. I don’t get a commission.

Using your phone is a great way to get started in macro photography. It is easy for most of us with a phone and if you want to go that step further you can buy a lens for it as well.

This is also an excellent way to find out if you even want to do macro photography. Macro lenses can be so expensive and it would be terrible if you found you didn’t like that sort of photography.

I hope you enjoyed the first part of the series about macro photography. I have other options as well and we will make our way through them all one at a time.

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