Macro photography has become more and more popular over the last few years. This has prompted an increase of macro photography ideas to flood the photographic world. And rightly so!
Photographing miniature objects and enlarging them beyond their 1:1 ratio is the backbone of all macro photography. Mirrorless, DSLR and even smartphone cameras are perfect tools for capturing all the small things.
For all the information you could ever need on macro photography, read our complete guide here.
Rocks and stones are a geologist’s favourite thing. And they also work great for macro photography projects. Together, they give you a repetitive pattern, where no two stones or rocks are the same. Each will have a unique colour, shape and texture.
Single them out, or use in a group. You can’t go wrong.
16. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a great way to start getting into macro photography. You most likely have some around the house, so you’re already halfway there.
By looking at them up close, you see a new world. They will give you rich degrees of colour and contrast, interesting shapes, textures and patterns. They can be abstract, or simply blown up larger than life to give them a powerful presence.
15. Peeling Paint
Paint is a great tool for showing the passing of time. It is difficult to show time or movement in images, as they are still. Peeling paint brings up connotations of the past. A forgotten building, something out of care and attention.
It also adds a wonderful texture, made even more important by the natural, varying degrees of destruction.
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There is a reason why natural objects are found many times on this list. We are drawn to the natural world like romantic poets to the great outdoors. We are given such an array of things to photograph, and as many people don’t get to see as close as you do, their interest is heightened.
They won’t have known what a feather looks like up close, but now they do, expanding their knowledge, and perhaps their wall art collection.
Cloth is something really easy to work with. Chances are that you will have many different types already in your home. Different threads and changes in colours are all photographs worthy, especially when you get close. Abstraction is a great tool to use.
Cloth is also plyable, meaning you can create textures, patterns and compositional lines to help draw in the viewer’s eye in.
12. Household Items
The best thing about using household items for macro photography is that they are already in your house. You don’t need to purchase expensive flowers, cloths or go hunt down some insects.
Walk around your living space, and see what could be interesting if you get really close. Each item in your possession has an entire world living on it. You can create some beautiful and interesting landscapes, aerial photographs and cityscapes with items you already own.
Anything natural works wonders for macro photography. Leaves are great because not only are there many different types (too many to count) but they change in colour, size, shape and texture after falling from the tree.
You can experiment easily with this subject, even showing the transition of seasons due to the change in colours. They have a texture similar to an aerial photograph of rivers stemming from tributaries.
10. Food Photography
Yummy, food! If there is one area that macro photography really takes off in, it is in food photography. Who doesn’t like to see well-dressed plates filled with scrumptious treats?
Getting in close emphasises the beauty, the texture, the colours while bringing out the flavour in the viewers taste palette. The best thing about food photography is you get to eat the subjects.
9. Water Droplets
Water droplets are great to work with. You can use them after a rainfall or even create them yourself with a spray gun. The best thing about these droplets is they add a texture to your image.
They let you blur out the background, letting the colours shine through. More interestingly, they mimic mini crystal balls, harnessing objects found in the background and making them sharp as a tack.
If you have ever tried product photography, you have no doubt seen what a macro lens can do to beautiful pieces of metal, entwined around precious gems. A macro lens lets you focus on the really beautiful part of the jewelry, while allowing the metal to create an interesting bokeh effect.
The plus side is that they will look much bigger than they really are, turning little pieces of magnificence into grandeur objects.
Abstract macro photography is one of the easiest projects to undertake. You can turn the most obvious objects into abstraction, just by getting closer to it. They are the images that people will spend a long time in front of, trying to figure out what that image is of.
For you, it was a scrunched up piece of tin foil, but for your viewers, it might be one of the most interesting photographs they have ever seen.
Patterns are everywhere. Look at the objects in your house, and try them from a new perspective. Nature has a great way to repeat objects, giving you a plethora of macro photography ideas to work from. Patterns in macro photography may overlap with abstract and textured images, which only boost the interest in your image.
Colours are also important, so look around you and start shooting.
Texture in macro photography is one of the most versatile areas you can discover. Everything in this world has a texture, you may just have to get close enough to it. Anything in a powder form, such as spices can give you that rough look.
They come in many colours, the grains come in many sizes and you can even manipulate the shape to create mountains and valleys. It overlaps into the world of abstract macro photography too, depending on your creativity.
One of the most recent trends in macro photography is utilising toys. They can be placed in all sorts of scenarios, ranging from very abstract, to mimicking human life. Mixed with a tilt-shift process can make viewers double-take to make sure they aren’t looking at something realistic.
If you have children, they will get a kick out of helping you. If you don’t, well who are we kidding, adults love toys too!
Insects are amazingly wonderful, or downright creepy. Especially blown up to the sizes that macro photography offers. You can turn these tiny beasts into huge monsters using the right camera and lens combination. There is a whole other world out there, not seen with the naked eye.
Insect macro photography tends to be one of the most challenging niches, as they are mobile and unpredictable. But nothing good ever came easy.
Flowers are beautiful as they are colourful. There is a wide range of flowers (around 400,000 species) which means you will never be bored. They come in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. Some are found in the remotest areas of the globe, so it means you get to travel too. Getting in close is a great way to show our natural world in a different light.
Nothing is more important than eyes. We use them for all photographic purposes, for one! We also use them as a way of non-verbal communication, where our emotions are easily readable. They are the most important thing to look at when walking past someone on the street.
The eyes speak volumes of our ancestry, and their colours and patterns are amazingly beautiful and unique. The great thing about these is that you are not limited to capturing human eyes.
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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