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21 Awesome Macro Photography Ideas You Should Try Today

Last updated: March 20, 2024 - 11 min read
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You can find macro photography ideas anywhere! Technically, any shot of a miniature object shot at a 1:1 ratio is considered a macro image. Mirrorless, DSLR, and even smartphone cameras are perfect for capturing all the small things.

If you want to learn about macro photography, read our complete guide on macro photography. But if you want inspiration for macro ideas, continue reading! 

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Unlock the secrets of macro photography from your living room:

  • Learn to take stunning photos without stepping outside.
  • Discover affordable ways to convert any lens for macro shots.
  • Explore unique techniques for lighting and composing your subjects.

Macro Photography Ideas: What Is Macro Photography?

You can capture images of small things with macro lenses, extension tubes, bellows, or reverse adapter rings. These allow for a closer focus distance. Thus, you get more magnification compared to a standard lens. Some lenses have a macro setting printed on the focus distance ring. But it doesn’t mean they are true macro lenses.

True macro photography is when the subject’s projection on the camera sensor is the same size as the subject itself. That represents a ratio of 1:1, also known as life-size magnification.

You can learn more about macro equipment and techniques in our article on macro photography tips. What we’ll focus on here is where and when to photograph macro.

Finding the right subject is the most important part. Beginners think that they need to be outdoors with exotic flowers and insects to create interesting macro images. But the truth is that interesting macro scenes are everywhere.

Take a look around where you are standing right now! I bet you can find a few potential subjects that will inspire you.
Macro photography of water drops on a leaf.

Our Top 21 Macro Photography Ideas

Here are our 21 macro photography ideas to help you capture small objects.

1. Ice Crystals and Ice Cubes

You don’t need to live in a winter wonderland to find ice crystals! A frosty freezer hides all the good ideas and subjects for macro photos. Of course, you can use real snowflakes if you live somewhere it snows.

But simple ice cubes make ideal subjects for macro photos as well. You can make them look like crystals or diamonds. The only thing you have to do is play around with light and the depth of field.
Macro image of snowflake.

2. Bubbles in Drinks

Carbonated water or an ice-cold beer is not only for quenching your thirst. They’re great for macro photography, as well.

Serve the drink in a glass or container that is suitable for your subject. Use an elongated champagne glass to let the bubbles form chains in the sparkling wine. If you have a classic Coca-Cola glass, serve the beverage in that.

And when you’re done shooting it, you’ve got a nice refreshment as a treat!
Slices of lemon with bubbles on them shot with macro photography

3. Souvenirs and Postcards

There are times when we don’t have the opportunity or resources to travel. Souvenirs such as keychains, postcards, or fridge magnets are good macro photography ideas. They help to ease the travel ache as well.

Set up a small scene that recreates a place’s typical atmosphere. Got a Big Ben keychain? Place it on a postcard from London and put a teabag next to them.

4. Makeup

Open up your makeup drawer and make a bit of a mess. As a kid, I melted my mom’s lipstick and poured her eyeshadow powders on the floor. The small crystals of the powder sparkled all around in the sunshine.

You don’t have to destroy your or somebody else’s makeup collection, though. You can drizzle small amounts on a paper sheet or on other textured things. This way, nobody will be angry at you for your macro photography ideas.

5. Stones and Minerals

You can find stones just outside your front door. They might not sound exciting at first. But they are great subjects for macro photography.

Shooting multiple rocks gives you a repetitive pattern where no two stones or rocks are the same. Each will have a unique color, shape, and texture. Single them out or use them in a group. You can also change the depth of field to get unique results.

When I was a kid, I collected minerals that came with a magazine every month. The crystalized elements are a fantastic idea for macro photography.

6. Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a great way to get 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 color and contrast and interesting shapes, textures, and patterns. They can be abstract or blown up larger than life to give them a powerful presence.

You can also slice them up and take macro photos of the inner parts. Oranges, lemons, and kiwis make good subjects. Passion fruits, pomegranates, and figs can also serve you well in macro photography due to their color and textures.

7. Rust and Peeling Paint

Peeling paint and rust are good tools for showing the passing of time. It is difficult to show time or movement in images, as they are still.

Peeling paint and rust brings up connotations of the past. It could be part of a forgotten building—something out of care and attention. They also add a wonderful texture that signifies varying levels of decay.

8. Feathers

There is a reason natural objects appear many times on this list. We admire the natural world. We have such an array of things to photograph. As many people don’t get to see these things as up close as you do, their interest increases.

Many people wouldn’t know what a feather looks like up close. But you can show them with your macro photographs. The miniscule lines and textures they create are perfect for macro images.
A close up of the tip of a feather

9. Textiles

Clothes and textiles are great for macro shots. And chances are, you probably have a few different types already in your home.

Different threads and changes in colors are all worthy of shooting, especially when you get close. Cloth is a great subject for abstract macro photography. Because textiles are pliable, you can create texturespatterns, and compositional lines to help draw in the viewer’s eye.

Yellow knit pattern

10. 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 buy expensive flowers or clothes or go hunt down some insects.

Walk around your living space and see what could be interesting if you get very close. Each item in your possession has an entire world living on it. The beauty of macro photography is that you can show everyday items in a new, detailed light.

11. Leaves

Anything natural works wonders for macro photography ideas. Leaves are great because they offer so much variety. They change in color, size, shape, and texture after falling from the tree.

You can experiment with this subject, even showing the transition of seasons due to the change in colors. They have a pattern similar to an aerial photograph of rivers stemming from tributaries.
Macro photo of a green leaf

12. Food

If there is one area that macro photography really takes off, it is food photography. Who doesn’t like to see well-dressed plates filled with scrumptious treats? You can take a close-up macro photo of bigger food items. Or you can use small pieces such as candies or even colorful sugar sprinkles.

Getting in close emphasizes the beauty, texture, and colors while bringing out the flavor in the viewer’s taste buds.

The best thing about food photography is you get to eat the subjects!

13. 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 texture to your image. Sometimes, they let you blur out the background. Other times, they let the colors shine through them.

More interestingly, they mimic mini crystal balls and sharply capture background objects with a cool visual effect.
Dew drops on a leaf

14. Jewelry

If you have ever tried product photography, you have seen what a macro lens can do to beautiful pieces of metal entwined around precious gems.

A macro lens lets you focus on the 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.

A sapphire ring in a box

15. Abstract

Abstract photography is one of the easiest projects to undertake. You can turn the most obvious objects into abstractions just by getting close to them.

They are the images that people will spend a long time in front of, trying to figure out what that image is. For you, it was a wrinkled piece of tin foil. But for your viewers, it might be one of the most interesting photographs they have ever seen.
Abstract photo of dandelion seedings

16. Patterns

Patterns are everywhere. Look at the objects in your house and shoot them from a new perspective. Nature has a great way of repeating objects, giving you a ton of macro photography ideas to work from.

Patterns in macro photography may overlap with abstract and textured images, boosting interest in your image. Colors are also important in patterns, so looking for color schemes is a good place to start.
Macro chain link pattern

17. Textures

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.

The grains come in many colors and sizes. You can even manipulate the shape to create mountains and valleys. Creating tiny textures like this overlaps with the world of abstract macro photography.

Macro of a rusty texture

18. Toys

One of the most recent trends in macro photography is using toys. They can be placed in all sorts of scenarios, ranging from very abstract to mimicking human life.

Mixing macro with a tilt-shift lens 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. Even if you don’t have kids, adults love toys too!

19. Insects

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 world out there that we’re unable to see with the naked eye.

Insect macro photography tends to be one of the most challenging niches, as they are fast and unpredictable. But the final image is worth the work!
A close up of a fly on a leaf

20. Flowers

Flowers are as beautiful as they are colorful. There is a wide range of flowers (around 400,000 species!), so you will never be bored. They come in all different sizes and shapes.

Some are found in the most remote areas of the globe, so you get to travel, too. Getting in close is a great way to see our natural world in a different light.
Macro photo of the center of a purple flower

21. Eyes

Nothing is more important than the eyes. We use them for all photographic purposes, for one! We also use them to communicate emotions nonverbally. This is why the eyes are so important in portraiture. 

But when you shoot them in macro, their colors and patterns are amazingly beautiful and unique. Getting up-close shots of the eyes reveals beautiful colors, shapes, and patterns within the iris. And since it’s impossible to look at your own eyes in person, getting a macro shot of them offers a super unique perspective.
Macro photo of a brown eye

Conclusion—Awesome Macro Photography Ideas

Macro photography may seem difficult at first, but it is actually so much fun! You don’t even need a lot of equipment. A camera or smartphone and a macro lens are enough.

You can even stay at home and take photos of subjects you can find around the house. If you need inspiration, start with the ideas above. Find one that triggers your creativity!

Video Course
Macro Magic
Macro Magic
Unlock the secrets of macro photography from your living room:

  • Learn to take stunning photos without stepping outside.
  • Discover affordable ways to convert any lens for macro shots.
  • Explore unique techniques for lighting and composing your subjects.