iPhoneography Challenge: Macro Photography

08 April 2013


1. White Hybrid Lily, Longwood Gardens, iPhone 4s, December 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. White Hybrid Lily, Longwood Gardens, iPhone 4s, December 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. Dried Dill, iPhone 4s, March 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. Dried Dill, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Dried Dill, iPhone 4s, March 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Dried Dill, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

4, Rose Hip, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

4, Dried Rose Hip, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know which you prefer and why.


Last month Gracie (http://graciebinoya.com), Polly (http://watchingthephotoreels.com) and I began an iPhoneography Monday Challenge. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. This week’s theme is macro, which always helps me push the boundaries of what is a worthy subject.

The macro world produces the small, and, mostly, unseen by the naked eye. At times this universe seems fantastical and intriguingly bursting with nuances and surprises.

The normal becomes a sorcerer with hidden secrets, which sometimes are unimaginably splendid. I cannot get enough of this magic. More often than not it stuns my sensibilities, and rocks my visual landscape.

In the Lens section are four examples of macros using my iPhone 4s. The first image was shot with the camera’s lens. The second and third were captured with the app Hipstamatic. Luminance, which is a relatively new app for my camera bag, is one of my latest favorite apps and was used for the last photograph.

Tip Of the Week: Regardless of whether you use a DSLR or the iPhone, macro photography requires some very specific rules. But here we are concerned with the iPhone. Most importantly, you must be able with or without a tripod to still the cellphone. I usually hold the camera steady or support it, but I do occasionally use a tripod. Unless you seek an abstract of your subject, camera shake is a very real issue with a close-up. Since the depth of field is shallow, the background becomes blurred and the subject magnified. The range of the cellphone is limited and cropping (at least for me) is not the answer. Finding just the right distance is the key–too close and the image is out of focus. The zoom on the camera increases the chances of the blur. Another critical source of success or not is the light. Often as you move closer to the subject, we get in the way of the light. Sometimes it takes gymnastics to get it right. Macro is tricky. The best results come from the right balance of distance, light and steadiness.

Check out these entries;









Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. The following is a reminder of the weekly schedule and themes for upcoming challenges. 

1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro

3rd Monday: Black-and-White

4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Macro Photography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to iPhoneography Challenge: Macro Photography

  1. vastlycurious.com says:

    The rose hip is surreal!

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  4. marialla says:


  5. thirdeyemom says:

    Lovely! I just bought a new lens for my iPhone that has macro, fish eye and wide lens. I can hardly wait to use it and experiment. I like the rose hip the best because I’m in need of color! 🙂

    • Thanks, I have the olloclip and occasionally use it. I will use it more and more for the macro. That seems to be the largest advantage, because cropping or zooming do not work well for the close ups. It’s so much fun experimenting and pushing the possibilities.

  6. Vibrant, exciting, fun macros that captures life’s and nature’s adventures.

  7. Gallivanta says:

    Pleased to read the macro tips. Thanks. The rose hip is stunning; well all the photos are stunning but that one is my favourite.

  8. Angeline M says:

    Late to the party, but here’s my entry for today http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/iphoneography-challenge-macro-photography/
    And I especially like the second photo with the dill weed that seems to be exploding.

  9. Pingback: iPhoneography Challenge: Macro Photography | AngelineM's Blog

  10. scsurfbutler says:

    The white lily is a stunning photo!

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  12. Marilla says:

    LOVE THESE! The dill seed photos are spectacular – it makes me want to switch over from Android to iPhone!

  13. ideflex says:

    Love the colour on the dried rose hip – please have a look at

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  15. bluebrightly says:

    I too like the second shot best – it’s interesting, has nice movement, and the focus seems better than the others, except for the first, which I also like.

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  17. SkiDaddy says:

    I like #2 of the dill, due to the soft colour and the horizontal lines (window blinds?) I also see a mans face in the outline.
    Have you ever used one of the external macro lenses you can purchase?

  18. Gracie says:

    Very cool shots, Sally! Love the second shot especially, because of the background color and the shadows that plays well with your subject.

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  21. These are gorgeous!!! I love the second and third one the best! Looks like a tornado of birds. So interesting! Great work! 🙂

  22. Carol Friedhoffer says:

    Am inspired by your use of IPhone apps for these. Can’t wait to try them. Love the rose hip and also the effects of the dill, Great help for creating subjects for my paintings.

    • Delighted to inspire your inner creativity. I marvel at the iPhone’s ability to capture a subject. While it is not a DSLR, it is accepted as a new way to create and still an image. Thanks.

  23. The transparency of the dried rose hip captured my attention the most. Happy Monday!

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