You may be wondering what is macro photography, and why it is so appealing? Great macro photography allows you to display your focal points as large as life, usually with a 1:1 ratio. Macro photographers often photograph flowers, wildlife, jewelry, and up-close shots. The point of macro photography is to show a sharp, clear image.

A fun photography trend that many people are participating in is macro photography. Whether you’re a professional photographer or someone who’s just moved by the beauty of life, these macro subjects are sure to make some fantastic shots. Keep reading to learn our favorite macro photography ideas. Join the macro photography world with these macro photo ideas. 

Outdoor Macro Photography Ideas

There is plenty of inspiration for some excellent macro images outdoors. Grab your camera and venture outside to capture some fun shots such as these macro photography ideas.

1. Rocks and Pebbles

Some easy photography ideas to get you started in macro photography is to photograph stones. Have you ever stopped to study rocks? They’re never the same, and many have original designs worn into the surface, which makes for beautiful shots. 

You can zoom in to capture the essence of the rock, the unique grooves, and cracks. Stack them together or shoot a single stone by itself. All you need is to find a foundation that moves you.

Pro-Tip

I enjoy snapping pictures of stones in their natural environment. Water has a fantastic effect on rocks, and you’ll get some great macro photography shots by focusing on stones found near or in water. 

2. Leaves on Trees or Fall Foliage

I love using leaves as a subject for macro photography. No two are the same, even if they come from the same tree. The closer you look, the more beauty and details you can see. Each leaf has hundreds of veins and a healthy spine.

pink flower with green background

And individual beauty for you to capture on film for everyone to enjoy. Capture leaves fluttering to the ground; or a single leaf floating in a puddle. Snap a shot as the leaves change colors in the fall. 

All photographers and fans of macro photography need at least one good leaf photo in their macro photography portfolio.

Pro-Tip

Leaves make a great addition to your photography ideas with your family and pets. Make sure you have your child pose with a leaf in front of their face. Zoom in, so you see an up-close view of all the details of the leaf and your child’s eyes and fingers. 

3. Wildflowers or Perennials

Flowers are another great macro photography ideas for new photographers who are still learning about using macro techniques. Experiment by zooming in on different flowers to display the inner workings. Work with different depths of field to capture the perfect angle.

Try taking photos on a bright sunny day. Then come out in a rainstorm and study the same scene. Photos of macro subjects covered in water droplets can make a powerful statement.

If you want to be an excellent macro photographer, you’ll need to know how to photograph a flower accurately.

Pro-Tip

To get a dramatic effect, try black and white photos. Come up with your own ideas for how to display flowers uniquely. Maybe you could pick all the petals off of the flower and photograph them littering a heart drawn in the dirt. 

Macro Photography Ideas to Shoot at Home

There are plenty of macro photo ideas you can do right in the comfort of your home. Here are some fun photo ideas you can do with things you find around the house. Even if they aren’t awe-inspiring, it’s still great practice! All you need is your camera.

4. Lego Brick Creations

If you’re a parent, you might be happy to know that Legos can be of use to you as more than just a torture device for your feet. You can capture some interesting shots using Legos. Photograph a single block from different angles to capture sharp details.

Or stack the Legos together to make a photo prop. Legos are so versatile you can make just about anything out of them. Design a building, a new world, or get your imagination rolling by designing a zoo. 

Pro-Tip

Zoom in with your lens. Capture a view from the top or drop down to eye level. Use different depths of field techniques to get larger than life shots. 

5. Dew, Rain, and Water Drops

Nothing is more exciting than snapping a photo of an object in motion. Water can be a great macro photo idea, and it’s easily manipulative so you can stage any type of photoshoot you want.

purple leaf with water droplets

Use an eyedropper or spray bottle to create your own waterdrops. Use your camera timer if you want to get a shot of the water drops falling. Or use hot water to create steam drops. You can even add food coloring, so you have colored water droplets.

Pro-Tip

My favorite way to capture moving water is to take photos through a window on a rainy day. 

6. Light a Candle

Everyone has a candle or two around their house. If you’re anything like me, you often forget to light them. But a melting candle makes a great macro photo idea that you shouldn’t pass up.

It’s best to use taper candles or large, chunky candles that aren’t encased in glass. Let the wax melt before you start to shoot. Once you see the wax starting to drip down the sides of the candle, grab your camera.

Shoot from different angles and levels. Alternate with how far you zoom in and capture different views of the candle. In some, you might want to make the flame dance with a slight burst of air. 

Pro-Tip

Another fun idea is to blow the flame out and snap a shot of the smoke billowing from the melting wax. Or, purchase candles that have colored flames for a unique macro photo op.

Tabletop Macro Photography Ideas

Inspiration for macro photography ideas can come from anywhere, including things you have on your tables. From the kitchen table to the end tables throughout your home and all the tables in the world, you can find a wealth of beautiful shots. Here are a few of our favorite table macro images.

7. Picture Perfect Produce

Harvestables – fruits and vegetables – make great macro subjects. Frame an asymmetric bowl full of various fresh ingredients of different colors and shapes and place it in the center of your table. Snap a shot of the whole dish for a contrast of shades.

Zoom in on a single sliced piece to get the up-close details. Blur it for a neat abstract look. Or snap a shot of a piece of fruit that you’ve rinsed with water or sprayed.

Pro-Tip

I love carrying my camera around when I’m out getting exercise or shopping. A fun photo idea is all the fresh produce lined up at the farmer’s market. Snap a shot of a fruit hanging from a tree or a vegetable bursting out of the dirt. 

8. Ground Herbs and Spices

The items in your spice cabinet can be used for more than just making your food taste yummy. Grab a bright, colorful tray and pour out some different spices. Use contrasting colors to create unique designs.

Blend them together or pile them up to make hills of varying levels. When captured at the right angle, you can make it look like the desert instead of your kitchen seasonings. Use a skewer to carve roads or write words. A fun photo idea is to make it look like a sandy beach, complete with a paper umbrella.

Pro-Tip

Baby powder, makeup powder, flour that has been dyed with food coloring, and ground-up chalk also make great photo ops. I love using chalk on a wood, white, or stone surface. 

Unusual Macro Photography Ideas

Macro photography is about capturing the beauty of the unexpected. You can make art out of anything if you frame it the right way. Here are some unusual macro photography ideas you can try photographing that will make excellent shots. 

9. Old Coat of Paint

The antique, distressed look has become quite a photography trend recently. We agree that a shot of peeling paint can be quite a show-stopper. Capturing a macro photo of a forgotten item that’s struggling against the test of time is a great way to make history come to life.

There’s something pure and enthralling about seeing time frozen on film. Take a drive and find an old abandoned barn or dilapidated brick building. Play with different angles. Alter the depths of field and see what happens.

Pro-Tip

If you can’t find an appropriate photography source to shoot, create your own. Throw a few coats on an old board and let it dry. Then, use a razor blade and a hairdryer to scrape off a few small sections. The heat will make the paint curl. 

10. Shake Your Tail Feather

Feathers are a work of art in themselves. They’re great for your photography ideas. Soft to the touch, yet with a strong spine that allows the delicate strands to hold a perfect form. With such beauty available to the natural eye, it’s no wonder many photographers love to take macro images of the more profound attributes.

Grab your macro lens and capture a feather in flight, slowly billowing in the wind. Use an eyedropper and add a few droplets of water or oil to the strands and capture the movements of the drip. The way the water clings to the feather. There’s so much you can do!

My personal macro photography favorite is peacock feathers due to their vibrant colors. 

Pro-Tip

Be careful when collecting feathers. You should never pick up a feather in the wild without using proper safety gear. Some wild birds carry diseases that can be found in their shed feathers. 

Abstract Macro Photography Ideas

Abstract art allows viewers to study an image and come to their own conclusions about what they’re seeing. It can be interesting to show your work to someone and hear them explain what they think it might be, especially when they’re surprisingly wrong. Here are a couple of great abstract macro photography ideas to try. 

11. Textures in Textiles

Fabric can make excellent macro photography ideas. You can use something as simple as a cotton washcloth or grab a plush blanket. The point of a macro photo is to zoom in close so that you can see the intricate details that you’d usually miss.

The great thing about cloth is that you can maneuver it into whatever position you want so you can get lots of different angles and views. You can even capture the different textures and patterns.

Pro-Tip

Sequins make an excellent macro subject to photograph. These small shiny discs can come in a range of colors and reflect the light fabulously. Woven materials also make unique macro photography ideas 

12. Get Up Close With Your Lawn

Photographing grass is another excellent macro subject. Play around with different times of the day so you can see how the lighting changes your photos. Use multiple angles and zoom features. When framed the right way, a simple blade of grass can transform into an unrecognizable masterpiece. 

The various seasons and weather conditions can also work in your favor for extra photo props. Capturing a single drop of water on a lone piece of bright green grass could be more moving than capturing a whole yard.

Pro-Tip

Try using side-lighting to give some depth to your grass photos. This allows you to create sharp, crisp images. Backlighting is also essential, as it can help the color appear more dramatic. 

macro photo of snowflake

Frequently Asked Questions about Macro Photography 

There are some common questions that many people ask when they’re starting to learn about the world of macro photography. We’ve compiled a list to help educate you on everything you’ll need to know to get you started in macro photography. 

Tips for Taking Good Macro Photos

It’s easy to take macro photos. However, there are a few steps that can make your macro photos better. Try these helpful solutions to get the best macro photos.

Step 1: Get the Right Light

One of the most crucial components of shooting great macro photos is using the right lighting. Frontlight, or the light that comes from over your shoulder to shine on the macro subject, is the best source of illumination. 

Step 2: Choose a Single Focal Point

The best macro photos have one particular thing as the focus of the image. What you choose to frame is up to you. It can be just about anything, including all the things we’ve listed above. When you’re trying to find a macro subject to photograph, look for something that sticks out from its environment. Something that shows a contrast to what’s around it.

Step 3: Keep Your Background Simple

To make your macro photo stand out, you want to be sure there are no competing distractions in the picture. Using a simple background is the best way to keep your macro subject the primary interest of the photo. 

Many macro photographers blur the background, so the focal image is the most prominent thing you see. To do this, make sure your background is in the distance and use a wider aperture. You can also use your environment to add a splash of color that blends with your chosen macro subject or to create white space.  

Step 4: Select the Right Macro Settings

Many photographers prefer to use manual mode when working with macro images because they like the ability to alter the shutter speed and aperture. If you don’t want to mess with the presets, you can use aperture priority mode instead.

Shutter priority mode isn’t as ideal when shooting macro photos because you need to have full control of your aperture, which isn’t possible in this mode. Apertures allow you to create blurred backgrounds. But it also allows you to control the sharpness of the image. 

And you should always keep your camera set to manual focus when doing macro photos. For your shutter speed, you never want to go below 1/120th of a second for active macro shots. Otherwise, you won’t capture your intended target.

two lemons in water

Is There an Ideal Focal Length Setting for Macro Photos?

When working with macro photography, your goal is to make small objects look more significant. At times, you’ll want to be able to photograph something from a distance while making the focal point seem larger, usually a 1:1 ratio.

An ideal focal length for macro photography is 90-105 mm, as this gives you enough magnification for your pictures to be precise while working at a further distance from the object. You can certainly go larger, but remember that the longer your focal length gets, the bulkier your camera will become.

A 40-60 mm focal length will work if you’re just a casual photographer who likes to snap a few shots during a walk or you’re photographing products. You do have to stand closer to your focal point for a more enhanced shot.

Can I Take a Macro Shot Without a Macro Lens?

If you want to see what all the fuss is about around macro photography but you don’t want to spend the cash to get a macro lens, there are a few macro photography ideas you can still use to create macro photos. Here are a few different techniques to try!

Macro filters

Macro filters screw onto the front of your camera lens to provide magnification. These are usually pretty cheap, but the quality of your photos won’t always be of good quality, especially in poor lighting. You might also have to get different sizes of filters for different lenses.

Extension rings

Another photography tool photographers often use in place of macro lenses is extension rings, which go between the body of your camera and your lens. These are also easily affordable and work with any type of lens. However, using these rings will reduce your depth of field to just a few millimeters deep, which will make it harder to have a focused shot.

Reverse freelensing

By merely flipping your lenses backward, you can automatically have a macro lens. Be warned that using this photography method means you no longer control the aperture or autofocus. This photography method is not recommended if you want a clear picture.

To use this method, you have to physically hold the detached lens up to the camera so it can get exhausting. And due to the process of shooting, it’s challenging to get sharp, focused shots. However, if you want to experiment with blurred backgrounds, this is a great photography technique to try.  

frog with a butterfly on it's head

Give These Macro Photography Ideas a Try

Macro photography has become quite popular, and it’s easy to see why. Being able to appreciate the beauty of an object captured on film for the rest of the time can be a powerful photography experience. It’s a great way to show the beauty that’s all around us.

Even something as simple as the petal of a flower can be turned into a breathtaking work of art if captured the right way. Try our great macro photography ideas today!