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iPhone and Galaxy Macro Photography Tips

iPhone and Galaxy macro photography tips to whet your appetite using the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3. Here we show our recommended apps and accessories for pin sharp close-up and macro photography.


Macro Photography Tips – Apps


Let’e start with some close-up images with our Smartphone cameras. We use the Camera+ App with the iPhone. This gives us independent control of focus, exposure and white balance. Furthermore you can lock these settings in Camera+ which is a great bonus especially if you are shooting a batch of similar images. With the Samsung Galaxy S3 we use the Camera FV-5 app for all our product photography. FV-5 for Android allows you independent control over your focus, exposure and white balance as well. With the S3 and FV-5 you also have control over your ISO setting which is a great bonus as this helps you avoid image noise or grain in lower light conditions. We intentionally shot these in quite low light to see how image grain was affected. In the iPhone 5 image above there is marginal evidence of grain creeping in if you look at the flat mid-gray border compared to the Galaxy S3 below. Unfortunately you can’t set the ISO with the iPhones and the iPhone selected ISO 160 in this case compared to the S3’s ISO 100 preset.




Camera FV-5 for Android controls screen

 Macro Photography tips – accessories


With macro photography it is essential to hold your camera perfectly still. The Modahaus Steady Stand range are fantastic for overhead product photography shots. They keep your camera still during exposure and help ensure your camera is parallel to your subject so you achieve edge to edge image sharpness. The image above shows the Modahaus Steady Stand SS200 used on one of the colored backdrops of the Modahaus Tabletop Studio Pro TS320. The side walls of the Steady Stands give you a soft box quality of light which helps eliminate harsh shadows. Great with artificial light as well as daylight. We used a single bank of LED lights bounced off a white ceiling to simulate daylight. Both cameras were left on auto white balance.


We cropped in the iPhone 5 image down from full frame so we could show the level of detail captured. The Galaxy S3 image is nearer full frame crop.


 Macro Photography Tips – How close can you get?


The answer is pretty close with both the S3 and iPhone 5. Here we used the taller Steady Stand SS300 and placed our subject on an elevated platform to bring it closer to the lens. I’d say the two images below are a comfortable distance for most macro subjects but you can get closer.




Here, in the image immediately below we reached the minimum focus distance of the iPhone 5.  You can see the topping on the cracker failed to lock focus but the cracker itself is in sharp focus. This image shows the full frame the iPhone 5 captured.


And here, below we see the Galaxy S3 image captured at exactly the same camera to subject distance. This image shows the full frame the S3 captured. You’ll notice the S3 has captured a slightly wider area of the cracker and has the topping in sharp focus.


Macro Photography tips – It’s a wrap! Or should that be cracker!

Most Smartphone cameras these days are capable of amazingly sharp, detailed macro shots. When shooting at macro distances, even a fraction of an inch movement is enough to throw out your focus. All Smartphone cameras have pronounced shutter lag. When you press the shutter release button the camera has locked focus at that point. The camera takes your picture a moment later. During that moment, if your shooting hand held, you invariably have some movement – therefore you lose sharp focus. Always shoot with a Steady Stand or some kind of tripod. Even with a Steady Stand or tripod you’re best to use the self timer to avoid any camera movement.  The very small physical size of Smartphone camera sensors lend themselves to macro photography. They’re a lot less expensive than macro lenses as well!

Macro photography opens up a whole new world.

Time to have a peep at the world of macro with your Smartphone?

Visit our other Guides and Blog posts for more tips on product photography and the versatile Modahaus system. Connect with us via Email signup, TwitterYouTube or Facebook to keep fully up to date.

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