Have you discovered Macro mode on your iPhone? I think it’s a game-changer for closeup photography, so I thought I’d share some tips on how to use it.
Can you use your iPhone in Macro mode?
First, you’ll need the right iPhone model. Macro mode is available on the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, along with the new iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. The iPhones must have the Ultra Wide camera.
Since cellular carriers are offering great incentives to upgrade your iPhone right now, this is a good excuse to do it! But be sure to choose the Pro models of the iPhone 13 or 14. They are designed for photographers and include the additional Ultra Wide camera plus macro mode.
Do you have to set iPhone Macro mode?
The short answer is no. But, just to be sure, go to Settings/Camera/ and then scroll down to the bottom to Macro Control. To use macro mode, you’ll need to have this turned on.
How do you use iPhone Macro mode?
You’ll need to hold your iPhone within about 2 to 16 cm of your subject (3/4” to 6 ¼”.) When you move your iPhone this close to your subject, a small flower icon will appear at the bottom left or right of the screen. This is your signal that the camera can focus and is ready to shoot.
You can use either the 1X or the 3X camera. Since the 3X is a zoom, your subject will appear larger in the photo.
But here’s the secret to iPhone macro mode. The iPhone will switch cameras on you when you shoot and the photo will be taken by the Ultra Wide Camera (the 0.5X one.)
Where do you find your shots?
As with all the other photos you take with your iPhone, the Macro mode photos will appear in the Library of your Photos app. But how do you know which ones were shot in macro mode? Here’s a trick. Look for the Ultra Wide Camera.
In Photos on your iPhone, iPad, or computer, click on the Information icon-the “i” in a circle. You’ll be able to see which camera was used. If it says Ultra Wide Camera, and the photo is a closeup, chances are that it was shot in iPhone macro mode.
Pros to using iPhone Macro mode:
You’ll be able to get very close to your subject and blur out the background. The other way to achieve this look is with Portrait Mode, but you must be between 2’ and 8’ of your subject. That’s too far away from most small subjects. (I’ve included a link to a post about Portrait mode later in this post.)
Cons to using iPhone Macro mode:
Unlike in Portrait mode, you can’t edit the depth of field after you’ve taken the shot. This means that you may get a blurry shot due to your hands or the subject moving closer or farther away from each other. When you can adjust the depth of field using Portrait mode, you’ll often be able to increase the focus depth enough to save the photo.
Are there any tips for avoiding an out-of-focus subject?
Yes. There are two ways to give yourself some choices.
Shoot in Live Mode. If you shoot your iPhone Macro mode photo with Live Photos turned on, you’ll have three seconds of photos to choose from. (I’ve included a link to a post about Live mode later in this post.) After you take the shot, you can choose the photo with the best focus.
Shoot in Burst Mode. If you shoot in Burst mode, you’ll quickly capture some photos. (The number depends on how long you hold onto the shutter button.) Then you can choose the best one. (I’ve included a link to a post about Burst mode later in this post.)
Now it’s your turn.
Is your second camera a DSLR or mirrorless camera? 😉 My online workshop will teach you everything you need to know about using it! Since it’s all prerecorded and online, you don’t even have to leave home to learn. Better yet, you can learn at your own pace. You can finish it in a weekend or as slowly as you’d like! https://www.carolinemaryan.com/camera-mechanics-workshops-info/
To learn more about macro photography, check out this post: https://www.carolinemaryan.com/shooting-macro-photography/
I wrote about Portrait mode in this post: https://www.carolinemaryan.com/use-your-iphones-portrait-mode-creatively/
To learn more about Live mode here’s a post I wrote: https://www.carolinemaryan.com/shoot-waterfalls-with-live-photo-mode-on-your-iphone/
Here’s a link to a post I wrote about shooting in Burst Mode: https://www.carolinemaryan.com/using-your-iphone-in-burst-mode/
Apple has a quick tutorial on shooting Macro photos and videos here: https://support.apple.com/en-mide/guide/iphone/iphfaacf2eb0/ios#:~:text=Take%20a%20macro%20photo%20or%20video&text=Get%20close%20to%20the%20subject,start%20and%20stop%20recording%20video.