macro photography ideas
inspiration for great macro photos

Looking for some fresh macro photography ideas?  Read on, my friend.  This article will give you some inspiration and ideas for macro photography. Breeze through it and when you're done, you can go on to find  more ideas and how to information by reading some of the other macro photography articles.


location  location  location

Flowers and bugs come to mind when you think of the most common subjects to photograph up close.

What about something a little more unique? Think about locations when you're seeking inspiration for close-up subjects.

Yes, outside is great when the weather is right, but what about some ideas for macro photos when the weather sucks?

Visit a conservatory and you'll be overloaded with macro photography ideas.Photograph taken at
a nearby conservatory

1. your own home

You can find interesting subjects everywhere. It just takes a little practice.  You could start by going to a room in your house.  Even your living room will have a few interesting subjects. Just walk into a room and challenge yourself to find something unique. Try a few compositions with different angles.

Your TV room will have subjects for macro photography.Close-up of your television remote control

Look for patterns, shapes, or interesting lines on any object within a room. The key is to move in close and look at very small areas and objects. I got the idea for the close-up below as soon as I walked into my living room.

In the living room. Photo of the base of a lamp made up of a mason jar and seashellsIn the living room. Photo of the base
of a lamp made up of a mason jar and seashells.


In the close-up of the Mason jar, I simply set the small table lamp down on a table that was close to a wide window in the front to my home. The soft light did a great job of bringing out the subtle colors and textures of the seashells inside the Mason jar.


2. unique locations for more macro photography ideas


The photo below was taken in the shower stall of our bathroom. When you put a question into your mind, it sometimes gives you an answer when you least expect it. The morning light did a great job of illuminating the tiny water droplets. I had to use a high ISO setting

So it is possible stay away from nature when searching for ideas on subject matter. Do you have any junk drawers or tool kits sitting around?  I challenged myself by looking for macro subject within each single room of my house.

I've limited myself to just the kitchen before, just my office and yes, just my bathroom-see the shower stall photo above.  It is a way to get your creative juices flowing.

Search through your junk drawer to come up with some ideas on what to photograph.Photo of bump-ons that go on the back of your picture frames.

This macro idea came from a shoe box full of framing supplies, located underneath my photography work table. This photo is a close-up of a"bump-on" which is one of those little plastic dome cushions that you place on the back of a picture frame to protect the wall.

The list of macro photography ideas is truly infinite. You just have to exercise your mental muscle and look around. Another possible way to get inspired is to consider getting a macro lens for your cell phone camera.

Perhaps a bit unusual, for sure, but you always have your cell phone with you and might come up with an interesting idea for your next macro photograph while you're on the go.

Add-on cell phone camera lenses are quite small, perhaps a bit of a gimmick, but definitely very affordable. Of course there is a downgrade in quality when you are using a cell phone to take photos, but the reality is everyone is doing it all the time and the photographs are getting better: Cell Phone Camera Lens.

Another great way to learn about a subject is to attend a workshop. Mike Moats is a dedicated macro photographer who travels the country and does workshops for photographers who don't have sophisticated macro photography equipment.  

Here is the link:  http://tinylanscapes.wordpress.com/workshops/

This article is intended to give you some great macro photography ideas. Any macro photo inspiration you pick up here can be carried over to other areas of your digital photography. Like learning a sport, the technical and tactical skills from one are carry over to another.  

The experience you get with finding or creating good lighting, and using good composition is helpful with other kinds of photography.


3. Your office

Offices contain lots of potential subjects for macro photography. Pens, pencils, paper clips, staplers, USB drives, and......you get the idea. 

Close-up photo of a German bibleMy grandfather's German bible

The close up photo of this antique German bible shows the characteristics of the aged paper and cover. I carried it outside to my porch late in the afternoon so the sun was diffused and coming in at an angle.

Objects in nature (insects and flowers) are by far the most popular subjects for photographers doing macro photography, and you shouldn't exclude them from the disucssion.


3. Your own backyard

How about some macro photography that isn't of bugs or flowers. There is a lot of potential for ideas for close-up photography that don't involve flowers or insects. Look for textures, patterns, and interesting lighting situations.

Close-up Photo of padlock in the sun.Padlock on shed door.

I wanted to follow my own method for finding macro photography ideas. I walked out by back door one sunny morning and just started looking. Within 5 minutes I had photographed about 6 different subjects.

Close-up of knot in wood fenceClose-up of knot in wood fence

I have found that looking at photos from other photographers is a great way of getting ideas for creating photos with your own personal method or interpretation of the subject matter of your image.

<b>Hinge and rusty screws</b><br>Hinge and rusty screws

The number of subjects is both plentiful and amazingly diverse, so ideas are limitless. I did include a few small nature photos from other photographers as samples of macro photo subjects in this article to give you a little variety from other photographers.

Most of the photos on this web site have been taken by me personally. I have, on occasion, used photos from other photographers as inspiration and for ideas to write additional articles.

Close-up of tulips - Photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.netClose-up of tulips - Photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

You have many sources of royalty free and public domain photos at your disposal to use for inspiration. I occasionaly use the photos from one site : publicdomainpictures.net

Petr Kratochvi has thousands of photos there and I have contributed money to Petr for the use of his photography on this digital photo tips web site.

If you were photographing the wood fence, what would you do differently? Perhaps you would use a different lighting technique or take a different perspective. That can change the visual impact completely of any subject by altering your lighting, your perspective or your composition.


4. shoot macro photos of a characteristic

Another way to come up with creative macro photography ideas is to focus on one aspect or characteristic of a subject.

For instance, you could look for textures. These last two photos are all about texture. Seek inspiration for a photo by looking for just subjects with interesting texture.

Seek out textures in nature to inspire you to more close-up photography designsPinecone

Mushrooms make an interesting idea for close-up photographyMushrooms

The two examples are both from nature, but it's easy to use this concept for non-living things.


abstract macro photography

You can have some nerdy fun by getting in real close to subjects that lose their identity. Photos like this don't appeal to the general population, but camera geeks like us can get enjoyment out of going abstract.

Abstract macro image of a rock in my backyard.Abstract macro image of a rock in my backyard.

With the sun at a low angle, all of the little nooks and crannies are revealed in this photo of a rock that adorns the edge of my fishpond.


5. make a list of macro photography subjects


Another way to get inspiration for creative macro photography ideas would be to make a list of suitable subjects like insects, food, hardware or water droplets. Give yourself an assignment, explore and have a blast with macro photography.

See the article on finding subjects in the kitchen or the bathroom - visit the links on the left side of this page.  Macro Ideas:  From The Kitchen and The Bathroom

Here's an article on the Digital Photography School site that gives you 5 Tips For Finding New Ideas for macro photos.


I have quite a few books on photography in my "library" and I keep them around so that I can occasionally flip through them and generate new ideas in my limited creative brain. A great source of additional information can be found here:

Reviews of Macro Photography Books on Amazon

Happy Shooting
Bruce 



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