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30 Creative Close-up and Macro Photography Ideas

In this article, we will discuss some great macro photography ideas. Macro photography has increased in popularity over the last few years, and for good reason. Close-up and macro photography allows us to look at ordinary objects in an entirely new angle, which is not possible with the naked eye.

These days, you don’t need to have a macro lens to capture fantastic macro shots because you can use a DSLR or even a smartphone to capture small objects. Of course, with the right gear, you can get even closer.

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Many photographers get stuck in their choice of subjects for macro or close-up photography. That’s why we have put together 30 macro photography ideas you can practice today. Moreover, we have found great examples to illustrate these ideas. Scroll down to see what fresh macro photography ideas we have for you!

Ideas for Amazing Macro Photos

1. Water Drops – Classic Macro Photography Idea

Water Drops - Classic Creative Macro Photography Idea

Water droplets are a fantastic macro photography idea you can start with. These pretty subjects stay on plants after rain, or, you can even create droplets yourself with a water spray bottle.

Droplets can add dimension and texture to your image. Some droplets may be tiny, which is why you need a macro lens for this photo subject. You can capture water droplets showing a reflection or shoot some droplets on leaves or grass. If you use a macro flash, try to avoid nasty reflections in the water droplets, or use softer natural light.

2. Feathers


You are going to find a lot of natural objects on this list since we (humans) are often attracted to nature and the patterns it creates. There are no other things so perfect and complete than those that have been designed by nature. Macro photography helps to see everyday objects unusually, and feathers are great things to photograph because they reflect tenderness and beauty.

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3. Fruits and Vegetables


We all have fruits and vegetables at home. Since these objects are available worldwide, you can use them to start with macro photography. Fruits and vegetables have different shapes and colors giving you strong contrasts and dimensions. You can also try to capture water drops on fruit or cut them in half to show their insides.

You can try one interesting trick with a slice of orange by using a backlight and taking a close-up shot. Other transparent objects, such as vegetables, leaves, or beverages will also work for this setup.

4. Cloth – Unique and Different Macro Photography Idea

Cloth - Unique and Different Creative Macro Photography Idea

Another available object for macro photography that you have at home is fabric. We all have different types of clothes in our closets, so it’s possible to show different colors and textures of cloth. Here, you can go abstract, use different angles and get completely unexpected creative results. Folds on fabric can help you drive the viewer’s attention.

5. Bugs


I don’t mean those ugly cockroaches invading your kitchen. However, a butterfly on a flower or a ladybug on glass can create a beautiful macro image. For this type of photography, you need to be patient, but I find that most bugs are actually interesting subjects as long as you can find them and get them to “pose” on a usable background. Macro lenses with a focal length of 85-105 or even 200mm are great for capturing macro pictures of insects, as they allow you to keep your distance and avoid disturbing the insects. You need to find the perfect time and settings for bee photography or capture macro shots of insects. However, the result is worth a shot, and taking good macro photos of a natural subject gives you a better appreciation of the life around you.

6. Technology


Devices surround us all: smartphones, TVs, laptops, and coffeemakers are available in almost every house. Why not take a look at ordinary objects from the other angle with the help of your macro lens? The sleek lines of shiny metal or tiny plastic details can provide you with hours of photography entertainment.

7. Glass

Glass can be an ideal surface for fascinating reflections. Consider taking a piece of glass outside and capturing reflections of leaves or sky in it. For an extra close-up, use a macro lens and see where it takes you.

8. Leaves – Editors First Choice of Creative Macro Photography Ideas

Leaves - Editors First Choice of Creative Macro Photography Ideas

Anything created by nature works amazingly for macro photography. Leaves are a perfect object for macro photography since they all have different shapes, colors, and textures. Consider leaves on a tree, bush, or on the ground; there are numerous ways to shoot them. Pay extra attention to the leaf veins and color-changing due to the season.

One idea that often gives good results is to capture the light shining through a leaf. You can use the sun and have it light up the leaf from behind, or add some macro lighting to your setup.

The good thing is that you can find leaves in your own backyard or in the local park, which makes it one of the most accessible macro ideas on this list.

9. Snowflakes


Snow crystals created by clouds from water droplets are truly stunning nature creations. There are billions and billions of snowflakes on the Earth, but no two snowflakes are ever the same.

Many macro photographers try this at some point, however, it is very difficult to capture images of snowflakes. They often melt quickly, and you might need to focus stack several images handheld, and use extension tubes to close enough to make amazing shots

Anyway, take your macro lens and go for a snowflake hunt. In summer, when snow can be found only on Laplandia, you can try to capture ice from a freezer.

10. Food – Creative Macro Photo Ideas for Foodies

Food - Creative Macro Photography Ideas for Foodies

Food photography is a great genre where the macro lens can also come in handy. You are going to need a prepared plate of food and natural light for better results. Just imagine melting cheese on a burger patty or crispy lettuce, and the best part about shooting food: You can eat your subject after a photo session!

11. People


You can also practice macro photography with people. For example, take a close-up shot of a human eye, skin texture, or hair. Simply get closer than a full face in a frame.

12. Jewelry


Rings and gemstones are other perfect objects to capture if you want to do macro photography. Jewelry is small itself, so having a macro lens will only help you to find extra details. Consider good lighting as well when you shoot jewelry since it will show super shine on the sun.

13. Animals – The Perfect Creative Macro Photography Idea for Pet Owners

Animals - The Perfect Creative Macro Photography Idea for Pet Owners

This one is brilliant for all those who share their home with a furry friend. The fur of your cat or the eye of a bird can make a wonderful macro image. If you don’t have pets at home, you can go and practice macro photography at the local zoo. However, you are going to need a great telephoto lens and shoot close-ups because you are not allowed to enter the cages of wild beasts.

14. Paper


A piece of kitchen foil or craft paper could become a genuinely inspiring object for macro photography. Capture the reflections on the foil with a macro lens. Or crumple a piece of paper and start shooting.

15. Old Paint – Unique Creative Macro Photography Idea

Old Paint - Unique Creative Macro Photography Idea

Show the passing of time by capturing old peeling paint on some metal objects or wooden doors. Search for an abandoned building in your city and go there for a series of cool macro shots. Time is cruel for old paint, so this is an excellent idea for a storytelling image, or use the art to create abstract macro photography.

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16. Everyday Objects


Look around you – what objects are there at your house? Look at them and try to see them from a new perspective. You can find some unexpected patterns and textures on a dishwashing sponge as well as soap bubbles. The abstract photo will be the best option for people to guess what object you have used for that photo.

17. Wood


If you look closely at a piece of wood, you’ll notice a lot of details, grain, and lines. Wood changes with time, just like the human body. You can capture these changes, for example, weathered wood or cross-section of the tree.

Show your viewer fantastic wooden details that only can be seen with a macro lens. Besides, you can also take a picture of little insects or plants on the tree, such as green moss on a tree.

18. Rust – Super Interesting Creative Close-up Photography Ideas!

Rust - Super Interesting Creative Macro Photography Ideas!

The red-brown coat of rust on the metal objects which forms over time is another beautiful object to capture as a macro photographer. Additionally, the rust could have different textures and shades that make it even more interesting. Rust can appear on the metal doors, chains, locks, and other old objects, especially if they are outside. You can find rusty metal on abandoned houses or aged buildings.

19. Abstract Patterns


Abstraction is one of the most natural forms of photography when shooting macro. You can get a really close shot of almost any object you see and get fantastic results. Abstact macro photography is also a great way to start with capturing macro images, as there are really no rules or ideal settings for abstract art, as long as you get stunning images.

Viewers will spend a long trying to figure out what is captured on the image. It could be a simple piece of old paper for you, but for people who see the picture, it can be one of the most engaging images they have ever seen. Photographing ice cubes can also reveal some interesting patterns.

20. Flowers – Creative Macro Photography Ideas for Nature Lovers

Flowers - Creative Macro Photography Ideas for Nature Lovers

Flowers are beautiful, and maybe it’s the first idea that crosses your mind when you think about macro photographs. However, there are very few ways to find flowers in winter, so that you can try with houseplants. You don’t need to have a special camera lens or macro equipment to capture flowers. The natural environment green backdrop will be the best option for bright, colorful flowers, and often you get the best results when you learn to make the most of natural light in your macro photography.

21. Clothing


After you shoot an extra-close shot of the clothes you have at home, why not move your attention to buttons, ribbons, tags, and other details of the clothing, in a macro lens it could become an abstract, beautiful image. Moreover, old clothes may be used to create a cool storytelling shot that viewers will want to examine.

22. Smoke

macro photography of smoke

You might not think of smoke as being beautiful. But that will change when you see it up close and freeze the moment. Smoke can form the most amazing curves and lines, that at the same time seems both random and orchestrated.

23. Pencils – A Colorful Creative Macro Photography Idea

Pencils - A Colorful Creative Macro Photography Idea

You can find a new angle of colored pencils and other stationery items. Just look what you have on your workspace and combine pencils, pens, or crayons to get an interesting shot. A wooden desk can be a perfect background for this situation.

24. Toys – Creative Macro Photography Idea for Parents

Toys - Creative Macro Photography Idea for Parents

This subject is suitable for parents who have lots of toys at home. Modern gadgets include colorful details which may look fantastic in the image.

Get a toy close to the lens and set a wide aperture to get a nice depth of field. You can get creative here by taking little toy soldiers outdoors and shooting by using the tilt-shift technique. This way, you will make a viewer look twice to check if they are not too realistic.

25. Liquid Splashes


Have you seen those gorgeous photos with splashes of water on the web? You can get the kind of images at home. You can experiment with water or other liquids such as coffee, or use food coloring. Make sure to use high shutter speed to capture the moment splash appears on the surface.

Hint: The secret to capturing great macro photos with an artfully color gradient like above is to illuminate the background.

If you don’t want to capture splashes but still like the idea of using water, try this: Mix oil and water and create interesting compositions.

26. Fish


Some fish that live in big aquariums are also an excellent subject for macro photography. It is quite simple to capture them since the fish swim in the limited space of an aquarium. Note that red or orange fish in blue water can help you get a fantastic bright image.

27. Marble


People have been fascinated by marble texture for centuries. This material has a beautiful, complicated surface with bright lines and other small details. Take a close shot of marble stone, table, or other home interior objects with this pattern.

28. Fire – Editors Second Choice of Creative Ideas to Capture

Fire - Editors Second Choice of Creative Macro Photography Ideas

Fire is an excellent source of warm, yellow light. You can take a photo of flames on the dark background. The fire is better seen in the dark. You can shoot candles or campfires, but please be careful and remember about your safety.

Consider playing around with shutter speed – if you make it longer, the flames will turn out smooth and beautiful. But in this case, use a tripod to avoid unnecessary motion.

29. Candy

macro shot of candy

There are so many candies out there. Choose one candy or a variety of different colorful candies. You can experiment with lighting, backdrops, and camera settings.

30. Eyes – Creative Macro Photography Idea for Portrait Lovers

Eyes - Creative Macro Photography Idea for Portrait Lovers

The eyes are one of the most significant parts of the human face. With eyes, a viewer can read emotions; that’s why this part of our body is very photogenic. All eyes are beautiful with their unique pattern, so don’t limit yourself to shooting only human eyes. The eyes of an animal, bird, and even a fish are a great photography subject. If you can get close enough.

Over to You

I hope you enjoyed these macro photography ideas compiled here. Give these ideas a try, and you’ll see it’s a lot of fun. Play around with focus, camera settings, and lighting to get different results with the same object every time.

If you don’t have a macro lens yet, you can begin with extension tubes or use the reverse lens technique. Alternatively, buy an expensive lens when you are ready to take it a step further into exploring tiny worlds. Take your camera and go practice macro photography!

Do you have any other ideas to shoot or interesting macro photography subjects? Please let us know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “30 Creative Close-up and Macro Photography Ideas”

  1. Thanks….it’s an interesting article with good tips that makes for great reading! I was pleased to notice that I have already been using most of these tips, but there is always something new to learn! Am looking forward to implement those ideas new to me…

  2. Thank you very much.
    I have just recently decided to try macaro photograhy.
    I look forward to using some of tips and information from here.


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