Lesson 37: Small Subjects

Tiny subjects like small flowers can often be difficult to capture with the iPhone.  One way to address the problem is to use a lens that attaches over the built-in lens much like the telephoto attachment we used in Lesson 25.  In this case, we’re going to use the Photojojo macro lens attachment.

You can order a set of 3 lenses that attached via a magnet over the iPhone lens here:  http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/cell-phone-lenses/

The macro lens attachment will help you get up close to small subjects.  It’s actually part of the wide angle lens in the Photojojo kit.  You just have to unscrew a ring to get to the macro lens part.  Here’s what the kit looks like out of the box:


The fisheye, 2x telephoto, and wide angle/macro lens attachments from Photojojo
The fisheye, 2x telephoto, and wide angle/macro lens attachments from Photojojo

And here it is with the wide angle ring removed from the macro lens:

Wide angle lens with the ring to make it macro removed
Wide angle lens with the ring to make it macro removed

To attach the lens to the iPhone, you simply stick the metal ring around the built-in lens on the back.  I used the iPhone ring intended to attach to the glass back of the iPhone.  However, I attached it to the outside of my LifeProof case so I could keep the phone protected while shooting.  This is what it looks like on my 4S:

Once you have the ring adhered around your lens, remove the extra ring from the wide angle/macro lens in the kit and then let the magnet do the work to keep the lens attached to the phone.  Check to make sure the lens is centered around the lens before you start shooting–it can move around and block a portion of your photo.

To take macro photos, find a small subject like a flower and then get very close to it.  So close that you’re almost touching it.  You will need to experiment with your angle to the subject as well as your distance from the subject to get your subject in focus.  You will also need to hold really still–the magnifying effects of the attachment also magnify your motions.  This is a good time to refer to Lesson 34 on how to keep the phone still.  If you can use a tripod, do.

Here’s are some side-by-side comparisons of taking photos of small subjects with and without the attachments.  Notice that the iPhone is unable to focus at all on the flowers I chose for subjects without the attachment.

Your Assignment:  If you decided to buy the Photojojo lens kit mentioned in Lesson xx, try your own up-close experiment.  See how close you need to get the subject to the lens attachment to get the image in focus.  Note that if you’re holding the phone so that the volume buttons are at the top right corner, the lens will be at the bottom right-hand corner.  Try taking a picture of the same subject from the same distance without the attachment.  Are you able to get the subject in focus without the lens attachment?