Macro iPhoneography

Author: Amy Horn

wide to macro

My neighborhood has a wonderful display of garden flowers and I love to photograph flowers. So, on my daily dog walks I carry my iPhone and a macro lens to capture the beautiful neighborhood color. Here are a few things I learned while using my iPhone for macro work.

  1. All of photography is about capturing the light reflecting off your subject. So, even with an iPhone, you want to find quality light. Cloud cover is one of the best lighting situations with soft diffused light. What you want to avoid is low light with an iPhone. In low light situations, your images will have with noise and grain from the small sensor.
  2. With all macro photography, wind is the enemy. Even a fast shutter speed will create a blurred image in a macro environment. In Flagstaff, mornings are less windy than afternoons. So, I always photograph in the morning.
  3. Macro Lens. There are many macro lenses for phones out there to purchase but my favorites are the ones that clip on quickly. If I have to take off my phone case or twist something on I will not use the macro lens. These macro lenses do let you get very close – less than an inch away from your subject!
  4. Burst mode. Even if the flower is very still, I might move slightly. The best option for success is to shoot in burst mode. If you have never used burst mode on an iPhone before it is so simple.
    Macro clip on lens

    Macro clip on lens

    Just hold the button down. Multiple images with be captured. Be careful though, I once held the button down by mistake and in no time I had 100 images! Many people use burst mode, but don’t realize it because when you view the images, you only see one. Apple stacks the photos and you can select the one(s) you want and delete the rest. Here are three screen shots from the photos app. The first one indicates I captured a burst of 5 photos. After choosing edit, I can select some of the images. When I click “done” I see the options to keep everything or keep my favorites. If I choose to keep my favorites, then my favorites are visible into the photos app as individual photos.

flowersIf you become a serious macro iPhoneographer, you may want to invest in a bluetooth trigger. This small unit connects with your iPhone and releases the shutter on your camera (your headphones can do this too). I find sometimes triggering with one hand and holding the phone with the other gives me more success. I have fun taking photos whether it is with my iPhone or my big DSLR and

iPhone remote trigger

iPhone remote trigger

any photo I capture are opportunities to practice!

Amy Horn is a professor of photography at Northern Arizona University and teaches Photo 101, Photo 102, iPhoneography, iPad Workflow and Flash Basics for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops. To see her current schedule view or


Morphing Manhattan

Author:  Amy Horn
All photos copyrighted Amy Horn Designs

Whether it is going to museums or art websites, I learn more about light and creativity through the art and photographs I study. I have found installing a new app on my iPhone or iPad sparks my creative juices as well. For instance, on a recent family trip to New York City, I installed a new app to my phone: Rollworld. This app creates tiny planets, rabbit holes or morphing videos from the in app camera or using images from your camera roll. Let me explain.

•    A tiny planet is when the two ends of the photograph are stretched in a circular manner to meet so the sky Rollworldbecomes the outer edges of this circular photo.
•    A rabbit hole does the exact opposite. The sky becomes the center of the photo.
•    Morphing video is a moving picture that takes the photo from point A to point B. Any photos you create whether it it s a tiny planet or a rabbit hole (or both) can then turn into a morphing video as it transitions from one state to another.

The Rollworld app offers many customizing functions to invert, balance, spin, smooth transitions, zoom, scroll, and offers a randomizing effect. Shake the phone or push the button and you will see a new creation each time. Creations are limitless. When you find something you love, export it to several social media sites or to your camera roll and choose the resolution (up to 3000 x 3000 pixels).

What I learned when using Rollworld app. I found images with a fair amount of sky or water worked well. With my long flight home, I created several versions of an image to see what I liked best and found that to be very entertaining as well. If you are looking for a fun app to show your creative side download Rollworld for free. There is an in app purchase if you would like to export the videos. But all image processing is free!

If you are interested in more iPhone/iPad tips and tricks, sign up for her iPhone and/or iPad course through Arizona Highways Photo Workshops at You can also follow her at