Looking for indoor macro photography ideas? We don’t blame you. Macro work gets you up close and personal with the intricate details of the world around us. Take the dullest of subjects and it instantly becomes fascinating when viewed through a macro lens.
There’s just so much the human eye can’t perceive alone. A photographer with even a little skill and the right equipment can produce shots that stay with their viewers for years to come.
Thing is, a ton of macro photography takes place outdoors. This makes sense, as nature is teeming with incredible macro subjects. If you’d rather stay indoors, however, the suggestions on this page will be right up your street. Read on to spark your creativity.
How to Take Macro Pictures
Whether you’re at home or outside, it’s important to make sure you’re doing things properly. Check out our micro guide and tips below.
Use the Right Lens
For your photography to be ‘true’ macro, you’ll need to be using a lens that offers a 1:1 reproduction ratio. If it’s advertised as a macro product, it will be 1:1 out of the box. In short, this means that an object that’s 1 inch long on your viewfinder will also be 1 inch long in your final image.
Make sure it’s a true macro lens before shooting.
Get the Lighting Right
As with every photography genre, it’s critical that you make good use of your available light. When shooting indoors, you might have less sunlight in your environment than is ideal. This means relying on artificial light sources instead.
Pay close attention to the lamps and overhead lights in any room you’re using for photos. Consider picking up some basic lighting equipment if you plan on doing a lot of shooting at home.
Use the Right Settings
Your shutter speed and aperture are perhaps the most important settings to think about when taking macro photos indoors. They impact the amount of light that enters your lens and also affect how long you’ll have to wait before you get the perfect shot.
Be prepared for a degree of trial and error when working. As you move from subject to subject and room to room, you’ll likely have to tweak things from time to time.
The more you practice, the easier it will become to make adjustments on the fly.
Keep Things Steady
A tripod is basically a must-have when taking macro photographs. Unless you have the steadiest hand in the world, consider picking one up for your shoots. The less you have to worry about camera shake and resulting image noise, the better.
Macro photography can be a finicky business at the best of times – keeping things steady with a tripod gives you one less thing to worry about.
On a Budget?
The good news here is that macro lenses are relatively affordable when compared to most other lens types. If you’re looking to really pinch pennies, however, there’s a cheaper option out there for those willing to tolerate a lower-quality image.
Extension tubes can be a budget friendly alternative to macro lenses that produce reasonable results if you know what you’re doing. We discuss the pros and cons of these accessories vs a traditional lens here.
Indoor Macro Photography Ideas
The list below is far from exhaustive. It’s designed as a jumping-off point to help spark your creativity. Check out our suggestions and see what new subjects you can think of along the way!
The great thing about macro photography is that basically anything can become interesting once viewed up-close. In particular, look out for the following when finding your own subjects:
- Dynamics (moving VS still subjects)
When looking at a potential subject, see if you can find one or more of the above-mentioned aspects that interest you. If you can, it’s time to get shooting!
Our furry (or scaly!) friends can be wonderful macro subjects. Think about which parts of your pet you’d like to capture. Their textured little nose? Their intricate scales? Their paws? The world really is your oyster here – if you’ll pardon the pun.
Remember that pets can be a little frustrating to capture at first as they tend to move around more than you’d like them to. Practice by finding ways to keep your pet still when working. Treats and a little patience can work wonders!
Macro images reveal just how fascinating fruits and vegetables can be. Look out for rough, bumpy textures and spectacular colors. With certain fruits, cutting them open first can be a great way to get the shots you need.
When going for a certain color palette, choose fruit and veg that compliments your theme. Check out our specific suggestions below:
- Pomegranates (the spiky top and the ruby-red seeds)
- Avocado skin
- Apple cores
- Sliced cucumber
- Dragon fruit
- Blood oranges
Food in General
While fruit and veg can provide some truly unique textures for your macro shots, don’t be tricked into overlooking the rest of your pantry. There’s a ton of intrigue to be found throughout your whole kitchen.
A great ‘game’ you can play when taking macro photos is to try and mislead your viewer. How can you capture an image that makes people go ‘wait, what am I looking at?’? This is half the magic of macro photography – the ability to make the mundane magical.
Plants and their beautiful foliage are timeless classics of the macro photography genre. If you’ve got indoor plants in your home, it’s well worth putting them under your macro lens. As with outdoor plants, look for specific textures, lines, and shapes that catch your eye.
Is it worth including part of the plant pot? Which focus point will look just perfect? Answer questions like these when working and you’ll be well on your way to a killer image.
Textiles and Furniture
What looks like a simple couch or cushion can become valleys of texture and curiosity through a macro lens. Take a moment to look at the different furniture pieces and textiles throughout your house. Don’t just rely on your eyes here.
Running your fingers over things can be super helpful too – it makes it easier to identify the awesome bumps and creases that only become visible through your camera.
Unique House Features
Got funky wallpaper in your house? Do certain areas have hairline cracks or crevices that are hard to notice? This kind of feature can be perfect for macro photography. Showcase the weird and wonderful parts of your home and get creative with how you capture them.
Your chosen focal point and angle can be just as important as the object itself. Don’t be afraid to play around until you get things just right. One of the great things about taking macro photographs at home is that you have the luxury of time on your side.
Get to know your house on a whole new level with macro photography!
The colors, patterns, and textures that come with vases can be excellent photography subjects. For clear glass vases, it might be a good idea to put some flowers in there too. The obscured roots and leaves through glass can make for some incredible shots if you know what you’re doing.
For colored and patterned vases, try to find spots that really pique your interest. If your eye is drawn there, chances are it’s the right spot to focus on.
We’ve dedicated a few paragraphs below to water-specific examples. Water can provide a phenomenal canvas for the home photographer. The only limit here is your creativity. We outline a few ideas below that use water in all its forms. Check them out.
A well-timed shot of a water droplet can be truly breathtaking. Be prepared, though – you’ll need a little patience to get the shot you’re looking for. Play around with your aperture, shutter speed, and exposure and try to maintain sharpness on this fascinating moving subject.
Definitely use a tripod if you’re trying to take photos of a moving object.
The snaking wisps that rise from a cup of coffee, the enticing mist that hangs over a gloriously hot bath – steam is an excellent choice for a stunning indoor macro image. Composition will be especially important here.
Think about what else you’d like to include in your frame. The rim of our aforementioned coffee cup? Some other source for the steam? Consider how you’d like your viewers to perceive your final photo.
Ice cubes are another great one and are far less dynamic than steam or falling water droplets. They’re especially interesting when beginning to melt at room temperature. Look through your camera lens and search for spots on your ice cubes where cracks and droplets are beginning to show.
Can you create the impression of a vast iceberg from within your kitchen? Macro photography makes it possible.
Add Oil or Dyes
It’s amazing what a little olive oil or food coloring can accomplish. Fill a transparent dish or container with water and then drop in a little food coloring or similar dyeing agent. Gently swirl the mixture and capture the result in all its glory.
Plenty of bright light will help for this scenario. The specific viscosity of your mixture will determine how quickly you have to take your image. Experiment, and have fun with it!
The snaking tendrils of smoke from a fire or candle can be rendered jaw-dropping with a little macro magic. Make sure that any smoke-related photography takes place in a well-ventilated room and with an abundance of caution.
Direct lighting in an otherwise dark room can work well when taking photos of smoke. No one knows your home better than you so feel free to play around with different lighting states until you find what works.
Cutlery may appear perfectly pedestrian to the untrained eye but point a macro lens at it, and a whole world of stories emerges. Fingerprints, micro-scratches, and small dents can add dazzling texture to this otherwise mundane photography subject.
Overhead lighting can help reveal many of these imperfections when working.
Fling open your wardrobe and have a root around for your next masterpiece! Sequins, intricate stitching, and woven patterns can all be great for macro shots. Think about which angles will work best for each piece.
Top-down? Parallel to the surface of your shirt? It’s up to you!
There’s a reason that most promotional jewelry photos are taken with a macro lens – the level of detail you get is hard to beat. Choose a few special pieces and dive into their intricate details. You might be amazed by how much you can capture with a little patience.
If you’re looking to learn more about photographing your rings, earrings, and other accessories, check out our guide here.
Lego soldiers, plastic bricks, and any number of other toys can produce a stunning macro photograph. Think about the stories you can tell with your images. Does your chosen toy have a mucky fingerprint on it? Perhaps it’s been scuffed up by your kids. In the world of photography, this is a chance to capture more than just an object, but a memory too.
If your kids are particularly patient, you could even experiment with including their hands in the frame too.
Indoor Macro Photography Ideas – Final Thoughts
We hope you’ve found the suggestions on this page helpful. Remember that they’re just here as jumping-off points. If you think you can come up with better ideas, that’s great! The more you experiment and tinker with your photography gear, the better photographer you become.
Don’t forget to look for interesting textures, colors, and shapes that catch your eye. If you find it fascinating, chances are your viewer will too. Whatever subject you choose, we hope you have fun capturing it. Happy clicking!