Seven Great Macro Photography Ideas to Shoot at Home

Seven Great Macro Photography Ideas to Shoot at Home

Getting started in macro photography isn’t too daunting. And once you've acquired the basic equipment, you'll always be looking for tiny subjects to experiment with — let us show you a few for inspiration.

Take a look at several creative examples of macro photography via an article by COOPH. Each image comes from an everyday household object that you might not otherwise think to photograph. When photographed with the right light interaction, these objects seem transported to a new visual world.

Let's start with a simple but effective tool that we can make out of household objects: a DIY macro flash. Made from just a just a Pringles can, knife, duct tape, and marker, this modifier can be attached to your flash to achieve vivid, artistic imagery. The purpose of the flash modifier is to direct the light downward, isolating the small area just in front of the lens in which the lens is able to focus.

a photo showing parts for a DIY macro flash diffuser

Items you'll need for the diffuser: duct tape, a speedlight flash, marker, knife and chip can.

a screenshot showing how to fit a flash into a DIY macro flash tube

Inserting the flash into the canister. Make sure to make a cut that fits your flash well.

Since macro lenses are built for close-range focus, this modification allows you to point direct on-camera flash closer than possible without a macro lens. You'll need to experiment with flash's settings, but chances are your flash power will be relatively low due to the harsh light a speedlight often produces when extremely close to the subject.

behind the scenes diptych of a photographer capturing macro ice crystals in a freezer

Behind the scenes (left) and the finals result (right), ice crystals in a freezer.

behind the scenes diptych of a photographer capturing macro ice crystals in a freezer

Behind the scenes (left) of a unique macro approach to a simple small object.

a macro photo showing a rainbow reflection on a surface close-up

With the right magnification and lighting, an ordinary surface can take on a whole new life of its own.

an abstract macro photo of brown bubbles

The depth of tones within this foamy cluster of bubbles made for a dramatic abstract image.

a low key macro image of a buble

Bubbles can be an endless source of macro inspiration. Try out different lighting techniques for a variety of results

Have you discovered any unlikely household objects that made for great macro subjects? Share them in the comments section below.

Images provided by COOPH.

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15 Comments

I guess the good thing about using a pringle can is that the lid is a a good diffuser? Probably need a few layers of masking tape to spread the light a little more.

Kevin McLin's picture

The good thing about using a Pringle's can is that you get to eat the Pringles... ;-)

Unfortunately, the Pringles we get here in Australia now are all made in Malaysia and they taste like crap. I haven't eaten Pringles for years because of it.

I guess I could import some or maybe find an American Foods store or something.

Fruit juice cartons with inner foil liner work well too. A bit of translucent plastic can be duct taped on as a diffusor ( hint - Gorilla Tape works better than cheaper tape ).

Scott Mason's picture

The Pringles cap likely makes a great diffuser -- it's translucent plastic which most diffuser caps are anyway.

In my experience, you need to add some masking tape to properly diffuse light.

Scott Mason's picture

Can you please elaborate on that step, Guy? Add tape to the diffusion plane itself, and in what fashion?

Simply cover the cap with a layer or two of masking tape. The cheaper, thinner variety, not the good expensive stuff which is often opaque. I think the cover without any tape would be too translucent and let too much light pass through it to be an effective diffuser.

I use old plastic milk bottles to make diffusers for my twin head flash but I need to layer about 3 or 4 cut outs of the plastic until it becomes an effective diffuser. I would gamble the same might be true for a Pringle cap.

Marcro Polo!

Eric Ventress's picture

"Seven Great Marcro Photography Ideas to Shoot at Home"

Eagerly awaiting the "Seven Great Polo Photography Ideas" article. ;)

Scott Mason's picture

Whoops! Fixed ;)

David Cannon's picture

I would like to go ahead and proclaim myself to be the world’s foremost marcro photographer! Self-taught, no lessons!

Scott Mason's picture

Good one, David!

Where can I get me one of them marcro lens?

Scott Mason's picture

Heheh, you all got me. But just in case anyone is legitimately curious: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/macro-lens