I love turning an ordinary object into an abstract work of art and my favorite technique is macro photography. According to the Wiki :
Macro photography is close-up photography. The classical definition is that the image projected on the “film plane” (i.e., film or a digital sensor) is close to the same size as the subject. Lenses designed for macro are usually at their sharpest at macro focus distances and are not quite as sharp at other focus distances.
In recent years, the term macro has been used in marketing material to mean being able to focus on a subject close enough so that when a regular 6×4 inch (15×10 cm) print is made, the image is life-size or larger. With 35mm film this requires a magnification ratio of only approximately 1:4, which demands a lower lens quality than 1:1. With digital cameras the actual image size is rarely stated, so that the magnification ratio is largely irrelevant; cameras instead advertise their closest focusing distance.
Blah, blah, blah, right? I like the definition that states the image would be life-sized or larger and that’s normally how I execute my macro photos.
With my iPhone 4 I’ve taken some really nice close-up shots without any extra lenses. Here are a few examples:
When I want to get wickedly, uncomfortably, we’d-better-be-really-good-friends kind of close, I use a magnification loupe. You remember those, don’t you? Once upon a time when we didn’t have digital cameras we used loupes to view our negatives on light boards. Here’s a little portrait of mine
It’s a little plastic thing that has 8X magnification power and is one of the coolest macro tools I have. Simply place the loupe over the object you want to magnify and move the phone in and out to achieve the correct focus. It’s fun to play around with the area of focus when you’re trying to take a shot of a flower or other object that is very dimensional. By moving the loupe around the subject you can create bokeh within the macro shot.
The one thing you do need is a lot of light, just as you do when using a macro or magnification lens on an SLR. You can see from the picture of my loupe that the edges and corners throw a lot of shadows around. This is another thing to beware of. It takes some practice and patience to get all the angles right so that there are no shadows or tell-tale vignetting but it’s well worth the results. Here are a few of my favorites.