Macro Photography Tips for Point and Shoot Digital Cameras

Macro Photography Tips for Point and Shoot Digital Cameras



Much has been written on the topic of Macro photography for those photographers fortunate enough to own a DSLR with macro lenses – but what about if you own a compact point and shoot camera? Can you get great macro shots too?

While the results achievable with a point and shoot camera in macro mode probably won’t compare with a DSLR with a purpose built macro lens I’ve still seen some remarkably good shots with compact cameras (all three shots in this post were taken with compact cameras). Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of yours:

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Select Macro Mode – this is a fairly obvious first step but I’m always surprised by how many digital camera owners haven’t explored the shooting modes that their camera has. Macro mode is generally symbolized with a little flower and when selected it will tell your camera that you want to focus on a subject closer to your lens than normal (the minimum distance allowed will vary from camera to camera – consult your instruction manual to find yours). Macro mode will also usually tell your camera to choose a large aperture so that your subject is in focus but the background is not.

Use a Tripod – in macro photography a tripod can be particularly useful, even if you’re just shooting with a compact camera. Keeping your camera still not only improves your shots (getting rid of camera shake) but it allows you to play around with different settings without losing your composition.


Aperture – once in macro mode some cameras will not allow you to make many other adjustments but if you are able to play with your aperture settings it can be well worthwhile to do so. As we’ve covered in our Aperture tutorials, the main thing that aperture impacts is the depth of field of your shots. Choose a small aperture (big number) if you want a large depth of field with everything in focus or a large aperture if you just want your main subject in focus. In macro photography you’ll probably want a shallow depth of field so select the largest aperture available.

Focusing – I find that in macro photography it is helpful to have full control over focusing – especially when you have shallow depth of fields where it is all the more important to make sure the right part of your shot is in focus. If your camera allows manual focusing select this option and manually focus on the part of our subject that is the main point of interest.

Composition – remember some of the basic rules of composition like the Rule of Thirds. Make sure your image has a main point of interest and place that focal point in a smart position in your image in order to draw the eye of your viewer. Try to select a non cluttered or simple background for your main subject so as it doesn’t compete with it visually.


Flash – in many macro shots having some artificial light is important. The challenge with compact cameras is that most give you limited control of your flash. As a result choosing a good time of day when there is plenty of available light is probably your best bet. If you do need more light check to see if your camera allows you to pull back the level that your flash fires at. Alternatively you might like to try diffusing it in some way (tissue paper or cellotape over the flash for example). Another option might be to use some other source of artificial light or to invest in a reflector to help make the most of available light. Experiment with different methods of lighting your subject.

Take Your Shot – once you have your shot lined up and in focus take your shot. Make sure once you’ve taken it to take a good look at it on your LCD, zooming in to make sure that your focusing is sharp. Try shooting at slightly different apertures, with different compositions and focusing on different points of your subject to see what works best.

Macro Lens Attachments – some compact cameras actually have accessories available to help with macro/close up photography. These will enable you to enlarge your subject and/or decrease your minimum focal length. These might be worth investing in if you intend on doing a lot of macro work.

Self Timer – (this point was added as a result of comments below – thanks team!) when using my DSLR for Macro work I tend to use a shutter cable release and tripod to make sure my shots are completely still (to eliminate the small amount of camera shake from pressing the shutter). Most compact cameras don’t have cable releases but a simple way around this is to use your camera’s self timer on it’s shortest time setting which will similarly mean you have no movement of your camera when taking your shot (if you’re taking notice of the ‘use a tripod’ tip above).

PS: I’ve used the term ‘macro photography fairly loosely here. Technically ‘macro photography’ is actually when you produce an image where your subject is captured on your image sensor at life size (or bigger) with a 1:1 ratio.

In the case of most (all?) compact cameras this is not achieved and in fact ‘close up’ photography would be a better description. However as most manufacturers call their close up mode ‘macro mode’ I’ve used the term for the purposes of this article.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • David June 22, 2013 12:01 am

    Would macro be suitable for jewelry photography. We're looking for something a bit different to try and make our ranges stand out more? Any advise?

  • Ria Karrels June 3, 2013 05:40 pm

    Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about Macro Photography Tips for Point and Shoot Digital Cameras .

  • Gaurav October 21, 2012 06:53 pm

    I came across this while looking for tips. I loved everything, although I knew them already!
    I didn't like your last line where you said that it's not possible to take life-sized or bigger photographs.
    I maybe wrong, but please check my Album here and see if I have succeeded -

    Check the latest shots as this album is a collection of everything I shot while experimenting and learning.
    I'm using the Canon PowerShot A420, which was released in 2006. It does great macro shots. Let me know what you think :)

  • ianairbus May 11, 2012 06:00 pm

    great tips.

    I am a beginner to the digital side of photography, and one thing I wish to relate, which is most important to the person wanting to take either P+S or DSLR shots is "time," You do not do this in a rush.
    I have needed 20 to 30 minutes to set up a shot of flowers for example. Which is NOT P+S normally.
    Patience, patience, patience.

  • Chuck April 9, 2012 12:58 pm

    I've been doing some macro stuff for a couple of weeks. Modified my phone(Droid 2), and was able to take these shots.

    Here are the originals and a video, too!

  • knfruitbat March 16, 2012 04:32 am

    Can anyone recommend a good book or dvd for close-up & macro photography for beginners with a fuji bridge camera.

  • Steve Burbank January 8, 2012 11:14 am

    I now have a Canon sx130 camera. I made my own lens adapter using 2" sewer fittings (black) from Lowes. I used a coupler, female adapter, and a male adapter. I cut off the handle part of a magnifying lens and secured the magnifier in the female adapter. The coupler snugly fits the camera with a little cloth or other material.

    This camera takes excellent photos. I have taken a few of snowflakes, some of houseflies, and other miscellaneous photos. I plan to take many macro shots. As of right now I mainly leave the camera in auto mode and can then zoom and move the camera closer or farther away to get in focus. I also can screw the magnifying lens off for normal (non-macro) shots.

    Macrophotography is a blast. I plan to try water (and milk) droplets sometime.

  • Chris December 5, 2011 01:29 pm

    On using self timer, I would advise against using the shortest amount as you suggested. Using the longest setting, typically 10 seconds, would allow any minute vibration to dissipate before the shutter is tripped.

  • Mark - Cornwall Wedding Photography December 4, 2011 02:30 am

    Very cool, I'm just considering doing some macro stuff to get me away from weddings and trying to choose between a dedicated macro lens for my dSLR or putting some macro filters on my Canon SX1. I don't want to blow loads of money initially as I might decide macro isn't my thing. Thoughts???

  • Steve Burbank November 30, 2011 12:28 pm

    Thank you very much for the article. It is amazing what one can accomplish with an inexpensive digital camera.

    For two winters I have been taking snowflake photos with my Nikon coolpix. I knew I was taking a chance on ruining the camera due to taking photos in my unheated garage here in Western Pennsylvania. But I came up with hundreds of snowflake photographs. It has been an enjoyable hobby. It is amazing how many snowflake designs one can find.

    I must caution readers by saying my Coolpix has stopped taking good photos. It may be due to the cold or merely due to its age. At any rate, I hope to get a new camera. I am strongly considering the Canon SX130. I choose this camera due to good ratings, manual focus, and low price. I hope to do other microphotography (insects, etc.) with this camera in addition to snowflakes. I plan to come up with a way of keeping the camera warm.

  • abell November 30, 2011 11:10 am

    oh man, that's great article. Unfortunately, my camera has broken and now there are in service camera. I have good camera and I will shoot more and more object like macro, bw, bokeh and candid.

  • Rancez November 27, 2011 10:30 am

    Does it work good with a nikon l 105?? How would do it with this specific camera?

  • Samantha October 19, 2011 02:27 am

    Hey, thanks for the great article. I have always loved macro photography but thought I couldn't attempt it with my Pentax K100 D Super. Photography is just a hobby but I'm trying to improve my skills... I'm now motivated to attempt macro photography for my Project 365!

  • Amine October 11, 2011 10:39 am

    Hi !!! I do oral surgery and i need to photgraph it and i need Macro; i have a question ; Is The Camera called Bridge like Canon SX40HS Or Canon G12 good for that ?? or their résult are bad !!
    Thank you helper :)

  • Bel New October 7, 2011 11:33 pm


    I am about to buy a camera specifically for Macro, to get shots of my jewellery for the my website.
    I've done OK with the camera I have, but i really would like to achieve sharp close ups, with an out of focus back ground.
    Several people have recommended the Cannon Ixus to me, but I can't seem to work out which one would be the best as 95% of the shots will be Macro.
    Or is it better to get a camera with a detachable Macro Lens?
    Any advice would be wonderful.

  • ssamiamss October 3, 2011 12:55 am

    I owned an olympus sp 800 uz and it had super macro on you do not need some fancy high priced camera to take awesome macro's..I've never used a tripod with it, the point being you need to be close up and can achieve better angles from free handing..its dishearting to hear you need all these lens and money when all you need to do is a little research first..

  • photogrl2020 October 2, 2011 02:21 pm

    I use my Panasonic Lumix ZS7 in Macro Zoom mode ALL the time! It's my favorite. I love it!!

  • laurenc savary September 25, 2011 11:17 pm

    I am trying to do macro photography with a nikon P7000 and need advice.
    Are there settings or additional equipments to assist photographing details 0-5mm? How do you focus to small details correctly at first shot to avoid post cropping images which looses quality.
    Many thanks,

  • Amelia Reyes September 6, 2011 08:14 am

    I learn your tips for Macro photography. I enjoy it very much. I will try some shots. w/ my DSC-H1. comprendo.

  • Dublin August 24, 2011 10:04 pm

    great tips, it's only a few months ago that i bought my first digital camera, previously only using my phone camera, and it's a pretty steep learning curve! thanks fro this, dying to go home a try this out!

  • firdaus July 24, 2011 04:50 pm

    checkout my micro photography :)

  • John July 3, 2011 03:17 am

    Nice Photographs. Please check the below link for more examples:

  • VICENTE CARDONE June 18, 2011 07:46 am

    Well, I am not an expert on macrophotography, but I would like to share my modest aknoweledge. First of all my camera is a Canon SX20 IS, with macro and super macro capability, however I did find that the best way for work with this camera is to choice 2X teleconverter, so you will work with a 56 MM focal equivalent, and then turn on the standard macro mode; so you fill the viewfinder horizontally with a 24 MM wide ruler picture. I do not know what magnification ratio is this. Distance between front of camera lens to the ruler is some 1 centimeter I guess. Best way for illumination is with a couple of flashes, the first one on camera hot shoe faced to a white card and the second one (an slave unit) faced to another card on the opposite side. Camera mode working in Av, diaphragm open to f 8 for great dephth of field since my pictures are equipment serial numbers. I hope to help some one. Vicente.

  • shadman May 23, 2011 10:12 pm

    yeah that was nice of you...................let me add up some more.if you wanna get images with black background just use flash mode at some diffused sunlight time(evening) in macro will give awesome result .try it.

  • iamjoross May 20, 2011 06:18 pm

    is its possible for Sony Cyber-shot T9??

  • Arafat May 4, 2011 09:01 pm

    Hey guyzzz i use a fujifilm s2500hd. but the problem is i cant get a clear focus where ever i want. I tried my best take a photo of the eye of a fly but cant focus on it so i cant get the texture of its eye. please help me out i have a competion to attempt.

  • auto worldwide April 29, 2011 09:08 pm

    I was just surfing internet and I came across this amazing page. The content is very helpful. Thank you for uploading such wonderful blog .It really helped can also give more information about this subject.

  • Jake April 22, 2011 04:23 am

    Really great article! Awesome feedback. I had no idea about the macro button until now! What an incredible tool. And using a shutter cable has really helped me with my photography.

  • Don Reichert April 7, 2011 01:49 am

    I have a question about lenes. Does anyone know of a len with a EOS mount that you can get 2:1 (2X) macro. I know Canon has their MP-E 65mm 1-5X, but the 5:1 is a little overkill, and the lens in only a macro. Was looking for something that could alos be used as a standard lens, but have 2X macro WITHOUT tubes or teleconvertors. Any help would be great.

  • Bob April 6, 2011 08:54 am

    As soon as a popup window comes up, I immediately blacklist your site.

  • Tom Aurelio March 24, 2011 02:03 pm

    Nice article - great feedback! I am looking for the best P&S from macro photography using Raynox lens attachments. I take photos of 1-2mm objects.


  • Point and Shoot Cameras March 3, 2011 01:22 pm

    yeah. I don't know there is a macro button too. Let me try it now. For melanie : "I am really loving this article and the comments!! I would love if someone could suggest a good point and shoot camera for macro work. I am new to photography and am asking for a camera for christmas. I am looking for under $300. Look forward to the replies!"

    I think a nikon coolpix S series is suitable for you.

  • Ernestine February 23, 2011 01:53 am


    Thank you so much for this information, i was one of those who did not even know about the macro button.

    Thanks again

  • Vanessa January 27, 2011 02:02 pm

    Nice tips! I'll sure try to take some photos with my not so crappy point and shoot camera!

  • skankosis January 2, 2011 01:44 pm

    That's a great tip about using a shutter cable!!! However, I found that using a shutter cable will sometimes not be enough, even the very slight movement of the shutter will still shake the camera esp. when mounted on a large tripod on soft ground,(mud or dirt outside, shag carpet etc) . If your camera is able, try locking the shutter open, and THEN use the timer. This way the shutter will ALWAYS be open and when the "button" is pushed to get the shot the combination of open shutter AND timer will insure the sharpest photo possible.

  • Christina January 1, 2011 12:14 am

    Great article and follow-up letters. I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 and use the macro a lot. But here is one stubborn thing that drives me nuts and I don't know what I am doing wrong. To wit: sometimes in macro mode no matter what I do the camera will NOT focus on the subject, say, a spider, but the dirt or leaves or whatever around and just behind the spider will be sharp as a tack. I can see the autofocus slipping back and forth and it will "catch" the subject in sharp focus but won't stay there. It does this even if I set the autofocus so that it is narrowed to a pinpoint center screen. I can't seem to get manual control over it in either macro setting (AF or Zoom). And even if I pull back and zoom in.

    The manual doesn't help. When I do manage to get it to focus on the sweet spot, the shots are great! Any advice appreciated...thank you.

  • Christian Varela December 17, 2010 07:15 am

    I discovered a "new" way to do "macros". And it's this:

    -With your digital camera put the zoom at the maximum my camera has 3x by zoom and up to 12x by simulated zoom),
    -then target your objective and focus it. You are going to need a clean shot, so you must be very careful or put your camera in a tripod.
    -Take the picture and you will see the results.

    PS: If you use flash your results may vary a lot.

    If you want you can email me and I can send you pictures as examples, of bugs, seeds, etc. (

  • Melanie November 22, 2010 09:21 am

    I am really loving this article and the comments!! I would love if someone could suggest a good point and shoot camera for macro work. I am new to photography and am asking for a camera for christmas. I am looking for under $300. Look forward to the replies!

  • Top Rated Cameras November 13, 2010 03:49 pm

    This is such a very helpful and informative post specially for newbies like me. I just bought a new camera and I'm on the process of learning some basic shots particularly with different light settings, manual settings, rule of thirds as well as macro shots and other techniques that I can try out. :) I learned a lot from your post and I hope you post some more techniques on photography! :D

  • Jewellers November 10, 2010 06:24 am

    Many thanks for the advice. I think using the tripod and timer is key along with turning off the flash. I take a lot of images of diamond rings and am able to use a lightbox and tripod. It is difficult to avoid the reflection of the ring metal but a compact camera can give great results.

  • Shie November 4, 2010 10:04 pm

    Thanks Erica!
    Hope it works for my P100 ;p

  • Erica Siegel November 3, 2010 11:09 am

    For Macro shots
    Just set camera to Aperture priority and Macro mode.
    Camera will choose the correct Exposure ( shutter speed)
    Choose an aperture from F/2.8 to F/5.6 ( large aperture+ small F/stop number) this will give a nicely blurred background.
    Low light needs larger Aperture (small F/stop number), bright light smaller aperture (larger F/stop number)
    Focusing is difficult and needs practice as you only have a few mm in which to focus, so move camera backwards and forwards until you can focus.
    Use Auto focus to start with then try manual focus later.
    Go for it.

  • Erica Siegel November 2, 2010 08:08 am

    Set the camera to aperture priority, the camera will set the exposure so you only need to set the aperture.
    For macros I use F/3.2 to F/ 5.6 depending on how much light there is, this gives a nicely blurred background (bokeh).
    F/3.2 is the the largest aperture on the Panasonic FZ18 but if you can go to F/2.8 it will be better in low light conditions.
    The Depth of Field gets narrower the larger ( smaller f /stops) the Aperture so you will need to practice focusing it takes only mm to miss focus !
    I need to get within about 10cm of the subject to focus with the Panny, so you have to learn to stalk your subjects very quietly if you are going for insects or they'll be off !!
    Practice on stationary subject, small fungi etc
    Have fun![eimg link='' title='Honey Bee feeding on brassica' url='']

  • Shie October 31, 2010 09:26 pm

    Great article! I have a Nikon P100 and gets frustrated coz I can't figure out how to set the aperture correctly, it has apperture and shuttermode but I still get the same results even if I adjust the aperture or zoom it all out.
    Any help would be appreciated!

  • Erica Siegel October 31, 2010 02:19 pm

    I still use my old Panasonic FZ18 to which I attach a Raynox 250 ( cheap) with a pemaraal adaptor.
    I get good enough results with that very basic gear to get Acceptances and HMs in International Competitions.
    It is the photographer not the fancy gear that matter.
    Get to know all about your camera and how to use it. Most people forget to read the manual.
    Then practice, practice..........
    good luck,it is heaps of fun,if a little frustrating at times!

  • Maggie October 31, 2010 01:29 am

    Hi thanks for your post, you provided some helpful tips. I'm actually wanting to get a digital camera that works well for close ups. Do you have any recommendations?

  • Erica Siegel October 29, 2010 05:19 pm

    I do lots of insect macro work for which a tripod is not suitable as insects to not sit still for long enough.
    A camera with Image Stabilization,a steady hand and Hold Your Breath when pressing the shutter button works well for me.

  • John R.Sauers October 28, 2010 03:28 pm

    I have a Kodak Easy Share Z712 IS Camera. I have done a lot of experimenting with the various settings and follow the suggestions you have made here. If you want "shake free" Pic's it is essential one use a tripod and you will have sharp and well focused Photos. It takes a little bit more time but it is well worth it. On my length of time setting for my delayed shutter release I have a rapid shutter release mode that takes three different apperature settings and this also increases the the likelihood of getting a good shot. Lastly take lots of pics. One can always delete shots, but one can not always retake pics at a different time. Once taken it is preserved and when not taken the subject is lost forever.

  • Erica Siegel October 27, 2010 08:56 am

    taken with Panasonic FZ18 and Raynox 250 attacted

    [eimg link='' title='Robberfly' url='']

  • Laurie October 25, 2010 04:48 am

    Lucien -- With my camera, (Panasonic DMC-ZS7) I have to be zoomed all the way OUT and move physically close to the subject to get a clear macro. Seems counter-intuitive, but I guess they don't make that 1cm macro distance for nothing! On Macro-zoom, I can be farther away, but am never happy with the results.

  • Sandy October 23, 2010 02:47 pm

    Good article. Concise ant to the point. Loved the self-timer bit. Sometimes I am out and about and only have my little Lumix, having left the DSLRs at home because I hadn't planned on taking any photos while I was out. Ha! This might save the day.

  • Lucien Robinson October 23, 2010 12:57 pm

    Great posts and got good tips. My camera is a cool pix Nikon 550 with a macro setting but each time I zoom in on the subject it becomws very hazy from lighting. I rarely get a clear shot. My subject is mainly coin photography and I am just abeginner.

  • Christine October 23, 2010 07:11 am

    My first digital camera was a used Olympus 3.2 Mega pixel. I have shot thousands of macros on that camera and have become somewhat of a bee expert.

    I have shot a lot of mushrooms and a lot of other things. I now h ave a fuji fine pix point and shoot and I still do a lot of macro photography. Go to my flickr site:
    The DSLR is to expensive and so are the lenses. I do with what I have and it has served me well.

  • Mary McGrath October 23, 2010 05:53 am

    Great info-I do alot of food photography for my dining reviews, and often take my Panasonic Lumix.
    I'll have to look for my aperature settings to see if I can adjust. Don't have time for tripods, etc. as I'm writing, interviewing etc., but maybe I'll try one of those small gizmos one of these days...

  • Richard White October 22, 2010 09:03 pm

    A great article and I use many of these tips but using a bridge camera Panasonic dmc -FZ38.
    When taking indoor macros I often use a small brown glass medicine bottle filled with damp sand to hold flowers or leaves.
    A shallow box about a3 size in the back of which I can place a sheet of coloured card makes a great background easily replaced in photoshop or similar.
    [eimg link='' title='4' url='']

  • Yusef Mazhar October 22, 2010 03:42 pm

    Even though,I have been phoyographing for 40 years,I find something novel in all your articles Bravo
    Dr Yusef Mazhar

  • Justinnen October 22, 2010 12:47 pm


    Hard to believe that those are from normal P & S Camera.
    Especially the third pic, the flower is miond blowing.

    And the replies over here is also superb, I liked the Vatsal's pic the most.

    Great work guys..

    'thesoftCollission' - can you pls tell me how u did that photoshop work, to make the droplets alone in color and the rest in b&w.
    Please mail me at


  • Erica Siegel October 22, 2010 08:09 am

    I do lots of macro work and use a Panasonic FZ18 with a pemaraal adapter attached then add a Raynox 250.

    I hope I can post this example of a shot I posted on flickr. ( ozwildbird ) not very savvy in these sort of things

  • Patty Frank October 22, 2010 07:46 am

    Great articles! Is there anyway to print these articles without copying and pasting the entire page? I would like to keep some of the topics in a notebook for reference, but don't want to print all the ads. I went to the add-on page and it had a button for printer-friendly but it didn't work. Can a button be put up top on each article, by the other common link buttons?

  • Laura Hughes October 22, 2010 05:36 am

    I try and use the macro setting often on my Olympus 790 SW. I love this point and shoot... and... it take pics pics up to 10 feet underwater! Does the macro setting work under water?? Haven't tried it yet. Jamaica in November will give me an opportunity to try it. Thanks for the great tips...

  • Ani October 22, 2010 04:11 am

    A very interesting article, thanks! I'd also suggest the point-and-shoot users to use diffusers for the flash. Flashes in p-n-s are not as good as SLRs, they are usually too bright for close-up photos. For this, I have built a home-made flash diffuser. You can either use a wrapping paper or anything else you like, on top of a small polystyrene cup. Cut an opening on the closed end so that you can fix it on your flash, and line the insides of the cup with a reflective surface such as aluminium foil. It helps a lot, especially photographing shiny subjects such as beetles!

  • Henrik October 14, 2010 07:25 am

    Thanks for the advice.

    The Canon S90 makes beautiful macros, and you don't neccessarily need a tripod. But you definately need to switch to manual focusing! This example is shot at ISO 200, 1/320, f/2.0:

    [eimg link='' title='Grasshopper visiting' url='']

  • lynntofu October 13, 2010 03:58 pm

    My Sony Cybershot takes great macro shots, if I don't say so myself. I've gotten compliments from others too. Thanks for this article. I don't use a tripod.

  • Harish October 13, 2010 01:02 pm

    Here's the link for what I do for macro shots.....look its useful...

  • Karen Stuebing October 13, 2010 05:53 am

    These are definitely great tips as usual from Darren. I don't agree that you have to use a tripod though.

    And it is one of the reasons I still love my 5mp Olympus C5050Z. I hardly ever bother to put the macro lens on my DSLR.

    I can shoot in RAW. It has a mode called Super Macro Manual Focus in which you use a button to actually focus the lens where you want it. The lens itself is very fast - f2.0. And when you have to use flash, like on those bobbing spring flowers, you can control the intensity of the on board flash.

    Here is a recent photo taken in supermacro mode using manual focus and natural light and hand held at 1/10.

    One thing I learned about point and shoot macro mode is when you can't get it to focus properly, move the camera farther away until the focus locks. There are limitations on how close you can get to the subject to focus.

    Zooming in also works. Unfortunately on my Oly, it's not available in super macro mode but you can get really close with the lens.

  • Doug Atkinson October 13, 2010 05:37 am

    @Marcos. I've got a small tripod that threads into the bottom of my point and shoot camera. For the purposes of photographing old photos, I would think something that would place the camera about 3" away would be ideal...maybe about the size of a dictionary or phone book? That should allow you to place the old photo on the floor, flush with a dictionary. The tripod would allow you to maintain a steady hold on the camera, and a 2" delay would correct for any shake from pressing the button...just a thought...

  • Rose September 22, 2010 08:37 am

    Hi...I recently bought a Nikon Coolpix L110. I am enjoying this camera a lot..I am very new to this type of camera and what it can do. My interest is taking close-ups...people and things out in nature. I found the macro on my camera and just starting to get the hang of it. I read some point and shoots have lens that can be used. Are their any out there for this type of camera. Any ideas or suggestions would be great. Thank You

  • Animesh September 13, 2010 04:19 am

    Can i use Raynox macro adaptor for Nikon P100 P&S camera???


  • kathiey August 10, 2010 09:57 pm

    Thanks so much for the info on macro shots. I am a beginner in the photography world. I have a coolpix L100. It does have a macro setting. I can get some good shots but do get frustrated at times because I want it to listen to me as far as focus and flash but it seems to take over. I have pulled out my manual, since I joined a photography club, in hopes of using this camera to its greatest potential. We have a macro challenge this month in the club so I am learning & your post has helped.
    [eimg url='' title='photo-of-week-from-my-camerathe-garden.html']

  • Jack B July 12, 2010 12:57 pm

    Some really cool shots here. Surprised a point and shoot can do so well. Some DSLR macro tips here:

    [eimg link='' title='Bee' url='']

  • theSoftCollision June 2, 2010 07:24 pm

    @ramon For selectively making things in colour, look up a Partial Color tutorial in Photoshop. It is also possible with other programs like Lightroom or PhotoImpact. Keep the photo in colour and paint on a mask or desaturated layer of -100 saturation. Or make a black and white mask in photoshop and erase the parts you want to stay in colour. If you don't have masks, crop a lasso type selection around the object, invert the section and make that black and white.


    I took this photo with a Sony H20 and of course I cropped it to look like a true macro..

    The minimum focusing distance is probably around a centimeter. The camera can up to 10x zoom, but after going past 1.7x you have to move much furher away from the subject to get it focus. I used 1.4x zoom on this one.

  • googler May 20, 2010 05:55 am

    best for macro is Nokia Nst-4

  • ramon May 1, 2010 08:56 am

    thanks for this tutorial. I have a question about how to add color to only a portion of a b/w photo. for example a b/w photograph of a dozen roses with only one rose colored red. is this done with the camera somehow or using a photoshop type program.
    thank you in advance.


  • Christine March 29, 2010 09:20 am

    I bought an old Olympus 3.6 Mega Pixel camera three and a half years ago on Ebay. It has only a 3 x zoom on that thing, so I have used my camera on the macro setting a lot, and have done great things with it. My favorite photo is one of a life time, when I photographed a slug eating a blade of grass. Text book organizations are having a field day with that photo. This is an old point and shoot. I have deleted a lot of photos in the early years, but time has made me comfortable with that setting. It only takes practice.

  • Dana March 25, 2010 01:37 am

    Thank you for the helpful hints! Lately I have been really into baking and these tips will help me take much better shots of my creations (at least until I can afford a better camera!)

    Do you have any recommendations for an inexpensive (less the $500) camera that takes great macro shots?

    Thanks again!

  • Md. Shahriar Hossain March 17, 2010 05:52 am

    I use Sony HX1. Take a close look at the object, focus it rightly on the part which u want to show ur viewers...

    check my work

  • Sarina February 28, 2010 07:42 am

    I am so happy to have found this article - the timing is great and so are your tips!

    I've always wanted to shoot macro shots and I'm ready to finally purchased my first camera. I've been using a Sony cyber shot 6 megapixel (dsc-s600) for a while which has no macro and I seem unable to change the ISO settings off automatic. I can get a pretty good shot up to 6 " , closer than that and it's very blurry. Your tip for using a tissue in front of the flash is excellent.

    Right now I'm torn as to whether I should continue using my Sony and trying to make do or whether I should invest in the canon sure shot Sx2001S which has a super macro feature as well as 12xoptical zoom. I have it to try for a couple of days, but I can't get a super macro shot unless it's in manual mode. However even with your tips above pictures look less saturated and either over or under exposed.

    Not sure if it's the camera or my total inexperience, but I'd love some feedback or tips for my novice macro shooting,
    thanks !

  • 7777 February 27, 2010 09:35 pm

    whaz your opinion about olympus 800 ultra zoom camera,14 mp ,26 optical zoom?or sp 590 uz with 26x,12mp?????

  • Troy January 17, 2010 06:11 am

    Thank you for the tips. Very helpful for a beginner like me.

  • Jon December 31, 2009 06:50 pm

    I really liked these tips. I can't wait to give them a try. Unfortunately I'm one of those individuals w/o a DSLR (yet!) so any tips like this are greatly appreciated for how to improve my photo capabilities.

    Can't wait to read on!

  • Matt Pulliam December 25, 2009 09:59 am

    I wanted to share a video I made for the NikonFestival. I made it almost entirely with the D90 and there is a macro sequence. I talk about the lenses I used on the link.

  • vatsal December 20, 2009 08:43 am

    i like the tutorial..
    here is my macro i took recently with my sony H-50
    [eimg link='' title='DSC05457' url='']

  • theSoftCollision December 4, 2009 06:04 pm

    Good article.
    I have had surprisingly good shots from the cheapest digital camera I could find. Here is one.

  • Arzell December 3, 2009 07:26 pm

    You can also improvise a macro lens by positioning a pocket sized magnifying glass in front of your lens. Thats what I did when I took this photo, some years back, with my point-and-shoot:

  • cheryl November 13, 2009 05:40 pm

    i was about to throw my sony cyber shot in the trash until i found your website and the MACRO mode !!! thank you so much as i was finding it increasingly annoying to not be able to take close up pictures ... i am trying to get pictures of my fish spawning and everything was blurry blurry blurry ... i pressed that little flower icon and my shots are fabulous ... it even picked up snail eggs which are super tiny ... thank you again for this great article :o)

  • Laurie November 13, 2009 01:10 am

    I've spent the summer with my Panasonic DMC-TZ5 mostly set on Macro. I discovered 'Spot Focus' and 'Spot Metering', which have made a world of difference.

  • Matt October 28, 2009 11:49 am

    I got a Canon SX200 IS and it's pretty good for macros. It has a macro and 'super macro' mode.
    Most P&S compacts can do good macros. Just take a look at flickr.
    Does a DSLR with a macro lens really do much better? Is it worth the cost?
    Think about it. For a DSLR setup you pay maybe several times the cost of your compact. That's a huge amount of money.
    Quite a few people on forums seem to think P&S are close to DSLR for macros.

  • Dennis October 25, 2009 07:25 pm


    Can this Macro feature can be used on digital cameras that don't have macro lens, like SAMSUNG ST1000. Because i can't focus the object with my camera. Any tips? Reply

  • Andrew October 7, 2009 01:45 pm


    The macro function is so under reported in most digital compact reviews it's not funny. I use this feature a lot for photographing natural history specimens, such as fossils, in the field and have found that most Ricoh compacts have a very good macro function. I've used a couple of different models and they all seem to have a 1cm macro function. The most recent model I've tried is the R8 and I got some very nice results by simply turning to macro mode, pointing and shooting. I'm sure if I played around with settings and used a tripod the results would be even nicer and since it's a superseded model you can pick them up for a pretty good price.

  • chinks September 2, 2009 12:26 pm

    Hi there ,

    Thank you for the wonderful tips . I've been trying to take macro pictures weeks ago ,however no matter how hard i try it didn't work . Is there any specific time of the day in taking the right one? I have already set my cam to macro but still.

  • mpr July 22, 2009 07:25 pm

    Which current digital compact cameras, in macro mode, allow manual focussing, and will retain the setting? My old Nikon CoolPix 885 would let me focus at 3cm, and retain the setting when the CoolPix was switched off and on, but it has just packed up. Nikon say none of their current models support this feature, but I was in a local camera shop, and we looked at the manual for a Nikon compact, and after 20 minutes had it focussing at 3 cm, and saving the setting. But that compact is a larger heavier model than the 885, and I carry the camera for day-long hikes. Your suggestions of small lightweight compacts supporting this feature would be most appreciated.

  • Sydney Photographer May 6, 2009 10:30 pm

    These are terrific tips - The information really is terrific.

    It is funny how the Macro function is the one that is most overlooked.

  • Allen March 15, 2009 03:45 am

    Can anyone please tell me if there is a tripod or similar mounting device available that is used specifically with point and shoot digital cameras for macro photography. Please e-mail me at : if you have a source for this equipment.

  • Dene Brock March 13, 2009 04:12 am

    I had never really thought about photographing "up close" like this until I was sent some photos taken by my friend's son in Central Texas. This process is so awesome! What amazed me the most was that the young man that made the pics created his own bounce flash using some cardboard rubber-banded to his flash. He is going to send me some more photos of "bugs" which he says are his favorite subjects. I posted his other pictures at my blog and have gotten a lot of response from my readers. Now I'm hooked and want to learn more.

  • Steve March 9, 2009 12:33 pm

    I invariably use a P and S in preference to a DSLR for close up work always set on a very light tripod. Very mobile and great fun. For paid shoots I go back to the DSLR and proper lens but to be honest that's as much for the exif info as anything.

  • Brad Landry February 28, 2009 08:42 am

    Hi all just thought I would drop in to say hi and to let you know my magnetic lens is still in great condition and I use it every day. Best investment I made in a long time. I can even take picture of a bug's butt. Cheers and God bless All. Regards Brad. Be good. <
    Oh and the J10 is just to good to pass up for the price.

  • mike harris February 28, 2009 01:56 am

    I just found your blog on google. I really liked it and now I will share it with my friends.

  • mutu February 2, 2009 12:20 am

    hi, i am beginner and just recently bought a Sony alpha 300 with 2 lenses 3.5-5.6/18-70mm and 4-5.6/55-200mm. How do i know if my lenses are macro? thanks.

  • Deepak January 6, 2009 08:59 pm

    Hi Gina
    Try a smaller F number may be something like 2.8 or may be 4, 4.5 but not anything more than that. U will get the background to blur with these F numbers.

  • shail December 12, 2008 05:50 pm

    nice artucle, but nicer pix..
    Do we hav composite lenses switching fast between macro and other lenses? In any model?

  • Gina October 24, 2008 10:27 am

    I cannot seem to get the background to blur and the foreground to remain clear with macro setting and f/8 aperture. Ideas?

  • John Alarcon October 9, 2008 04:21 pm

    Thought I would post one last image -- this is a macro shot of a monarch butterfly, with the image stabilization feature turned on.

  • John Alarcon September 14, 2008 03:38 am

    Hi again everyone -- I did a fireworks shoot last night on my Sanyo VPC-770. In spite of some rain, I got some really good shots -- please check them out -- there's also a video at the end of the slideshow that shows the grand finale. Note that these shots were taken with "Fireworks" mode, which keeps the shutter open for a couple of seconds to catch good streams of light, and they were taken with a tripod. The video was also done on the same camera, but without the tripod.

  • John Alarcon September 10, 2008 09:13 pm

    I have used the Sanyo VPC-770 (apx. $100) to get some very compelling closeups. I don't use a tripod always simply because many times the few minutes of setup allow the subject to escape (in the case of insects & other wildlife, which I love to shoot). Here's a few examples:

    Without tripod: (mating junebugs)

    Without tripod, small box for stability: (fishing spider)

    With tripod: (garter snake)

    I am indeed upgrading to a Nikon D* with various lenses soon, but as a hobby photographer of 3-4 months, the Sanyo has been great to keep me excited about photography by allowing me to get some great shots.

    BTW, all the shots in my Flickr photostream (those links above) are shot on this same Sanyo VPC 770.

  • teresa August 31, 2008 04:09 am

    I need a camera that takes macro photo for coins to list on e-bay. I have never done this before, so I want to start out with something easy to use.

  • Brad May 26, 2008 08:15 am
    with my magnetic lens. Regards Brad.

  • Brad Landry May 26, 2008 07:50 am
    This is one of many pics I took with my little cheap camera and the mag lens I was telling you about.
    Regards Brad.

  • Brad May 22, 2008 11:41 am

    I'm in the USA and they ship all over, it is a internet store. Just do google search and e-mail them and they will take care of you or you can call them, tell them Brad Landry sent you, they will give you a real good dael.
    Take care and God Bless. Regards Brad.
    Oh yea they are in NEW YORK

  • Mark May 22, 2008 10:55 am

    5 Diamonds camera is not a name I recognize. Is it a chain, or a local store? What country are you in?

  • Brad May 22, 2008 12:04 am

    Oh yea I got mine at 5 Diomonds camera, very good service and they make 2 basic lens kits one small and one large most need the small one. Brad.
    There are other places that sell the cheap china junk plastic, The one I got is all metel construction, very nice!!!

  • Brad May 22, 2008 12:00 am

    Great Mark I thought it was the best, when I got mine WOW what a dif.!!! They are real nice. did just what I wanted to do. Good luck and hope you have a great spring & summer. God Bless. Regards Brad.

  • Mark May 21, 2008 08:40 am

    Sorry, I thought there was only one, by your email, but after a Google search, I find there are several, so no need to respond. What a neat idea!!

  • Mark May 21, 2008 08:24 am

    Brad, pls. let us know what this web site is!!! this is exactly what I would want to avoid spending lots more money (I don't have) on a better-quality (DSLR) camera.

  • Brad April 27, 2008 01:45 pm

    I searched all over for ideas on macro untill I came across
    a web site that sold magnetic lens kits for point and shoot
    digital cameras. These are great and they make them for almost any camera. Mine is a Fuji Finepix J10 so I bought a
    .45 wide angle lens that is 2 part, you can unscrew the
    outer lens and use the macro lens. It is acualy a wide angle with macro inable. Just peel and stick the self adhesive ring to your camera and your ready to go. Mine costed $48.90 including tax. Not a bad deal if you are taking numerous macro shots. I also used a old camcorder lens and held it in place, not as good but it worked. God Bless All. Regards Brad.

  • Beverly April 15, 2008 06:23 am

    Any suggestions on a good point and shoot digi camera for macro photography?

  • Chelsea March 17, 2008 08:42 am

    Maung: I have a tripod that can hold the camera so it looks downward. It can't go very far to the ground, but if you had a surface that was nearer to it. I'm sure you could find one of these if you look around.

  • Marcos March 15, 2008 11:37 pm

    This is a suggestion for Maung TINT (Mister:
    You could try to "stick" the photos to a wall with some adhesive-putty like Bluetack(there is also a white version of it which will probably be even better because, depending on the wall's material, it can leave tiny stains on it if left too long). This way you won't even need a tripod.
    A piece of advice: Be careful when you actually stick the photo, because if you use too much bluetack it can sometimes be noticed (you'll have to press just enough so the photo won't fall or stick the photo to a piece of paper and the paper to the wall).

    Hope it helps!

  • Maung TINT (Mister) March 7, 2008 07:54 am

    I use macro photogtaphy to take photos of my old black & white photos and also colour photos. Since I have to put the photos on a horizontal surface, on a table or even on the floor, I cannot use a tripod but need to hold the camera. I take extreme care to avoid camera shake when I push in the shutter button. I cannot use flash either because of the reflective surface of the photos. I have taken quite some successful shots with my three digital cameras, Canon Powershot A50, Nikon Coolpix 57OO, a brdge camera and a Pentax Optio A30. How can I use a tripod? I might probably need a vertical photo holder stand as well. Please give me some suggestions. Thank you.

  • edu March 7, 2008 02:09 am

    I think that there could be a misunderstanding in the Aperture section: "In macro photography you’ll probably want a shallow depth of field so select the largest aperture available". It would be good to remind the new readers that a larger aperture means a small f/ number (the first time I read it, I understood the opposite).

    Good tips. Thanks :-)

  • Jill March 5, 2008 06:13 am

    These are great tips! Honestly, I've haven't done much in macro, but would like to try more. Here's a picture of a rose that I took that I really do love though:

  • M March 4, 2008 09:28 pm

    It's very difficult with a point and shoot because in real life photography (as opposed to me arranging things in the background), it's very hard to get the depth that you want. And the subject has to be very near - literally in front of - the camera if good depth is to be achieved. I don't know about others but the several digicams ive had before canon powershot 300, sony dsc w10 and p43, fuji something and ixus something, never gave me great macro shots. So I just gave up.

    By the way, do you think buying the Leica D-lux (approx £400/$800) would give much better pics than a £300/$600 high end digicam?

  • nap March 4, 2008 01:52 pm

    Since technically, macro photography requires at least a 1:1 ratio on the sensor, I think it is actually easier to get true macro shots on P&S because of their smaller sensor size.

  • Khurt March 4, 2008 03:33 am

    I found the tips in this article very useful and have used all of them to improve my "close up" digital photography.

  • My Camera World March 4, 2008 03:24 am

    There is some very good information about using P&S cameras to obtain macro or close up photography.

    Some further suggestions:

    P&S flash tend to due a poor job with macro photography and therefore I suggest carrying one or 2 white reflective cards to bounce the light onto the subject. With 2 cards you can get better lightening setups.

    If outdoors do carry a wind break which could be 2 thin metal rods as hight as the highest flowees you plan to sueand some tight weave fabric to block the wind.

    With macro and especially a smaller aperture the shutter speed will be slower and even very small movement from wind are no magnified with extreme close-ups.

    Buy some flowers and set up inside your home to practice as you will have better control than outside. You can pre-position the background (out-of-focus) areas better.

    Bring a cooper plumbing pipe to use as an outdoor vase. See article

    Niels Henriksen

  • AC March 4, 2008 01:42 am

    Some great images on today's post. The tips, as usual are great but the photos sell this one for me :)