How to find interesting Macro Subjects

While Jay was photographing a huge waterfall nearby, I went exploring in Rickett’s Glen in Pensylvania. Along the cliffs near the falls, I found thin streams of water that created tiny, smooth waterfalls. They were every bit as beautiful as their big brother upstream.

Quiet Beauty

I love macro photography because of details like this. There were crowds of people around those thundering falls. Every one of them was snapping photos – with their cameras or mobile phones. But nobody seemed to notice this little beauty nearby. It was smaller. Quieter. More subtle. The showy falls got all the attention – but this one was no less beautiful for not calling attention to itself.

So here are our tips for finding macro subjects:

  1. Take a shot or two of the showy icon to get it out of your system – and then move on. This will help you focus your attention on your search for macro subjects.
  2. Get down low and look under things. Think of it like a treasure hunt. You are looking for interesting subjects that stand out against their background. I  found my subject for this shot under a ledge of rock on the wall of the canyon.
  3. Pay attention to color and light. In this case, I loved the way the stream of water collected light and shadow and stretched them out like taffy.
  4. Look for interesting textures and patterns through your macro lens. This will help you notice details that might not stand out to your naked eye.

Your options for macro subjects are endless.

These tiny droplets of dew created an interesting transition between the green leaves of the background, and the soft, white petals of a flower in our back yard.

Morning Dew

I spent the better part of a beautiful morning on the Big Island of Hawaii searching for Geckos in the garden. This little fellow kept both eyes on me as I set up my tripod and took a few shots. The pattern of layered leaves added interest to this shot.


I discovered an interesting little seed pod lying near the road as we returned from a hike in Hawaii. I loved the patterns and details in the tiny seeds, so I set up the shot on the bumper of the rental car. I got in close with my macro lens to eliminate distracting background elements.


So, slow down and look closely at the details around you… and don’t let the biggest and loudest subjects get all your attention! If you’re willing to take the time, you’ll find yourself enchanted by the miniature landscapes all around you.

Our latest Macro Lenses Course give in depth lessons about how to overcome the big challenges of shooting small subjects with your macro lens.

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About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.