10 Best photos from Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone Macro Challenge’

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By Rachel Au

10 Best photos from Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone Macro Challenge’

What happens when you win Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ photography competition? You’ll have your winning image featured on, Apple’s Instagram (@apple) and billboards in some cities. For the rest of us, it’s a testament that you don’t need a lot to take beautiful photos. The iPhone 13 Pro line-up introduced macro mode, offering users a chance to stunning macro images with just a smartphone when previously, it would require a host of specialised camera equipment. As these 10 winners reveal and share the story behind their photographs, it’s clear that beauty is all around us, if we just take a moment to see it—and maybe snap a macro photo while we’re at it.

‘Leaf Illumination’ by Trevor Collins,

Location: Boston, USA

Occupation: Product designer

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro

“This one instance was during the sliver of golden hour when the sun is shining directly into my window, illuminating all of the tiny cells in each leaf. The leaf depicted is from a fiddle-leaf fig that sits on my desk, where I get to see it all throughout the day.”

‘Honeycomb’ by Tom Reeves, @tomreevesphoto

Location: New York, USA

Occupation: Informatics student/freelance photographer

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro

“This image was taken along the edge of Riverside Park in Manhattan while on a morning walk with our puppy this winter. As she marvelled at her first snow, I was able to capture the ephemeral latticework of this tiny snowflake as it landed among the threads of her many honey-coloured curls.”

‘Art in Nature’ by Prajwal Chougule,

Location: Kolhapur, India

Occupation: Software test engineer

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro

“I am a nature lover and love going on early morning walks with my iPhone 13 Pro. The ‘golden hour’ brings the best out of nature and is a photographer’s delight. Dewdrops on a spiderweb caught my attention, and I was fascinated by the way the dry spider silk formed a necklace on which the dew glistened like pearls. It felt like a piece of art on nature’s canvas.”

‘The Cave’ by Marco Colletta, @marcolletta.1

Location: Taranto, Italy

Occupation: Mechanical engineering student

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro

“The enveloping shape of the petals, accentuated by intense shadows, made me think of a deep cave, ready to be explored; by keeping the point of view inside the flower, I wanted the hibiscus’s natural framing to make us feel fully part of its beauty. When I first learned about macro mode, I thought it was one more cool new feature I was excited to get with my new iPhone 13 Pro. But when I started exploring its possibilities, I really started loving it. I discovered it gives me the possibility to turn nearly everything I see into an abstract subject, different from what it is in reality. This feature really did unlock my imagination.”

‘Hidden Gem’ by Jirasak Panpiansin, @joez19

Location: Chaiyaphum, Thailand

Occupation: Freelancer

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro Max

“This tiny, shimmering liquid jewel is delicately nestled at the base of a leaf after a tropical storm, almost imperceptible to the human eye. However, its true brilliance shines through the lens of the iPhone—up close, it sparkles with intense clarity, capturing light from the emerging sun and magnifying the intricate, organic geometry of the leaf’s veins underneath. This is nature encapsulated: a world of beauty and wonder made minuscule.”

‘The Final Bloom’ by Jahoo Gu, @hojisan_ins

Location: Chongqing, China

Occupation: Photographer

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro Max

“The photo was taken when my three-year-old son discovered the blossom of the tulip at home. I then appreciated the flower with my son and took out my iPhone, trying to capture the moment when the sun kissed the flower, which created a perfect shadow on the petals. As I moved my iPhone closer to the flower, it automatically turned on macro mode, and the details of the petals were brought into the fullest. A few moments later, wind came and blew the petals away. Even though the blossom was short, I still captured the highest moment of a tulip’s life, which is a gift from nature.”

‘Sea Glass’ by Guido Cassanelli,

Location: Ibiza, España

Occupation: Lifeguard

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro Max

“Sea glass is eroded by thousands of miles travelling around the oceans to the shores of the world. I was walking on the beach enjoying a beautiful sunset, and decided to collect some of these small pieces of sea glass to give macro photography on the iPhone 13 Pro Max a try. It looks like something strange is happening inside the one placed in the centre—it looks like amber. I really love that texture.”

‘A Drop of Freedom’ by Daniel Olah, @danesduet

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Occupation: Photographer/Photo retoucher

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro Max

“My intention was to highlight the tiny drop of water in comparison with the lily. I’ve used a spot studio light on the lily with a dark background. I adore the shape of the flower; the lower petal helps keep the focus on the middle part, highlighting not just the drop, but the stamen, too. Nonetheless, the picture has a rhythm that is building toward the euphoria of the composition.”

‘Strawberry in Soda’ by Ashley Lee,

Location: San Francisco, USA

Occupation: Associate IT security engineer

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro

“Using photography to transform everyday items into something more extraordinary is always a fun puzzle that brings out my creativity. For this photo, I used two items that I found in my kitchen fridge: a strawberry and a can of soda. I placed a clear vase on my kitchen counter, poured the soda into the vase, and used a piece of black paper as the background. I then dropped the strawberry in the vase of soda and waited. Slowly, bubbles began to form on the surface of the strawberry, and its texture was completely transformed. I was amazed by the level of detail I was able to capture by taking a macro photo, as I could see the individual bubbles from the soda that were forming on the strawberry’s surface. I chose a strawberry as the subject because I liked how the bright red popped against the black background. The stark contrast focuses your attention on the strawberry and its bubbles, and makes it seem as if the strawberry is floating in space.”

‘Volcanic Lava’ by Abhik Mondal, @abhik_mondal_photos

Location: New Jersey, USA

Occupation: Computer systems engineer

Shot on: iPhone 13 Pro

“After buying the new iPhone 13 Pro in December, I was amazed with its macro feature and started capturing different objects, including flowers, insects, plants, and more. One day, during a regular evening walk, I went to a grocery store, where I noticed a bouquet of flowers. This beautiful sunflower caught my attention with its intricate details, including the presence of contrasting colours from the centre toward the edge of the petals. I immediately decided to take the bouquet home and capture the beauty of it.”

Following the unveiling of these 10 winning photos, Apple also shared these tips for those who are gearing up to take their own macro shots with the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max:

  • Make sure to get close to your subject—you can get as close as 2 centimetres away
  • Place the primary point of focus near the center of the frame, as that’s where the sharpest focus is when shooting in macro on iPhone
  • If desired, tap an area in the viewfinder to set a specific focus point
  • Shoot at .5x to capture an Ultra Wide field of view, or try shooting at 1x for tighter framing—iPhone will automatically switch cameras as you get close while maintaining the 1x framing.

Follow @apple for more photography inspiration.

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