“The Cave” by Marco Colletta. Taranto, Italy. 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.”
A strawberry floating in a fizzy soda, the cavernous interior of a flower, and colorful sea glass are just some of the subjects covered by the winners of Apple's latest iPhone contest. After putting out a call for photographs, Apple received an overwhelming response to their Shot on iPhone Macro Challenge. An international panel of experts pored over the entries and selected the 10 best images for special recognition.
The Apple iPhone is known for its incredible camera, but the iPhone 13 Pro lineup has taken things to a new level. Thanks to its advanced camera system, anyone can take macro photos at a moment's notice. Judging by the winning images of the Macro Challenge, the capabilities of the technology are impressive. Photographers from Argentina, the United States, Hungary, India, Italy, Spain, and Thailand will now see their work not only featured on Apple's Instagram, but on billboards in select cities.
Standout images include Guido Cassanelli‘s colorful photograph of sea glass. Thanks to the macro setting, the photo takes on an artistic, abstract quality. “When we make use of the macro function, the tiny world becomes magnified, and this is a perfect example of that,” shares competition judge Yik Keat Lee. “To be honest, I do not even know what this substance is exactly, but the fact that there is symmetry in the chaos, paired with multiple vibrant colors, makes it super intriguing.”
Italian photographer Marco Colletta was singled out for his stunning look at a hibiscus flower. With a soft focus in the foreground and sharp center, the composition draws us into the lush, cavernous bloom. Ashley Lee was rewarded for her ability to take something ordinary and transform it into a work of art. Her image of a strawberry floating in soda is simple, but impactful. The crisp, clear view of the fruit covered in pristine bubbles masterfully shows all the different textures and, at the same time, is delightful to look at.
For anyone inspired to take their own macro photos using an iPhone, Apple has a few suggestions. First and foremost, get close. The iPhone 13 Pro can get about as close as an inch away from the subject. Second, make sure to place the primary focus of the photo in the center of the frame, as that's where the sharpest focus is while in macro mode. Lastly, play around with different fields of view. You can shoot at .5x for an Ultra Wide field of view or stick to 1x for a tighter frame.
Apple selected 10 winners for their Shot on iPhone Macro Challenge.
“Sea Glass” by Guido Cassanelli. Buenos Aires, Argentina. Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max. “Sea glass is eroded by thousands of miles traveling 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 iPhone 13 Pro Max a try. It looks like something strange is happening inside the one placed in the center — it looks like amber. I really love that texture.”
“Strawberry in Soda” by Ashley Lee. San Francisco, USA. 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.”
“Hidden Gem” by Jirasak Panpiansin. Chaiyaphum City, Thailand. 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 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 photographers used the new macro photo capabilities of the iPhone 13 Pro lineup to view the world up close.
“A Drop of Freedom” by Daniel Olah. Budapest, Hungary. 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.”
“Art in Nature” by Prajwal Chougule. Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India. 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.”
“Honeycomb” by Tom Reeves. New York City, USA. 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 marveled 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-colored curls.”
The winning photographs will appear on billboards in select cities.
“The Final Bloom” by Hojisan. Chongqing, China. Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max. “The photo was taken when my 3-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 at 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.”
“Volcanic Lava” by Abhik Mondal. New Milford, New Jersey, USA. 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 colors from the center toward the edge of the petals. I immediately decided to take the bouquet home and capture the beauty of it.”
“Leaf Illumination” by Trevor Collins. Boston, USA. 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.”