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How to take macro photos on the iPhone 13 Pro

Get up close and capture incredible pictures on the iPhone 13 Pro.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The iPhone 13 Pro has already impressed CNET's editors with its excellent performance and generally awesome camera skills. A new addition to the 13 Pro is the ability to take detailed macro photos using the wide-angle lens.

Previously you needed an additional clip-on lens to do this properly on an iPhone, but by equipping the wide lens on the iPhone 13 with auto focus, Apple allowed the phone to focus as close as 2 cm from an object -- ideal for getting up close and personal.

Here's how to take your own macro images with the iPhone 13

First up, open the standard camera app. Right now there are no additional settings or buttons or anything that hints at this new macro skill. All you do is fire up the camera and as you move closer to your subject the phone will automatically switch into wide-angle mode and allow for that close focusing. 

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As I moved the camera closer to these berries, it automatically switched into macro mode, allowing me to focus much closer to the camera.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

That does sometimes make it difficult to figure out whether the phone is in macro mode or not. Apple will soon send out an update that will let you toggle macro on and off, to avoid exactly that confusion. Alternatively you can tap the 0.5 button first and switch to the wide lens before you start shooting. 

Then it's just a case of getting close up, ensuring your subject is still in focus and tapping the shutter button.

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Textures on leaves or on tree bark can often look amazing when viewed up close with a macro lens.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Finding the right macro subject

Given that you'll be holding your phone close to whatever you're shooting, only certain subjects will work in macro. Perhaps obviously, you need to think small: Insects, flower petals and fungi often work well in macro. In fact, the natural world has a wealth of opportunity for lovely macro shots, so pop on your hiking boots and head into the forest.

Getting your phone so close to your subject does mean it's easy to block the light, casting your subject into shadow. If so, try and move around your subject to get an angle that lets in the light, or consider trying these pro macro-shot tricks to help brighten the scene. 

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Shot in ProRaw, I was able to make some small tweaks to the contrast, colors and sharpness on this image of a fly to help make it pop even more. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Shoot in ProRaw, edit later

While you can take great snaps straight out of the camera, if you tap the Raw icon at the top left corner of the screen, you'll be able to shoot in Apple's ProRaw format. This gives a lot more scope for editing images later in apps like Adobe Lightroom or Snapseed. If you're keen to take more artistic images of the tiny things you find, editing your shots is a step you should absolutely consider.