Calling up the hashtag #macro on Instagram currently reveals more than 18 million posts, with #macrophotography coming in a close second at more than 10 million. Numbers like that make finding individual feeds that stand out from the pack somewhat akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. There is certainly no shortage of talent, but more often than not, individual feeds include a smattering of macro views, along with the rest of the kitchen sink.
To assemble this current selection, we sought out consistency of subject matter that included a certain degree of stylistic flair. While several Instagrammers did not respond to my email requesting their participation, the 13 who did certainly include some welcome surprises—particularly an Indonesian housewife, Sylvia Hadiwidjojo, who only recently took up photography with her mobile phone while under lockdown due to COVID-19.
More than any other subject, macro photography offers anyone with a curious eye the opportunity to escape into a new reality totally under one’s own control. And as Hadiwidjojo aptly puts it, “The results always amaze me, and with all the colors and intricate detail, and such stunning variety, how could I ever get bored?”
In this new story, we have not overlapped with the macro muscle featured three years ago in 17 Talented Macro Photographers to Follow on Instagram. So, if our current shortlist and their recommended feeds whet your appetite for more, you’ll know where to find it.
Who is your favorite macro photographer to follow on Instagram? Add your voice to the conversation by leaving a comment below.
Above photograph © Darren Gentle, @darrengentlephotography
1. Alexey Kljatov specializes in macro views of snowflakes, which he catches on the balcony of his home in Moscow, Russia, and posts to his @alexey_kljatov Instagram feed. His gear is basic and consistent, a Canon PowerShot A650is, to which he attaches a Helios 44mm lens taken from an old USSR-era Zenit camera. The lens is mounted backward in front of the built-in lens of his Canon PowerShot, to produce much greater magnification than his camera’s standard macro mode.
“I capture only real snow crystals,” he explains, “and shoot a short series of identical frames for each snowflake, usually 8 to 10 frames, or up to 20 with the best-looking examples. While processing my digital files, I align and average each stack to get rid of noise, and keep all picture details intact. Images of bright crystals against a dark background are shot on black woolen fabric in natural light, and images of transparent snowflakes on smooth gradient backgrounds are made on a large sheet of glass, with LED lighting from behind.”
Macro Tag: As a long-time specialist in macro photography, Kljatov follows many other great macro shooters on Instagram. He tells us, “My favorite is the Canadian macro and snowflake photographer Don Komarechka, @donkomphoto. He uses advanced shooting and processing techniques to reveal fine details of snow crystals in reflected light.”
2. It was only two years ago when Darren Gentle’s children introduced him to the wonders of Instagram. In this short time, his passion for photography has blossomed into multiple feeds, including @daz79gts, dedicated to his macro work. He pairs a Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM Lens with two different bodies, a Canon 6D Mark II and EOS Rebel T7i, to capture vibrant close-ups of water-strewn flower petals, fluffy dandelion seeds, and other flora and fauna discovered near his home, in Sydney, Australia.
"I spray water on almost all my flower shots, as I like the way the drops look against the colors,” he says. “I try and get the water drops nice and sharp, and I always find the back of a flower more interesting to shoot than the front."
Macro Tag: "I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram, seeing so many talented people out there doing different and unique photography,” says Gentle. “One photographer whose work I really admire is @darrenplayle. I like the feel and mood he portrays in his images.”
3. Marit Hovden’s interest in photography was sparked by the macro function of her Panasonic Lumix point and shoot. After buying a Sony a58 camera and Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens, she became totally immersed by the macro images she posts to her @marit_hov Instagram feed.
Her favorite theme is capturing refractions in sharply focused water drops, surrounded by bright colors. The often gray, rainy climate of her home base outside of Bergen, Norway, necessitates a lot of indoor shooting. “I collect all kinds of stuff to put drops on, and often set up my macro studio on my kitchen table,” she says. “I still use the same gear, accompanied by a remote flash, and some Adaptalux lightening arms when shooting indoors.”
Macro Tag: Hovden runs the Instagram account @drops_creative, dedicated to photographers who share her passion for water-drop shooting. She says, “Through this account I have found and connected with many talented and skillful macro photographers, but if I could only choose one for special mention, it must be @fanny_adhie, from Indonesia. Fanny creates the most incredible macro drop images without any advanced or expensive equipment. She also offers small videos demonstrating how she works. Her playful creativity is very inspiring, so go follow her for a wonderful macro experience!”
4. With the precision of an engineer, Markus Reugels reveals a visionary ballet by freezing the motion of miniscule water droplets using high-speed macro photography. Just last year, he began sharing these fancy splashes on his @reugelsmarkus Instagram feed.
Based in a small Bavarian village near Schweinfurt, Germany, Reugels’ home studio is equipped with a computerized setup to trigger his camera gear—a Sony a7R body and Minolta 100 mm macro lens and adapter—and control the speed and trajectory of the colored liquids he uses as a subject. To freeze the action, he illuminates his tiny set from the rear, using Vivitar 285 and Yongnuo 560 strobes diffused through plexiglass for a soft, even glow. He modifies the lights to minimize flash duration and syncs them through the computer for maximum precision.
“With my liquid sculptures, I record moments that would never be seen without the technique of photography,” he says of the resulting images. “I capture magic moments of fluid dynamics.”
Macro Tag: “I’ve been following @wolfgang_korazija_fotografie for several years,” says Reugels. “You can see his passion for small creatures in his images, especially in his macro shots of wasps.”
5. Based in Kiev, Ukraine, Yan Cook developed a passion for macro photography fairly recently, after actively experimenting with digital abstract art to supplement the techno music he performs live or records in his studio and posts to his YouTube channel.
Using a Panasonic Lumix GH4 and two Soviet lenses decked out with macro tubes, Cook hunts for extreme close-up views of various objects and liquids that he finds around the house. He illuminates his tiny sets with two LED lights to bring out odd, organic shapes and deep, cosmic colors in the images he uploads to his @yan_cook Instagram feed.
“What’s fascinating to me about abstract macro photography is that, when viewing the same photo, one person can see a nebula in space while the other person sees an insect,” he says.
Macro Tag: Cook taps British multidisciplinary artist Davy Evans for his Instagram feed @davyevans, which explores the similarities between the micro and the macro. “This artist inspired me to start experimenting with macro photography,” says Cook. “I highly recommend that you check out his artworks.”
6. Gail Ledding started her Instagram feed @macro_alldaylong in January 2019. Her favorite theme is brightly colored water-drop refractions, which she shoots in nature or sets up on the kitchen counter of her North Vancouver, British Columbia, home.
“Many macro subjects involve different techniques, so I’m continually learning,” she says. “While I love my Nikon D850, I gravitate to my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens for most of my macro shots, since the Micro Four Thirds sensor equates to greater depth of field, which comes in very handy.”
Macro Tag: “One of my favorite macro Instagrammers is @doogle1976,” Ledding says. “He’s immensely talented with a little cheeky side, and I love his gorgeous lighting.”
7. The purchase of a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro Lens for his Nikon D5600 is what got Pawel Skokowski fired up about macro photography and regularly posting to his @skokowskipawel Instagram feed. “I had an interest in this field before then, but I wasn't happy with the combination of a kit lens with the extension tubes I was using,” he says.
Skokowski’s colorful close-up portraits of insects, birds, and other flora and fauna are shot in natural settings around the city of Leeds, in Northern England, when the weather permits. His clean signature style is heightened by the use of a basic flash and homemade diffuser, with a macro rail and tripod if needed.
Macro Tag: “One of my favorite macro photographers on Instagram is @cynthiabandurek_artphotography. “She’s a very talented image maker, whose pictures present a very natural, yet exotic, tropical macro world.”
8. Brazilian photographer Josué Braun works with many different subjects, but he’s had an eye for macro photography since before he started shooting in 2010. He employs a variety of Nikon gear, including a Nikon D610, D750, and D80 converted to infrared, which he uses with a 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens and an old 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens with a macro function.
But despite Braun’s wide range of camera choices, the vast majority of recent pictures he posts to his @josuebraun Instagram feed have been made with an Apple iPhone 8.
“Since 2018, I’ve been working on a series called ‘Photosynthesis,’ depicting backlit close-ups of various leaves,” he explains. “Photosynthesis is the main process of energy transformation in the biosphere, essential to maintaining life on Earth. In my photos, light passes through leaves of different sizes, colors, shapes, and textures. Against the light, we can see the leaves’ vascular tissues and channels through which the sap circulates. Like photography, the leaves depend on light to exist.”
Macro Tag: Braun recommends the Instagram feed @helloliesa. “She is a wonderful macro photographer, with a moody aesthetic, and her images feature beautiful delicacy and warm tones. I also appreciate her beautiful lighting and compositional choices.”
9. Iranian photographer Zahra Shafie has posted her minimalistic brand of colorful close-ups to her @zahra.shafie Instagram feed for about five years. Her graphic slices of life are made with a mobile phone, initially a Samsung Galaxy S4, and more recently a Samsung Galaxy A30.
Shafie says, “For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an eye for details. I’ve always seen things nobody else usually sees. I like to focus on details not just in my photographs, but in other aspects of life as well.”
Macro Tag: Shafie’s favorite macro photographer on Instagram is @hernanmat. “He’s just amazing,” she says. His art is full of colors. Whenever I see one of his photographs, I wish that I’d taken it.”
10. Sylvia Hadiwidjojo is a housewife in the Indonesian city of Surabaya. She had no previous photography experience when she first trained the lens of her Apple iPhone X on the tiny details she noticed while sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After starting to shoot, in mid-December 2019, she joined Instagram and began uploading pictures to her @sylvia.hadiwidjojo feed.
“I tend to create vibrant, bold, bright color photos,” she says. “I like to fill the entire frame with just part of a flower for a powerful image, but I believe there’s no right or wrong way to shoot. Once I discovered macro photography, I realized that small things could turn into amazingly beautiful images. The results always amaze me, and with all the colors and intricate detail, and such stunning variety, how could I ever get bored?”
Macro Tag: “I love the photos of @debishapirophotography,” says Hadiwidjojo. “Her fantastic images of flowers are truly works of art.”
11. A self-taught photographer based in São Paulo, Brazil, Bruno Militelli is passionate about abstraction. Since creating his eponymous Instagram feed @bruno.militelli, in 2018, he has dedicated himself to exploring abstract images within the macro realm.
To create his visionary abstractions, Militelli uses a FUJIFILM X-T3 with the XF 80mm f/2.8 Macro Lens, pointing out, “This camera has several technological features such as focus stacking and focus peaking that are essential for my macro work, and the lens is very sharp, with almost no distortion. And if I’m looking for a closer approach than the native 1:1 ratio, I add FUJIFILM’s 11mm and 16mm extension tubes, sometimes separately, or I combine them to get even closer.”
Since most of his photos are made in the studio using artificial illumination, he depends on Aputure’s Amaran AL-MX Bicolor LED Mini Light, “They are perfect for macro photography,” he says. “I usually set up two together, and sometimes I add a Nissin i60A Wireless Flash.”
With each composition, Militelli seeks out the singular beauty of the object he photographs. “I always try to explore new possibilities, testing different components and scientific experiments,” he explains. “I use macro photography as an abstract art form capable of intriguing my viewer, while also allowing them to get lost in their own interpretation of the work.”
Macro Tag: “I really enjoy the photography of @mirka_van_renswoude,” Militelli says. “All of her work revolves around macro photography of water and oil, and she is able to create aesthetically beautiful images, which are at the same time so different and creative.”
12. Valentinos Antoniou’s main inspiration may be paint on canvas, but his passion for macro photography shines through in the richly textured details of his artwork posted to his @valentinosantoniou_art Instagram feed.
This London-based artist first started exploring macro realms with his Canon 5D Mark II and 100mm f/2.8 macro lens 10 years ago. “Nature was my initial subject, but for the past year I’ve been making pictures of my abstract paintings,” he explains. “I’m fascinated with details and textures in general, and combining my paintings with the macro world gives me the ability to connect and explore my work on a different level.”
Macro Tag: Although not a classic macro photographer himself, Antoniou is a huge admirer of the genre. He particularly likes the work of @marcofischerphoto for his “beautiful details and lots of color.”
13. Macro photography is second nature to Aeric Moskowitz, who learned all aspects of the medium at an extremely young age. “My father was a highly accomplished amateur photographer, and macro was something he loved, so I guess I've been shooting macro almost my whole life,” he says.
Nowadays, his Jupiter, Florida studio is set up specifically for macro work, with darkened walls, bright lights, and specialized gear for exploring colorful macro kingdoms. He shoots with a Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens and uses a bellows device for extreme macro subjects, such as the kaleidoscopic-patterned water droplets that top his @shutter_man Instagram feed.
Moskowitz denies having any one particular style. “It really depends on my mood,” he says. “Sometimes it’s ultra close-ups of water drops, sometimes it’s flowers, sometimes it’s bicycle chains and rusty parts. Like a songwriter, sometimes it's the blues, sometimes it’s a pop song, and sometimes it's heavy metal.”
Macro Tag: Moskowitz follows lots of macro photographers on Instagram, but recommends the feed of @pointswestphoto. As he remarks, “I love the explosive colors and detail all the way through the photos, the occasional black background, and how he and I seem to love to fill the frame. I love my colorful backgrounds and his black ones, but when it comes to ultra macro, I'm a firm believer in no negative space.”