Rainy Day Macro Photo Ideas


Nothing can put a damper on a photography outing like a rainy day. Of course, rain and wet ground can make for some spectacular photos if you have the right gear and the right mentality to go out in the wet, but there are times when even the most hard-core photographer sees falling precipitation and says, “I think I will stay indoors today.” Because not all of us have a beautiful photo studio in the home, I find that macro photography around the house is a great way to get photographic creative juices flowing while staying out of the rain.

As we get older, our ways of seeing the world changes—in many ways, for the worst. We are no longer fascinated by cabinet knobs and carpet tassels and all of the things that we see the young eyes of a child focus on—things we used to explore ourselves. Because of this learned lack of seeing, the prospect of making creative photos indoors can be a daunting one for the photographer looking to pass the time.

Macro photography is the great equalizer here, because it forces you to view the world more carefully—similarly to when you were exploring the world for the first time as a child. So, the next time the weather keeps you indoors, but you still want to exercise your photographic muscles, take a stroll around each room in the home and look for photos—almost every object in your domicile can be turned into a macro photograph—some of them compelling.

Don’t set out to make the greatest photographs ever taken. This exercise and “outing” is purely for fun. You will find that you will learn a lot, use and push your equipment, and start to see images where you never thought you would see images before.

To get started, walk into a room, with or without your camera, and start looking at things—I mean really look at things. The roll of toilet paper? Check out the texture. The knick-knacks on the book shelf? Look closely at them. The utensils and tools in the kitchen drawer? Notice how the stainless catches the light? Speaking of light, break out a flashlight for additional light or, even more fun, photograph lights, as well!

Here are some examples from a recent afternoon indoors.

Watches and clocks love the lens. Turn the hands to 1010hrs for the pro look. A red LED flashlight provided the lighting in one shot.
I have a tail light from an old car on the bookshelf next to my aviator wings, a seashell, and embroidered vintage wings.
A penny retrieved from the ocean has seen better days. I love the top of my Blue Yeti microphone. Have you ever looked closely at the pixels of your TV? A projection alarm clock looks like an exploding nebula to the camera.
The kitchen is full of visuals. Don’t get too close to the flames!
The remote, tile grout, toilet paper, matches, an LED light, and a ring.

What do you need to gear up for this indoor adventure? Here are some suggested links.

The best approach is to keep things simple and allow yourself the flexibility to shoot objects that aren’t necessarily hovering at the photographer’s height of eye. Macro lenses, extension tubes, and close-up filters are the easiest way to pull off macro imagery. Check out my macro lens buying guide here, as well.

I certainly recommend a tripod since movement, even the tiniest vibration, can ruin a macro image but, with enough light, you could do this handheld.

And, if you are inclined to give your chosen object a studio aesthetic, a shooting tent and/or light table (used in the image of the class ring), can add a professional dimension to your shots. Extra gear is good, but my advice is to stay fleet of foot in your exploration and make sure that accessories don’t limit your seeing or turn the shooting into a chore.

What are your indoor macro shooting ideas, tips, and successes? Let us know in the Comments section, below! And for more close-up photography tips and tricks be sure to check out the rest of Macro Photography Week.