Stunning iPhone Macro Challenge winners show magic of close-up photography

New Shot on iPhone macro photography challenge winning images
“Strawberry in Soda” Shot on iPhone 13 Pro. (Image credit: Ashley Lee / Apple)

Back in January, Apple invited its iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max smartphone users to capture the little details, in a big way, initiating a macro photography Shot on iPhone Challenge.

Apple has now unveiled its 10 winning images selected by a judging panel of Apple and industry experts, celebrating the art of macro photography. 

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The iPhone 13 Pro lineup features the most advanced iPhone camera system yet, allowing users for the first time to capture sharp images with a minimum focus distance of 2cm. Images submitted to the macro photography Shot on iPhone Challenge were allowed to be edited using Apple's editing tools in the Photos app, edited with third party software, or submitted as straight from the camera. 

An initial call to action stated: 'Apple welcomes you to share your favorite macro photos taken on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max on Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtags #ShotoniPhone and #iPhonemacrochallenge to participate in the challenge'. Entries were also accepted from users on Weibo. 

Selected winners hail from China, Hungary, India, Italy, Spain, Thailand, and the US, their images are featured on Apple’s website and Instagram, as well as on billboards in select cities.

The first selected winner was Guido Cassanelli from Buenos Aires, Argentina, with his vibrant image of Sea Glass, shot on the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

“Sea Glass” Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max. (Image credit: Guido Cassanelli / Apple)

An image of a red hibiscus flower titled 'The Cave' by Marco Colletta from
Taranto, Italy was selected by the judges for its wonderful composition and skill in shooting macro from a side angle. "The enveloping shape of the petals, accentuated by intense shadows, made me think of a deep cave, ready to be explored" shared Colletta, "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".

“The Cave”. Shot on iPhone 13 Pro. (Image credit: Marco Colletta / Apple)

A spiderweb shot by Prajwal Chougule from Kolhapur, Maharashtra, in India was selected for its beauty. Judge Apeksha Maker commented that "This image is so perfect that it looks like an illustration. The well-arranged dewdrops on the spiderweb are captured with great detail. It’s something that most people would miss around them. There is some sort of harmony in the drops; at first glance, the viewer could be deceived on what the subject is. The iPhone does a fantastic job at focusing on such a fine detail, with close to almost no definitive background.”

“Art in Nature” Shot on iPhone 13 Pro (Image credit: Prajwal Chougule / Apple)

Another flower shot made the top ten selection, with "A Drop of Freedom” by Daniel Olah from Budapest, Hungary showcasing a tiny waterdrop on a lily petal. Photographer and judge Peter McKinnon shared that "I really like how clean this is. The water droplet in the center is an obvious focal point; however, I really like how clean the edges of the plant seem to come out. Very little fringe and artifacting for getting so close. The black background again gives this a very high-end fine art feel, which, let’s be honest, people pay a lot of money for"

“A Drop of Freedom”.  Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max. (Image credit: Daniel Olah / Apple)

“Leaf Illumination” by Trevor Collins from Boston, USA portrays an intricate shot of a leaf from a fiddle-leaf fig shot using an iPhone 13 Pro. 

A strawberry in soda by photographer Ashley Lee from San Francisco, USA, was also shot using the iPhone 13 pro and and demonstrates the immensely detailed images that this iPhone's camera can capture in a macro setting. “This photo takes my breath away at first glance. The clarity with motion and the brightness of the strawberry really come through so delightfully.” Shared judge Kaiann Drance.

“Leaf Illumination”.  Shot on iPhone 13 Pro. (Image credit: Trevor Collins / Apple)

“Volcanic Lava”. Shot on iPhone 13 Pro. (Image credit: Abhik Mondal / Apple)

Another selected entry was “Volcanic Lava” by Abhik Mondal from New Milford, New Jersey, USA, showing the inner details of a sunflower. “Honeycomb” by Tom Reeves from New York City, USA, depicts elegantly captured snowflakes weaved into a dog's hair.

Reeves shared that “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.”

“Honeycomb”.  Shot on iPhone 13 Pro. (Image credit: Tom Reeves / Apple)

“Hidden Gem” by Jirasak Panpiansin from Chaiyaphum City, Thailand, depicts a water bead inside of a bight green leaf. The varied light, soft tones and detail in this mage are what made it stand out to the judges. 

An intricate image of a tulip, “The Final Bloom” by Hojisan from Chongqing, China was the final selected image that beautifully captures the flower in reminisce of a painting. “The asymmetrical composition and gestalt of Hojisan’s photograph is beautiful. Purposefully abstract, the negative space is as striking as the colorful textures and form.” Shared judge Billy Sorrentino.

“Hidden Gem”  Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max. (Image credit: Jirasak Panpiansin / Apple)

“The Final Bloom” Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max. (Image credit: Hojisan / Apple)

Be sure to check out Apple's website and blog post to read the full comments from the judges on the winning images from the challenge and learn the top tips for shooting with the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max cameras.

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.