Macro Photographer Teresa Franco Shares Her Best Phoneography Tips!

Scenario: A ladybug turns your shoulder into its new resting spot. What do you do?

Some might say Make a wish. Teresa Franco? She’d say Take a photo.

Snapping a photo of something so tiny can be a challenge. Do not let your camera phone deceive.

You can use your phone to get great macro shots of the tiniest objects, from crystal-ball-esque dew drops on a leaf to a caterpillar snacking on a blade of grass.

Teresa Franco is living proof. Have you seen her macros? They’re the best of the best on Instagram!

We asked her how she does it, and she shared all her favorite phone lenses, apps, and tips for getting fantastic photos of nature’s tiniest details.

So the next time a bug takes a liking to your shoulder, you’ll be set.

Phoneography Tips with Teresa Franco

Who’s Teresa?

Teresa first caught our eye with her undeniably legit macro skills.

Once we realized she wasn’t using a DSLR or a 3-piece lighting setup — that was when we were really impressed.

Teresa’s a nursing student who happened upon her awesome talent for macro while perusing Instagram one day.

That’s when she discovered the Olloclip, a three-in-one phone lens that lets you shoot fisheye, wide-angle, and macro photos on your phone.

When she’s not studying up on medical stuffs, she’s chasing grasshoppers and fungi to get the best macro photos ever.

The advantage to shooting macro on your phone?

Its small size and light weight makes it very easy to maneuver around tight spaces like under a tiny mushroom or between blades of grass.

It also allows me to free up one hand to use to stabilize a flower or a branch when it’s windy.

What’s in your phoneography camera bag?


  • Microfiber lens cleaning cloth — gotta keep my lenses clean
  • Snacks
  • My iPhone
  • Squidcam, Photojojo, and Olloclip macro lenses
  • I love my i.Trek Super Mount (a phone tripod adapter). I use it by itself. It’s great for stabilizing your iPhone when you’re very low on the ground.
  • iPhone charger
  • iPhone earphones with remote

What apps do you use? Do you edit your photos?

beforeMy go to camera app is Camera Awesome (for iOS).

It has a “Fast Burst” option that comes in very handy when I’m taking photos of flying/jumping/crawling bugs. I also love that you can lock in the focus. I use both of these features all the time.

The biggest problem I have with macro photography is lighting. So when I edit my photos, I usually just increase the “brightness” in Snapseed (works for both Android & iOS).

I also like VSCO CAM (iOS) and Vintique filters (iOS). I try not to edit my photos too much because I lose a lot of important details.

How many shots does it take to get that one photo? before

Before, I used to follow a bug and blast the camera button like crazy and just hope that one of the hundreds of photos that I took will come out decent.

Now, I’m more patient and can usually anticipate their next move. I’m proud to say that I can take 1-3 photos of a bug and walk/run away very happy.

Your top 3 fave Instagrammers?


  • @tanaka_tatsuya creates miniature worlds using household items and tiny little figures. I just want to shrink myself and live in his world.
  • @alozor lives in the same city as me, but when I see his photos, I always think “Where in San Diego is this??” “I’ve been living here for fifteen years, how come I’ve never seen this??”. He also knows when and where to catch the best California sunset.
  • @movable takes us behind the streets of Shanghai. He knows how to make grungy post-apocalyptic street alleys look so elegant.

What are your top 3 macro things to shoot?

I love sharing photos of the little things in nature that people don’t usually pay attention to. Photographers tend to go for the most colorful flower.

I want to show people that beauty can be found in the most mundane. My favorite subjects:

  1. Little seedlings and sprouts
  2. Dry petal curls
  3. Mushrooms- there’s something magical about them

Your advice for aspiring macro photographers.

beforeDon’t be discouraged if your first few photos come out blurry.

Everything in life takes practice. 

If you want to take photos of flying/crawling/hopping bugs, experiment with different camera apps that have fast shutter speeds. 

Have patience. A lot of it! I promise it will yield rewarding results.

So like, any extra editing tips?

beforeI would suggest to try as much possible to keep the tones of your photos consistent.

It makes for a pretty and attractive gallery. If you like using filters, use photo editing apps such as “Vintique” that let you adjust the settings of each filter — that way you can still make a style of “your own” even when you’re using pre-set filters.

Your top 3 places to shoot macro photos.

beforeIf I want to take photos of mushrooms, usually go to the park early in the morning before sunrise.

I also love going to local nurseries because they have a wide variety of flowers, plants, and trees on display.

The best thing about living in California is that there is green EVERYWHERE you go, all year round. If you’re ever in San Diego and you see a girl with an iPhone out in public on her elbows and knees, it’s probably me.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?

beforeI look at photos of my favorite photographers — Instagram, Flickr, online portfolios, photography books.

I also love watching sci-fi and japanese animation. Hayao Miyazaki is definitely the inspiration behind my whimsical photographs of moss forests and toadstools.

More Phoneography Tips & Inspiration