Doing macros without a macro lens

Macro Drops

Taking macro pictures is extremely fun. It’s a style that opens the door to a world of incredible detail, things that we could never see without the help of our camera.

However, it may happen that, even if we really want to do macro photography we crash with a couple of walls. First, not all cameras have the option to shoot in this mode, and if they have it, my experience tells me that is not very effective. Usually it’s a false macro that doesn’t amplifies the subjetct as it should.

And second, maybe you might consider buying a macro lens, specially and uniquely designed for this type of photography. But as they are especially graduated to focus at short distances, they are the most expensive  ones in the market.

Yes, it can be daunting. But what if I told you there’s a third option for doing macros? Last year when I was taking a photography course in Bogota, Colombia, my teacher showed me a great technique for real macros without the need of a special lens.

Red Bugs macro

If you have an interchangeable lens camera, you are have half way there. All you have to do to start shooting macros is to take the lens, remove it, turn it over and hold it in it’s place. Now you’re ready.


It is important to keep several details in mind when using this improvised technique. First, it’s important to have very good lighting in order to shoot at a fast speed. Since we are holding the lens in our hands, it moves a lot and if you shoot with a slow speed your picture will turn out moved and blurry.

Macro Flower

I advise you to graduate the shutter speed and aperture before turning the lens over, this way you’ll have appropriate parameters to start shooting. The way we focus  also changes with this method. Now the focus distance is regulated depending on how our bodies get closer or move away from the subject we want to photograph.

macro flower

This is a very good technique to start doing macro photography if you don’t have a specialized lens for it. Just remember to be patient, have good lighting and get really close to your subject.

2 thoughts on “Doing macros without a macro lens

  1. You can buy very cheap reversing rings form most makes of DSLR and film cameras. using those would avoid a lot of dust on the sensor and would make things a little easier. My choice was extension tubes. Hope this helps.

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