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How to Take Close Ups Without Using a Macro Lens

Many photographers are under the impression that you can’t take close-up macro photography shots if you don’t own a macro photography lens. That is simply not the case. If you’re an aspiring professional or even just a hobbyist looking to expand your portfolio and dabble in different genres of work a lack of gear doesn’t have to mean that macro work is off the table for you. 

Macro photography lenses can be expensive. For an amateur who isn’t necessarily looking to specialise but might want to experiment with this close-up work it can be hard to spending so much money on such niche gear. Luckily, there is a simple trick you can employ if you’re interested in taking extreme close-ups but you don’t have access to specialised lenses and camera gear. 

How to Take Close-Ups With No Macro Lens 

To achieve a great close-up shot all you need to do is turn your regular lens around. When you reverse the lens on your camera body your focusing distance becomes much closer and you’re given much stronger magnification when composing your shot. 

Instead of reversing some photographers prefer to just shoot this type of shot without a lens attached to their device opting to “free lens” instead. To do this you will need to hold your lens in front of the camera instead of attaching it as you normally would.

For greater accuracy and to reduce the risk you run of light streaking it’s safer to use a piece of gear called a reversing ring to somewhat attach the lens to your camera. That way your second hand (that otherwise would’ve had to hold that lens in place) is free to make adjustments as you compose your shot. 

What Camera Should You Use for Macro photography?

There are some cameras that are better for macro photography. Basic point and shoot cameras can work if that’s all you have access to although most macro photographers opt for a single-lens reflex camera. 

However, part of the reason they make that choice is because the single-lens reflex allows you to attach lenses specific to macro photography shooting. So again, if you don’t have those lenses, you have much more freedom here to work with whatever camera you have access to.

What Camera Settings Should You Start With?

Generally, the best camera settings to use for macro photography are ones that keep a shallow depth of field. Getting started try an aperture between f/5.6 and f/11. Settings like these will help make sure every detail of your subject is kept in super sharp focus, while possibly adding a nice gentle blur to the background.

Not only that, all of NYIP’s courses are entirely online and self-paced, meaning you don’t have any obligation to show up classes at a certain date, or submit your photo projects by a given time period. You can work on weekends, a few days a month- whenever you want to login and spend some time learning how to be a better photographer.