The Poor Man’s Macro

Those Lips

JPG Magazine: Stories: How To: Poor Man’s Macro There’s a good article in JPG Magazine this month that reminded me of one of the great fun techniques to play around with your photography, the poor man’s macro.

The poor man’s macro is where you essentially take your lens off of your camera and reverse it. You hold the lens in front of your camera body and shoot through the lens backwards.

I’ve always had the most success with this technique when using my 50mm.

The good news about 50mm lenses is that they are some of the cheapest lenses around. Canon makes a great f/1.8 for less than $100 and a good value f/1.4 as well if you shoot Canon. But in general you can find pretty good 50mm lenses cheaply for most cameras.

Although turning your lens around backwards and shooting through it might not give you the perfection of your macro lens, it is great for on the fly shooting when you need a macro and are shooting with something else. By experimenting around with it you can also find that you can get some cool and unusual effects with your photos.

The phots above is an example of shot that I took yesterday by turning my 50mm lens around backwards and holding it up to my camera body. I’ve got more examples up on my photostream right now here.

In the linked article, JPG Magazine has a lot of the more technical things you can do to make this work for you. But experiment around and have fun with it. That’s what your camera is there for.

You may worry a bit about shooting this way, particularly as keeping your camera body open is likely to attract dust. Personally I don’t worry about the dust because I clean my sensor myself at least once a week with sensor swabs and methanol.

8 Replies to “The Poor Man’s Macro”

  1. that’s pretty interesting. first the holga lens on my lens cap and now this…interesting

  2. I love macro. can I tell you of something my resourceful Russian photographer friend showed me? an interesting way to get some great macro shots without the big expense. Go buy a magnifying glass that fits nicely over your lens, without fuss. Extend your lens to infinite and put the magnifying glass up to the lens. This is the part where you want four hands…holding your finger on the shooting button, and the magnifying glass up to the lens, rock yourself back and forth until you get focus. Voila! nice macro, but of course there is the bleeding on the edges, so I use a big file because I know I am going to crop it. It really does work. I will put up some of my better bfish macros so you can see. My magnifying glass is from a kids’ store and cost me $7 canadian. and no messing with taking off the lens. 🙂

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