Introduction: Make Macro Photography With ANY Lenses for FREE !

Picture of Make Macro Photography With ANY Lenses for FREE !

Hey ! You want to do some macro photography but you don't want to buy a very expensive dedicated lens for it ?

In this instructable I will show you how you can make great macro-photography out of your normal DSLR kit, without buying any extra gear or expensive lens.

You do NOT need to ALTER any of your equipment, this is why this trick is so awesome !

and if you like it, please vote for me in the photography tips contest ;)

here is what you will need.

Material :

- a DSLR

- any lens

-optional : a tripod (really better)

- a computer with a image editor. (like photoshop or the gimp)

-something to take a picture of.

Step 1: How to Proceed : Simple !

Picture of How to Proceed : Simple !

You will not believe how simple this trick is !

just take your lens and reverse it in front of the camera body !

you can hold it with your fingers and that's it ! you are done ! I told you it was really simple !

How to Take pictures :

now come the fun part , you've got your subject, you've got your light set up and you've putted your lens in reverse.

- Put your camera on AV mode (but my guess is any mode is ok since there are no lens mounted)

- go onto the live view of your camera so you can see on your screen what you are shooting.

- if you don't use a tripod, adjust the ISO so you can get a speed of about 1/100 or 1/50 of a second so your pictures are sharp and not blured because of your hand shaking.

remember : the smaller the ISO, the better quality your pictures, this mean with a ISO of 100, there will be very little noise, but with a ISO of 3200, no matter how much is your camera body.... there will be noise.. which is why I really advice to get a small tripod.

- now that you have your camera set up, get really close to your subject (few centimeters) and it will appear on your live view. you can now take pictures of it !

-hooray ! you did it ! you took extra close macro photography ! isn't it awesome ??!!

Warning :

you should probably clean your sensor with a special air blower after that. I don't recommend doing it outside, but it is possible.

More explanations:

I just want to add a little precision here, the shorter your focal length, the more magnified will be your image.

this mean that with the 18-55 that come in more kits, you will get more magnified results if you set up your lens on the 18mm mark ;)

You can do More !!:

now you will find that the depth of field is really short, so your images are sharp only on a small area. you can fix this, follow my instructable's next step.

Step 2: Focus Stacking Get Your Macro Photo a Step Further

Picture of Focus Stacking Get Your Macro Photo a Step Further

What is focus stacking ?

Focus stacking is a simple method to get wider depth of field using a computer.

it is a really easy process, all you do is merging multiples photos with different depth of field so you get a much clearer image.

and with today's technology, it is very simple and automated.

How to take the shot:

I recommend putting your subject and its lighting onto something you can slide and move around.

get your camera on a tripod and set up your lens and subject.

- take a first shot, focused onto the front of your subject, on my example, my first shot is focused onto the head of the fly.

- now, slide your subject 1mm back and take another shot, repeat the process, millimeters per millimeters until you reach the end of your subject.

- note: you can do it without a tripod, just by moving your camera around, but I find it much easier with a tripod.

-that's it you are done, on the example of this instructable, i took 8 shots, from head to tail of the little fly.

How to process it into Photoshop ?

1. open photoshop, go on File > Scripts > Load files into a stack

2. Select all the pictures of your photostacking shot. and don't forget to tick the "attempt to automatically align layers "

3. now all your files should appear in the layer panel on the right side, select them all (hold shift and click them)

4. go to edit > auto-Blend Layers, in the new menu, select "stack Images"

-finaly, select all your layers, go to Layers > merge layers

-that's it you are done ! photoshop selected the focused areas of every single image and mixed them all together !

your image look much nicer now !

Note: you can do it with other software, or free software like the gimp, but I do not use them so cannot hel here.

Step 3: Step 3: Go Out and Enjoy !

Picture of Step 3: Go Out and Enjoy !

hope you enjoyed this instructable,

now you can go out in the wild and take awesome macro photo, really really detailed !

if you liked it, you can vote for me in the photo trick contest ;)


pachytrance (author)2016-10-12


dbandodkar made it! (author)2016-07-26

But i use a reversal ring.. Much betr.. But thanx for the other tips..

mpulliam1 (author)2015-07-30

WOW! What timing! I literally JUST bought a new T5 last week. On amazon they sell adapters to hold your lens "in reverse" just for this reason. So you are looking at $9-12 for the adapter, or $200-1000+ for a good macro lens. Last night I was thinking, "what if I just got brave and held it - just for one or two pics, then put it back?".

You answered that question for me! Thanks... now to find some bugs that like to vogue.....

alcurb (author)2015-07-27

This is a cool idea. Unfortunately I have one of those upper-end consumer cameras with a lens that that cannot be removed. Short of purchasing a good macro lens add-on is there a more economical way of doing this?

pmshah (author)2015-07-24

Wide angle lenses would give you best results and maximum magnification.

hugotremolo (author)pmshah2015-07-25

yeah, Like i wrote, I found I got the best results with 18mm,
I tried smaller focal lengh (10mm) but there was not much difference and a much smaller depth of field.
but you can try with any lens ;)

dougstrickland (author)2015-07-24

Agree with the other comments, and I like that your suggestion doesn't require hard mods to my photo gear. +1 vote.

thank you

vashok (author)2015-07-23

Excellent Idiya, My vote is yours dear.

hugotremolo (author)vashok2015-07-25

thank you

onemoroni1 (author)2015-07-23

Great instructable. Simple and well explained.

hugotremolo (author)onemoroni12015-07-25

thanks ;)

Battlespeed (author)2015-07-15

Doesn't work for my Nikon D5100 because it refuses to shoot pictures if a lens isn't actually mounted. Fortunately, I found a reverse macro ring that lets you mount the kit lens backward, and makes it a lot easier on your hands, too:

hugotremolo (author)Battlespeed2015-07-25

I dunno nikon so much, but my guess is that in the settings you might have a mode that will let you do it ;)

simply get an extension tube

Sam Grove (author)2015-07-23

Depth of field can be maximized by using
lots of light and stopping down the aperture if your lens allows it.
Before automated lens became common, the aperture was controlled by a
small extension from the lens that could be pressed with a finger to
stop it down.

If you have an older lens, check to see if this adjustment is available.

Kaljakaaleppi (author)Sam Grove2015-07-23

On some lens/camera-combos you can dial down the aperture, press the "aperture preview"-button and remove the lens while holding down the button. Might work!

work on some camera, not on mine.... thanks

Shutterbob (author)2015-07-23

Old trick. You can buy adapters that will allow you to reverse mount you lens. Check Ebay, B&H, and such.

hugotremolo (author)Shutterbob2015-07-25

yes, you can buy a reverse ring, you can also try to build your own, but this tutorial was giving a free method ;)

trgz (author)Shutterbob2015-07-24

@ Shutterbob Yup, I remember them well though I used tubes (still have them and they still work on my Olympus 4/3rds when I attach my old glass) which I guess are the next step and ought to be pretty cheap (and keep the dust out)

BranislavS (author)2015-07-23

Hmm, is it possible to adjust the focus with manual focus ring rather than moving the subject or the camera? That's how it's typically done with a normal lens, probably can be applied to the reversed lens too.


hugotremolo (author)BranislavS2015-07-25

It might be possible on some lenses, but I think for most it is not.... this is a free method of doing macrophotography... it has its limitations ;)
but it is still fun and enjoyable !

SussoGobbino (author)2015-07-23

I've always liked macro photography, and so I've been collecting various lenses and experimenting with them.

I've taken this picture with a Canon Digital IXUS 60 compact camera and a motorbike headlight lens, each held by hand.

I really like the result with improvised gear, each conductor is 1/6 of a millimiter in diameter!

stannickel (author)2015-07-23

Good trick. You got my vote.

mopsiok (author)2015-07-23

I have to try it someday! Thanks for sharing!

HarwinderS (author)2015-07-14

A fly was harmed in the making of this tutorial.....

Battlespeed (author)HarwinderS2015-07-15

I'm simply horrified that Instructables would permit ibles in which the wholesale slaughter of whole herds of fruit flies is endorsed. We should schedule a protest riot.

MM18 (author)Battlespeed2015-07-16

These are trained stunt flies.

hugotremolo (author)MM182015-07-18

ahaha good comments ahah :)

CraigRJess (author)2015-07-13

I never thought it would be so easy...this is soooo great!

Thank you :~)

Oh, I've also found an ISO / EXPOSURE CHEAT CARD for camera amateurs like myself:

hugotremolo (author)CraigRJess2015-07-13

Hey that is funny, I just finished my new instructable on a exposure card like that one, ( a bit better actually ;)
you should go check it out here :

PhilipP2 (author)CraigRJess2015-07-13

Thanks for sharing the 'cheat card'! I've been shooting amateur photos for close to 18 years and I STILL get "f-stop confusion"!!

PhilipP2 (author)2015-07-13

Great tool! Thanks so much for sharing! I have a 10-20mm wide-angle lens that I played with. At 10mm, it's almost like a microscope! (I did say 'almost'!) I'm finding that I need a LOT of extra light when using this method. Could just be my fat head blocking all the light, but when I get auxiliary lighting directly on the's great!

hugotremolo (author)PhilipP22015-07-13

yes, you do need lot of light !
for my shots, I usually set up the room light at maximum, plus my headlamps, plus one or two more desks lamps and that is alright ;)
consider using a tripod for your camera body if you want to reduce the shaking and going into more sharp, small ISO images ;)

enjoy !

dejan.maletic.77 (author)2015-07-13

Was the bug alive at the time you take the shoot?

no bro, impossible to do focus stacking with a moving subject...
i caught the mini mini fly and put her in the fridge for 10 minutes, thought she would still be alive, get the shot and she would fly away, but unfortunately the fridge just killed her ;)

yeah cause being in a fridge for 10 minutes doesn't hurt at all

Omni DIY (author)RhysTheBoss30002015-07-13

Relax. People put insects in the fridge all the time as a humane way to induce hibernation. This is done in ant keeping for example which can help transfer them from one enclosure to another or simply let them hibernate as they would in the wild. And being outside in a cool but not freezing environment is not painful unless you are from California or Florida :P

Ploopy (author)2015-07-13


I wish my camera had removable lenses. XD

Battlespeed (author)2015-07-13

This is a very cool hack for when you're caught without your macro lens or don't want to carry it with you.

Digital Flame (author)2015-07-12

That is insane! I never enjoyed taking macros from four metres!

yes ! try this trick and you will take macro photos from 3cm ahahaha ;)

my best advice is to reverse use a 18mm, this is I found gave the best results, but you can try with any lens ;)

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-07-12

Nice tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

About This Instructable




Add instructable to: