Reverse ring macro photography – why this method?

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Macro photography is fascinating, and it is something that any photographer at least tried, from taking close-up pictures with flowers, shells, water drops, etc., to even looking in the eye of a fly.

For this macro level, the required equipment is not affordable for most of us; we are talking about thousands of dollars for lens and flash gear. But with reverse ring macro, photography is cheap and amazing.

So, what do we need for that?

A digital camera

It must be DSLR or mirrorless because you’ll need to be able to disconnect the lens for reversing.

The reverse ring     reverse ring

This is excellent staff, very helpful and very cheap. It costs about 3-5$, so everybody can afford one. The reverse ring has to be attached directly to the camera, and you will connect the lens to the ring.

Very important is that when you buy the ring to buy it for the lens diameter. If, for example, you have a 52mm lens, you should buy a 52mm reverse ring. You can see the reverted lens connected through the reverse ring to the camera in the picture below.

Observe how the aperture metallic blade is blocked with some paper in the open position, left side down of the lens. You’ll need a lot of light, and that’s how you’ll get it quickly.

camera with reversed lens

Tripod, remote control, and lighting

Depending on what you are shooting, you’ll need different staff. Let’s say you are indoor, and you want to take pictures with some part of a coin, or some jewel, or anything that is not alive – that will not move.

In this case, for sure, you will move (handshake), and for this, you will need a tripod and remote controller. For lighting, a lamp will do, I bought one for 12$, but there is a massive range of options. So, cheap again. A remote controller should not cost more than 10$.

If you’re shooting outdoor insects, for example, then you’ll not use a tripod and remote controller. This is a difficult one if the happy bug doesn’t want to stay still. For better lighting, you can use a flashgun with diffuse.


… and this is why you’re reading this and, good news, it is for free:

  1. Set the camera in manual mode. Because you reverse the lens, there will be no other contact with the camera than the plastic reverse ring.
  2. That means that they will not be able to communicate, so you will have to take care of focus. Depending on lens type, using a manual focus ring or moving the camera forward or backward until you get the target’s subject.
  3. You’ll also need to take care of the aperture. Near the lens metallic contacts, you will see a little bracket, the controller for aperture. When it is normally connected, the camera controls it, but now that it is reverted, you will have to do it manually. Just open it to maximum and stack it with something to stay like that. If not, your photos will be very dark.

Few samples of my work:

Water drops inside a small flower.

Water drops in a flower

A metallic chain from some jewelry

Metallic chain

Metallic chain

Small parts of a jewel


Jewel close up

Some regular sea salt

table salt

…and piece of a coin

A piece of coin

Final thoughts

You can go even deeper into the little details with the microphotography techniques. For this, you need a microscope and a good camera.

I hope this was useful, and please leave a comment if you need more help or have suggestions. I am eager to learn more, and any extra information will help us all.

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