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You don't necessarily need a macro lens to do macro photography. By mounting a prime lens "backward"—with the front elements closest to the imaging sensor—you can turn it into a low-cost macro lens. All you need is an inexpensive adapter called a reversal ring. A sense of adventure helps, too, because your camera's normal metering and focusing features don't work when the lens is attached backward.
In this course, photographer Ben Long details the tools and techniques of lens-reversal macro photography. After investigating reversal ring options, the course explores the focusing and exposure techniques involved when shooting with a reversed lens.
By now, you might be thinking, wow, this is really all kind of make-shift. And certainly, compared to shooting with an actual macro lens, lens reversal can be a little cumbersome. But it's also a completely valid way to get great macro shots. I regularly see fantastic, professional quality images that were shot with a reversed lens. So if you're interested in macro photography but you don't want to spend for a macro lens, lens reversal really is a great way to get macro capability. Even if you have a macro lens, you might not always have it with you. But a reversal ring can fit in to any camera bag, meaning that you are always ready for macro shooting, should you stumble across good macro subject matter.
Whether you're using a real macro lens or a reversed lens, macro photography requires a tremendous amount of practice before you get regular proficiency. So get your lens mounted backwards and go find some tiny subjects.
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