Reverse Lens Macro (How To Photography Guide)

Last Updated on April 20, 2021

water drop on flour close up macro photograph

If you have a 50mm lens you are already well on your way to taking reverse lens macro photographs. If not getting a 50mm lens is a great start. The lens is more affordable than you might think, and will give you a much more distinctive look which can never be achieved by using a standard macro lens.

Getting Started With Reverse Lens Macro Photography

It’s really easy to get started with reverse lens macro photography: All you have to do is unscrew the rear element from the 50mm (or any other) lens so that it’s facing outwards instead of inwards, and then reattach it back into place.

The only thing you lose is the ability to focus, but the effect will be anything but a loss. The whole idea of reverse lens macro photography is to produce something much different than what you’d achieve through normal macro photography.

What Do You Need To Take Reverse Lens Macro Photographs

Lens: This is the first step in getting started with reverse lens macro photography. If you want to create stunning and eye-catching reverse lens macro photographs, then you will need a 50mm lens, preferably one with a wide aperture. A wide aperture–such as f/2.8–gives your photographs that dreamy feel which makes them so desirable for collectors’ deco purposes. A 50mm lens is also conveniently compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry around with you on any occasion where you might be interested in taking photographs.

Reversing Ring: You will need a reversing ring (also known as a thread adapter) to attach the 50mm lens to your camera. The reversing ring is essential and will make it easier for you to attach the reverse lens with your camera.

Twin Lens Reversing Ring: You can attach two lenses together with a twin lens reversing ring. The twin lens reversing ring will allow you to connect two lenses together so that they are both facing the same way. This is useful if you are interested in taking photos with two aperture settings–one for each lens.

The main benefit of using a twin lens reversing ring is that it makes it possible for your camera to “see through” both lenses–which can happen if your two lenses are directly attached to one another.

How To Reverse the Lens on Your Cameras

A reversing ring screws on the outside of your lens and attaches it to any camera body. The ring makes it easy to attach the camera to the lens. (Make sure to use a brand new reversing ring–the old one might be too scratched–and make sure it is screwed on tightly so that the lens does not move around.)

Using Macro Flash

A macro flash or macro lighting device is a flashlight that shines additional light on your subject to give it, the equipment, different colors and textures. A macro flash can be used in reverse lighting, which requires no additional equipment.

Reverse Lens Macro Photography Ideas

When taking reverse lens macro photographs, an eye dropper filled with water can be used to create drops of water on your subject. You can also use a syringe to squirt droplets of water on your subject, which will create unique effects that your audience is bound to appreciate.

The effect created by using the reverse lens technique is much different than what you’d get through regular or traditional macro photography, which is why everyone should give it a try.

Search this site for tons of macro photography subject ideas.

Bottom Line

Other than having a macro flash and a 50mm lens, all you need is to unscrew the rear element of your lens and then reattach it back into place.