How to shoot “Reverse-lens macro”

 (Macro definition)

This tutorial is about maximizing the 18-55mm lens and shooting macro by reversing the lens.

18-55mm lens
Subject suitable for macro photography
Built-in flash diffuser

01_ Allow shutter release without lens in the camera setting. Set the camera to manual mode. Pop up the built-in flash. Attach a built-in flash diffuser or any material to diffuse the light (i.e. tracing paper, paper, etc.).


02_ For Nikon- Set the camera flash control to manual and set the power to about 1/8th.
       For Canon- TTL works even without a lens attached so should be fine, though you may need to increase the flash compensation to compensate the decreased light caused by the diffuser.
       For other brands- Haven’t tried it yet.

03_ Remove the lens from the camera body. Reverse it. Hold it in front of the camera.


04_ Adjust the focal length. As I have observed in my Nikkor 18-55mm VR: you need to be closer to your subject in 18mm and it has very little focused area on 18 mm; and farther from your subject with more focused area on 55mm.

05_ Now shoot. Adjust the shutter speed and the ISO setting to get the preferred exposure.

06_ Play with the different subjects and have fun.

Note: This technique was taught to me by Professional Portrait Photographer Ibarra Deri. I later improve upon the technique by introducing the use of the built-in flash and using a diffuser to create a diffused evenly distributed light.

Gerome Soriano is a Filipino advertising student. He likes shooting kite aerial, reverse-lens macro, and refractographs. He is loves red horse beer, rock music and kare-kare. He plans of becoming an exhibiting fine art photographer someday. You can check out his blog here:

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