Reverse Lens Macro

Kamryn from Figure8 photography teaches us about the finer points of Reverse Lens Macro, or RLM, and shares some of her awesome RLM shots!

One of my most favorite forms of photography is done through a macro lens. I find it really neat to look at something from a completely different point of view. But holy cow, some of the macro lens prices are enough to make me keep on passing over that “checkout” button online.

Enter Reverse Lens Macro photography, AKA: Poor Man’s Macro. While it’s not *exactly* the same thing as the real deal, it still offers a neat option for photography. I’m a Canon girl, so it’s pretty easy for me. Simply take off your lens, flip it around, and press the shutter. I’m told Nikon users may have to use a little piece of paper to hold open a switch or whatchamajiggy, but I’m not sure of the details…Professor Google may help with that one.
The key to getting a good RLM image is to get your exposure set right before removing your lens. Also, there is no ability to focus using your lens…so you become the focus ring by moving forward and backward. RLM photos have a very shallow depth of field. Wind can make it hard to shoot a good RLM picture because even slight movements change the focus. But it makes for a good challenge. Also, unless you have surgeon’s hands, bracing yourself is a very good idea.


Prime lenses work well for RLM, but don’t be afraid to try all the lenses in your bag — I’ve sometimes gotten better images using my kit lenses than with my 50mm 1.4.

Happy shooting!

Kamryn Jaroszewski is a wife, mom (with more coming!) and the owner/operator of figure8 photography in Baumholder, Germany.

All images and words featured in this post are (C) Kamryn Jaraszewski.

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