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How to Take Macro Photos on a Budget

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Want to get started in macro photography but don’t have much to spend? There are ways to jump into the niche using mostly the gear you already have (assuming you don’t have a dedicated macro lens). Here’s an 8-minute video by NatureTTL that’ll point you in the right direction.

In the video, professional landscape, wildlife, and macro photographer Ross Hoddinott shares thrifty ways to both shoot and light macro photos.

First, Hoddinott explains how you can use your existing lens for macro photos by buying a close-up filter for the front, an extension tube for the rear, or a reversing ring for mounting a lens back-to-front on your camera. These options may run you around $100 or less depending on which product you purchase.

Shot with a NiSi Close-up Lens Kit
Shot with a NiSi Close-up Lens Kit
Shot with a NiSi Close-up Lens Kit
Shot with a NiSi Close-up Lens Kit

For lighting macro photos, one technique Hoddinott recommends is reflecting natural light onto subjects. You can do this by simply wrapping some cardboard with aluminum foil to create a reflective surface.

Without a cheap homemade reflector bouncing natural light.
With a cheap homemade reflector bouncing natural light.

Finally, you can also add more light to a shot using a cheap LED light.

Without a cheap LED light.
With a cheap LED light.

Watch the video above to hear Hoddinott explain these techniques in more detail and demonstrate how they’re done.

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