How to Turn Your 50mm Lens into a Macro {Creative Photography}

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens Into a Macro Lens,

Dying to shoot with a macro lens, but finding yourself macro-less? Use your 50mm lens instead!

Here’s an easy tutorial on creating beautifully detailed macro shots using, of all things, your 50mm lens.

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens into a Macro

Grab your camera, your 50mm lens and let’s do this!

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens Into a Macro Lens, creative photography ideas, fun photography ideas,

Remove the lens from your camera. Take care to avoid getting dust on your sensor.

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens Into a Macro Lens, creative photography ideas, fun photography ideas,

Flip your lens over.

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens Into a Macro Lens, creative photography ideas, fun photography ideas,

Position the back of your lens toward the front.

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens Into a Macro Lens, creative photography ideas, fun photography ideas,

Hold your lens in place and shoot. Keep the space between your camera and lens sealed to avoid light leaks.

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens Into a Macro Lens,

Get in close to your subject. Real close.

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens Into a Macro Lens,

You’ll need to get in closer than you normally do with a 50mm lens.

How to Turn Your 50mm Lens Into a Macro Lens, creative photography ideas, fun photography ideas,

I’m not going to lie. Using your 50mm lens as a macro is pretty tricky, but with a little bit of patience and the following quick tips, you’ll get the hang of it in no time:

  • Shoot in full manual mode.
  • Keep a firm grip on your lens, creating a seal between camera and lens to avoid light leaks.
  • Use a tripod for stability if you find that you’re getting too shaky.
  • Your camera’s internal focusing mechanism will not work. Get within inches of your subject, moving around to find that sweet spot.
  • Unfortunately, this trick may not work with a select group of lenses.

Have fun using your 50mm lens as a macro.

Keep shooting.

Think beyond the lens.

Have fun.

Have you tried using your 50mm lens as a macro yet? I’d love for you to share your photos with me.

creative photography ideas, fun photography ideas,

Stuck in a photography rut? Feeling uninspired? Rebecca of Bumbles & Light and I are sharing a few fun and creative photography ideas to fuel your creativity and help you to think beyond the lens in our mini Creative Photography Series.

Head on over to Rebecca’s blog where she’s sharing a super fun tutorial on creating photography magic with oil and water.

More Creative Photography Ideas:


  1. by Mindi on March 13, 2013  9:55 am Reply

    So cool! Would this work with my Nikon 35 mm lens? Thanks for the tips!

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  11:32 am Reply

      I have no idea! I don't have a 35mm so I've never tried it, but if you do please let me know! :)

      P.S. I can't wait to meet you in person next week! Squeeeeeee!

  2. by Jenny on March 13, 2013  11:21 am Reply

    I have an 18-55mm lens... will this work with that? :P

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  11:39 am Reply

      I haven't tried it with a zoom yet, but I say it's worth a try. Let me know how it goes!

  3. by Anna-Leigh on March 13, 2013  11:35 am Reply

    I'll be trying this soon ;-)

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  12:18 pm Reply

      Awesome! Let me know if you share your photos. I'd love to see them. :)

  4. by J. on March 13, 2013  11:54 am Reply

    I saw this earlier and wanted to try it so bad. You inspired me to pull out my 50 and play around lol. Uploading them now to see how they turned out. :P

    I also plan on testing it on my 35 to see if it works too. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  12:21 pm Reply

      I'm so glad that this post inspired. Do let me know if you decide to try this technique and whether or not you were successful in getting it to work with your 35mm. :)

      Love your photography, by the way. :)

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  12:22 pm Reply

      You're so welcome! Let me know if you decide to share the photos. I'd love to see how they came out. :)

  5. by Anne U on March 13, 2013  1:03 pm Reply

    Yours turned out so good! I can't wait to try this with flowers next time in the spring.

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  12:51 pm Reply

      Thanks! It was really tricky! I can't wait for the flowers to come up around here. I'm so stinkin' excited for spring!

  6. by The Pinterest Housewife on March 14, 2013  12:17 am Reply

    So glad I found your blog through DearCrissy's blog. I'm an amateur photographer. I recently got a NIKON D5100 last month. It took me a while to figure out which camera I wanted. NIKON or CANON. I'm starting to think I made the wrong decision now that I see so many bloggers using CANON. But, to each his own. It's all about your preference, right? I do not know much about cameras, but I've always been fascinated and wanted to get involved in Photography. I've been playing around with my camera and taking lots of pictures, so far. It just seems like my photos don't look good unless I zoom in or get really close to the subject. I don't have any other lens except for the one that [obviously] came with the Nikon. Any advice as to what type of exta lens I should get? And what editing programs do you use? Thanks!

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  1:10 pm Reply

      Nikon. Canon. Totally a personal preference. I've shot with Nikons at first and they performed beautifully so no worries about which one to use. As for the kit lens that came with your camera, while they do an okay job there's so much better out there. If you're looking for another great zoom, I recommend the Tamron 18-270mm. That's a great starter and a step above the kit lens. The Tamron 24-70mm is my absolute favorite, though. Very sharp photos. If none of those are in your budget, try looking at a 50mm 1.8. It's a great prime lens. As far as editing programs go, I use Lightroom 4, Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop Elements 11. If you're interested, I have a couple of free eBooks with photography tips and tutorials. I can send the download link if you're interested. :)

  7. by Mai Bateson on March 15, 2013  12:39 am Reply

    This is so cool! Can't wait to see more of your photographs!!! Thanks for sharing! :)

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  12:53 pm Reply

      Thank you so much! :)

  8. by Amanda Jillian on March 15, 2013  12:53 pm Reply

    That's a nifty tip. Of course I don't have a 50mm lens lol.

    • by Kristi on March 15, 2013  1:14 pm Reply

      Well, thanks! No 50mm? Awww... :(

  9. Pingback : 084: nasty hobbitses | fall in love. take photos. repeat.

  10. Pingback : Oil and Water Photography

  11. by Susi on March 19, 2013  5:49 am Reply

    I love this and have seen this trick before somewhere. Unfortunately, I can't try it out because I don't have a 50 mm lens - but it is on my wishlist. I finally, got a 55-200 mm lens and I've had so much fun playing with it. :)

    • by Kristi on March 20, 2013  7:25 am Reply

      Oh fun! Don't you just love getting new lenses? :)

  12. by stephchows on March 19, 2013  2:53 pm Reply

    OK this is so seriously cool! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • by Kristi on March 20, 2013  7:30 am Reply

      You're so welcome! Let me know if you decide to give it a try!

  13. Pingback : How to Create Ethereal, Color-Infused Photos Using Scarves

  14. by Jules on March 27, 2013  11:44 am Reply

    I couldn't wait to try this.....just did....need to practice, but it's really cool... I'm a bit dizzy from looking through the lens. Doesn't help that I have horrible balance and couldn't keep things steady. Will definitely need a tripod! Thanks for this cool tip

    • by Kristi on March 27, 2013  11:49 am Reply

      It is pretty cool, huh? It's so much fun to experiment with and I can see how you'd feel dizzy after looking through the lens for too long. lol Let me know if you end up sharing the photos. I'd love to see them!

      • by Jules on March 28, 2013  6:40 am Reply

        Hi Kristi----Ok, I posted my pics from my trial. I used the 18-55mm lens that I had and these were the results. I also hope you don't mind, but I put a link to your page.


        • by Kristi on March 28, 2013  8:18 am Reply

          Of course I don't mind! Thank you so much. I'm going to hop over right now to take a look. Can't wait to see!

  15. Pingback : Up Close |

  16. by Brittany H. on April 8, 2013  1:27 pm Reply

    I just tried it! I used a circuit board from the guitar pedals my boyfriend ( builds :)
    I posted it on my flickr page...

    I'm def gonna try this again. I literally just finished reading this post, picked my camera up, grabbed a circuit board, and tried it really fast... haha.

    • by Kristi on April 8, 2013  1:40 pm Reply

      I just saw it! You did such an awesome job! Thanks so much for sharing with me, Brittany! Come back again on Wednesday. I'm sharing another fun and creative photography trick! :)

  17. Pingback : How to Create a Tilt-Shift Lens Effect With Your 50mm Lens

  18. by Brittany H. on April 10, 2013  3:05 pm Reply

    I tried it at the newborn shoot I had yesterday too! I think it came out pretty good, though I could definitely practice more to make it better!

  19. by Run DMT on April 12, 2013  4:03 am Reply

    Kristi, you are serious a genius! I am so grateful for your creative talents, which you graciously share with us. I can't wait to try this!

    You said to shoot in "full manual mode". What are the ISO/F-stop settings though?

  20. by Samantha on April 16, 2013  2:19 pm Reply

    No. Way. I would have never thought of that. Running home to turn my lens backwards.

  21. Pingback : up close with a pear tree | muncie photographer » photography {sweetness + light} | Muncie, Indiana Family Baby Newborn Child Photographer

  22. by Karen on April 23, 2013  2:24 pm Reply

    Just wanted to add that you can actually buy a reverse lens adaptor for your camera that will firmly lock the lens in place while doing need to hold it tight or tape it up! Now...why haven't I got one yet...? lol And a set of macro rails will help with the 'wobbles'...they are inexpensive and a great investment!

  23. Pingback : Photography Tutorial: How to Create Shaped Bokeh

  24. by Samantha on April 25, 2013  11:45 am Reply

    So I tried it. Lots of fun.

  25. Pingback : Lilac/Flowers {Nurture Photography} - Live and Love...Out Loud

  26. Pingback : Central NJ Macro Photography Spring 2013

  27. by Imelda on April 27, 2013  8:29 pm Reply

    Wonderful! Thanks for these tutorial, Kristi. :-)


  28. by Lisa Stepp-Sorrell on April 27, 2013  11:41 pm Reply

    We call this the ttlat (turn the lens around trick)!!! :) Love it!

  29. by Bianca on December 17, 2013  3:44 pm Reply

    Wow, this worked really well with my camera, thanks so much for sharing this! (: I am having too much fun doing this now, haha.

  30. by mckenzye on March 8, 2014  6:12 am Reply

    WOW thank you I just got my new 50 mm lens 1.4 and almost bought the 60 mm macro lens.. this is great now I have the best of both worlds!! I could hug you right now!!!

    • by Kristi on March 8, 2014  11:35 am Reply

      Haha! You're welcome! It's a great little hack for creating macro images. But? I still love Tamron 90mm macro lens. :)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.