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What’s the best macro lens to use? You might be questioning me on this. “What lenses to use?” Well, a macro lens, of course! But just because you have a macro lens or don’t have one, doesn’t mean that’s all you should use for your macro photography. I am a firm believer that you should use the equipment you have to it’s fullest advantage. Don’t have a macro lens? Use the lenses you have with a few modifications to achieve the effect you want. Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy an expensive lens (especially if you’re not sure you’ll even like macro photography). Let me show you the different lenses I use to achieve beautiful ‘macro’ (or flower) photography. So, let’s find out what the ‘best macro lens’ to use is!
need help getting started in macro? check out my 3 Tips to Getting Started in Macro Photography post
Real quick before we dive in, I wanted to let you know about a few other posts I’ve written related to macro photography that you might be interested in!
I hope you enjoy!
the nifty fifty
The nifty fifty is great for taking nature images. I have the Nikon 50mm 1.8. I love using it with macro extensions to get some nice macro shots. The best thing about this whole combo is it’s the cheapest. The nifty fifty is one of the cheapest lenses out there and macro extensions are really cheap, too. If you don’t have the money to buy any great macro lenses, check out the macro extensions.
taken with: Nikon 105mm 2.8
my settings were: ISO 500 | f/5.6 | 1/1000ss
lensbaby velvet 56
I have my eye on this beautiful lens. I have heard great things about it, especially for macro photography. This lens creates such beautiful images with dreamy effects. And best part about this lens is it’s on the cheaper side. The lensbaby velvet 56 is great for macro, nature, any genre of photography, really. It’s a great investment and one that I am personally saving up for.
taken with: Sigma 24mm 1.4 ART
my settings were: ISO 500 | f/1.4 | 1/320ss
wide angle lens
One of my favorite lenses to use for my macro/nature photography is my wide angle lens, the Sigma ART 24mm 1.4. It creates such beautiful depth in the images. I love shooting wide open to create some beautiful dreamy images. The wide angle is a perfect lens to use when taking pictures of nature. Not only does it do well with flowers, it does well with landscapes. So you could get close to a flower and then step back and take a picture of the whole scene. This is probably my favorite flower lens other than my macro lens.
And of course, the best type of lens to use for macro would be a macro lens. I personally use the Nikon 105mm 2.8. Although, I hope to upgrade to a better lens in the future. Taking images wide open on this lens is sometimes hard to get a lot of the flower in focus. I recommend closing down to at least a 5 if not higher. That allows for more of the flower to be in focus. Now, of course, I love shooting wide open and only getting a sliver of the flower in focus. It just depends on your vision and how you want the picture to turn on. Practice and have fun.
Just because you don’t have a macro lens, doesn’t mean you can’t take beautiful flower images. Use what you have. If you’re curious about whether you’d like macro photography or not, try renting a macro lens or using lens extensions. Macro photography is so soothing and relaxing. I often call it macro therapy. It helps me relax and it makes me happy. Go out there with what you have and experiment with different apertures, distance from the flower/plant, angles, etc. There’s so much to learn from macro photography.
What questions do you have about macro photography? Comment below!
Alyssa (sometimes going by Aly) is a hobbyist photographer who loves to teach. Her love of photography started before she ever had any kids. Now a mom of two, she loves to photograph her kids, flowers, and landscape. She specializes in capturing her everyday life. She loves to teach fellow beginner photographers how to take control of their cameras and get the images they dream about getting.