Wedding photography – Macro photography: options and alternatives
With wedding photography, I mostly use a macro lens just for detail images at the bride’s place – rings & jewelry. I do use a macro lens for detail photos of the rings. However, during the early part of the day at the bride’s place, I try to bring as little equipment as possible. Then carrying a macro lens for just a few detail images might just add too much bulk to the shoulder bag. Also, if your budget is constrained, then it might seem a bit much to spend that much money for a lens that will see so little use. There are other options though than a full-blown macro lens.
A macro lens attachment that I often use, is the Canon 500D 77mm Close Up Lens (affiliate). Screwing this onto the front of a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens like a filter, gives you very good macro results!
I love my Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR macro (affiliate), and the Canon 100mm f/2.8 IS macro (affiliate) is just stellar too. But this Canon 500D which looks like a big fat filter, works very well too. Optical quality is superb! It screws onto the front of your lens just like a filter. (If you use a filter on front of your lens, I’d recommend you take it off first so that the 500D is the only other glass in the front of your lens.
The main disadvantage is that you don’t have the entire focusing range from infinity to macro like you’d have with a proper macro lens. But once you get used to the idea that you have a limited range, you can work around that. I would also recommend that you find your approximate focal length and focusing distance, and then rock slowly back or forth to get exact focus. Of course, using apertures in the range of f/11 helps get sharp images. Using wide apertures such as f/2.8 is more specialized than you’d have the need for on a wedding day. Then it is more important to get the shot that works, and move on.
Other alternatives to this lens, are extension tubes, most frequently used with a 50mm lens.
Camera settings & equipment (or equivalents) used
I most often use on-camera bounce flash to light these type images, but both these images were taken with available light.
- 1/2000 @ f/11 @ 2000 ISO – available light only
- Nikon D4
- Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR II /equivalent Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
- Canon 500D 77mm Close Up Lens
- Detail shots, bounce flash & macro lenses
- Using video light for macro detail photos
- Tips for detail shots of the wedding rings
9 Comments, Add Your Own
1Jay Loden says
Interesting Neil, I hadn’t heard of the Canon Close-Up Lens but it looks like a useful option. I’ve seen some absolutely excellent macro and near macro results using close-up lenses like the Raynox offerings but the 77mm filter size is convenient.
I wonder if you could even pair it with Xume magnetic filter ring adapters for easy on-off, or if the tiny bit of extra depth would cause problems for the close up lens?
2sheri j says
nice! I never knew about this filter thing :)
3Graham Harris says
At a real push it’s possible to use a 24/70 if you have an FX camera that allows the sensor to be used as DX.
Menu>Camera>Image area on mine.
Thanks for all your help Neil.
I’ve been tempted by this particular lens but hadn’t heard for definate that it worked very well with a 70-200. Glad to hear it does…..
Currently using a no-name 72mm close up which I just hold in front of my 50mm, seems to work ok!
5Erika | PhotoMadly says
Thanks for this. Sounds like an interesting option (as I definitely don’t need more heavy kit to add to my wedding bag), and before reading this I never knew that these filter-like close-up lenses existed.
6Espen Kraft says
I come from film and video and we’ve been using these close-up filters, known to us as diopters, for years in front of out anamorphic lenses. Such lenses often can’t focus closer than a couple of meters and we use among others this Canon 500D to move in closer to our subjects (usually faces). It renders very good images IMO.
7christopher steven b. says
Count me amongst the wedding photographers who don’t really focus so much on theses kinds of detail shots–certainly not enough to warrant grabbing a macro lens and lugging it around. This looks interesting and obviously easier than free-lensing a reversed lens !
8Valent Lau says
What kind of range limit do you have with this? Does it turn a 70-200 to a 1:1 macro?
I’ve seen these filters around but hadn’t known anyone using them. I do often find I’m hitting the close focus limit with the 70-200, this would be useful.
9Paul C Wynn says
Thanks Neil for this recommendation. I went and got one of the 500D close up lens for use on my Nikon 70-200mm, and very surprised at the great results. Thanks once again for your creative ideas and inspiration.