I remember when I first started getting into photography, all I wanted to do was shoot macro because it just looked so cool! But macro lenses can be really expensive, and since most of my shoots are weddings and portraits, I just couldn’t justify buying a $1000 macro lens that I might only use for a couple of shots. Luckily, I found these close-up filters on Amazon.com:

They’re basically just magnifying glasses that screw in onto the filter ring that’s on the front of your lens, and they’re really inexpensive and easy to use.  Here’s a couple of shots that I used the +4 filter on:

It really allows you to get a lot closer than a normal lens would. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you get the correct size filter for the particular lens you’d like to use. For instance, the 24-70 2.8 L Canon lens has a 77mm filter ring, so I would need a 77mm close-up filter. Most lenses have the size of the lens displayed somewhere around the opening of the lens, like this:

Another thing you should look out for is what magnification you need/want. I bought the whole set which has the +1,+2,+4,+10 filters. I have found the +4 is all I need. Oh and one more thing- when you’re shooting macro shots, the closer you get, the more shallow your depth of field is. So if you try to shoot at f2.8, your depth of field will probably be way too shallow. I suggest starting at f4 and experimenting from there.

If you decide to get into macro photography on a serious level, you may want a 1:1 macro lens like the Canon 100 2.8 macro. This lens can get 1:1. Meaning, it zooms so close, a grain of rice will fill the frame of your photograph!

If you’ve ever wanted to shoot really close-up shots but haven’t wanted to spend the money on an expensive close-up lens, these filters may be just what you’re looking for. Happy shooting!

P.S. We would love to see some of the images you take over at our Facebook group! :)

 

 

 

 

 
  • Carole

    I bought a set of macro lenses to play with before delving into purchasing an actual macro. They were fun, and I got some great results. I also found that I consistently went back to one size. Even though I now have a macro, I still keep these filters on hand.

    I wish I had known more before purchasing my macro lens. I ended up with a Canon EFS-60, and although it does seem to suit my needs for now (jewelry photography/florals, and to my surprise takes some nice overall shots), some day in my future there will no doubt be an upgrade.

    • Carole

      I meant macro filters. Brain isn’t keeping up with fingers this morning. ;-)

      • shootflyshoot

        Thanks for sharing Carole! I’d love to eventually upgrade also. I love experimenting with macro! :)

  • Sabrina

    Are these different than extension tubes? Seems like it would be since they’re filters and all, but sounds like they do the same thing.

    • shootflyshoot

      Hey Sabrina! They are different than extension tubes, but they accomplish the same thing. I’ve never used extension tubes, but Josh seems to think that it’s easier to auto focus with the filters. Thanks for the comment! -kevin

  • Creative Kristi

    I was just thinking I would love to try some macro shots but didn’t want to purchase a lens. This is perfect! Thanks so much!

    • shootflyshoot

      Thank you Kristi! :)

  • Jessica @ Dear Emmeline

    thanks for the tip! these look like a great inexpensive option!!

    • shootflyshoot

      Thanks Jessica! :)

  • sona

    Perhaps you can help. I have a Tamron 28-75, F2.8 MACRO lens I didn’t buy it knowing it said MACRO on it and don’t know how to use it that way. Any input for a total newbie?

    • shootflyshoot

      Hey there!
      Macro lenses come in different strengths and the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 is in the more normal range, so you can definitely use it as a normal lens as opposed to a true macro lens. Some macro lenses are considered 1:1 and that would be really close up shots, I believe the Tamron 28-75 is about 1:4 so you should be good to go! :)

  • sona

    Do these work on any mm lens or just within a certain range??

    • shootflyshoot

      They make these filters for a very wide range of focal lengths! If you search for your particular focal length I’m almost positive that you will find one!

  • Laurel Stephens

    Just ordered these close-up filters from your link (super easy), and am excited to give them a try!

    • shootflyshoot

      Awesome! Let us know how they work out! :)

  • Danielle

    Very cool idea! I love the look of those photos. I will need to try this.

    • shootflyshoot

      That’s great Danielle! Please let us know what you think! :)

  • Ms. Lizzy

    Can’t wait to pick some up!!! Thanks for such great tips all of the time!

    • shootflyshoot

      Thank you! :)

  • vibha212

    Quick question – I have a Canon lens with a 72mm filter ring and another with a 58 mm ring. Do you know which would be better to use these macro lenses on? I would like to purchase one set but don’t know if which lens it is easier to use with. Thanks in advance!