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Is Macro Photography Expensive?

Bee on a sunflower, example of macro photography

Macro photography can get expensive very quickly, as can any genre of photography. The “toys” that  photographers buy tend to be very expensive indeed. But the entry price does not have to be extremely high. There are several options for beginners that are not nearly as high.

Camera options for Macro Photography

There are many options for someone wanting to purchase a camera that is capable of taking macro photographs. There are many point-and-shoot cameras that include a macro mode, and have enough magnification to allow adequate macro pictures to be taken. The down side is that although they will take acceptable pictures, the magnification used will usually exclude cropping without degradation.

DSLR cameras are slowly being phased out by manufacturers, creating a glut of used and discontinued models. This may be the best way to get into photography for those on a limited budget. Though mirrorless cameras are definitely the thing of the future, a quality DSLR will take high quality images with a reasonable investment. 

What Lenses do I need?

The primary consideration is the intended topic of your images. Static subjects allow a much broader range of lens focal lengths. There are a wide variety of focal lengths available in macro lenses for all of the popular brands of cameras. For insect photography you should ideally have a lens that is at least 100 mm and can focus as close as possible.  

Do I need a flash for Macro Photography? 

The short answer is maybe. It depends on what you are photographing, and where. Anything that moves, such as insects, will most likely require a macro flash. That is because you will be close, or using a long lens, and any little movement will be amplified. A flash will help you to “freeze” the motion. Daylight flash is very common for macro photography for this reason.  You could buy a specialized flash for use in macro photography, or you can get a specialized mount adapter that allows your existing flash to be used for macro photos. If you intend to do other types of photography that might benefit from a flash, this may be the most economical means of accomplishing that goal.


Macro photography, like other genres of photography, can definitely get very expensive at a fast rate. But there are ways to break into this field without breaking the bank. You can take quality macro photographs with some pretty inexpensive equipment, if you are willing to take the time to research the characteristics, and practice, practice, practice. If you get frustrated easily then macro photography is not for you.

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