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How to create fabulous macro images on a budget

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Macro photography is fantastic, but the lenses are often specific and a little on the expensive side. Especially if you just want to try it out. If you’re not even sure that’s a genre you want to seriously shoot. But there are loads of options available to create fabulous macro images on a budget.

Macro lenses and alternatives on a budget


I guess the obvious point to mention is to rent a macro lens or two and try them out. This is a cheaper option than buying one outright for a short period of time. Check your local area and camera stores etc. to see who has what and what their rental terms are. Some are 3-6 months rental, while others are by the week.

You can borrow one from a trusty friend (I did that when I bought my 50mm macro, I borrowed a friend’s 50mm lens for a week and then decided). Other options included buying secondhand. There are some great secondhand camera dealers around. Of course, this is still putting a macro lens on your camera. What do you do if none of these is an option?

Extension Tubes

Extension tubes are roughly 1/10th the price of a macro lens. The benefit is you can use them on ANY lens you own. The tubes fit between your camera and lens and create magnification — hence the macro effect. You can even add them to a Zoom lens for an incredible range. They also allow you to get closer to your subject than the lens would normally allow.

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Vello extension tubes on a Sony a7RIII

The below roses were captured with a Tamron 300mm lens and extension tubes on a Sony a7RIII, as you can see I got quite close shots.

Macro Filters

Another option is macro filters. I had never used these until I got my Lensbaby lenses, so I am sure there are probably different types.

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Macro filters

The below images were captured with my Sweet80 lens and the 4X macro filter.

There are of course cheaper options lens-wise for some creative macro, especially from Lensbaby, Velvet56. Yes, it is buying another lens, but they are often much cheaper than traditional macro lenses.

So next time you wish you could shoot macro, but can’t really justify the cost of a new lens, try out these ideas to create fabulous macro images on a budget.

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