Purchase or Make Your Own Macro Photography Gear - dummies

Purchase or Make Your Own Macro Photography Gear

By Thomas Clark

A lot of specific equipment is available to macro photographers and in some cases it may be best for you to go ahead and purchase it. Still, sometimes you’re better off finding an alternative product or simply making your own equipment.

Here are some cases where you need to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Light reflectors

Any reflective surface can function as a reflector for bouncing light into your — even a white piece of foam core or poster board. You can cut these to any size you desire; they are lightweight, easily replaced, and no problem to store. The downside to this type of reflector is that it’s not stable in high winds and isn’t weather resistant.

You can make a more stable white reflector out of a thin piece of plywood that’s painted white. You could even attach foil to one side to make a multipurpose reflector. Foil provides a more intense light than a white reflector. A plywood reflector isn’t as easy to travel with as the foam core version.

A photo-specific light reflector comes in a round shape that is made of cloth material. You can twist the reflector down to a smaller size, making it easier to store and carry around.

This tool is more expensive than the other two options but typically comes with variable layers (diffusion, white, silver, gold, and black), making it a very versatile piece of equipment. This type of reflector holds up fine in inclement weather but tends to bend and is difficult to hold steady in high winds.

Grip materials

Some of the most common grip materials, such as clamps, putty, tape, and brushes are available in photography stores, but you can usually get a better deal if you buy them somewhere else. A photo-specific clamp may be made in the same exact factory as the clamps found at a general hardware store, but because it’s deemed for photography use it gets a higher price tag.

Go on a reconnaissance mission into your favorite photography supply store and look at the various grip materials that are available to macro and close-up photographers. Determine what you need based on your shooting style, and then figure out which items you can realistically find cheaper somewhere else and which items you can build yourself.