From Rfusca's comment here: Why isn't the background towel visible in this still life?

She might have used a macro lens, but this definitely isn't a macro shot. Its not nearly 1:1 unless those are the smallest glasses ever,

I am about to get a reversing ring.
If I want to get the whole two vessels in the scene, and also wish to show every detail of the food, then will the normal serving dishes do, or I have to get some "tiniest" dishes?

I have understood his point wrong?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you put a reversal ring on most standard range lenses, there'll be no getting two of any dish in focus...your depth of field is shockingly short and so is your focus distance. Again, you don't need macro for food photography. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Apr 8, 2012 at 2:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rfusca You never replied to the previous comment. How would I then get the "details" of the food? the texture? I have 1.8G 50mm. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 8, 2012 at 2:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ By coincidence, I took a macro photograph of a head of garlic tonight: flickr.com/photos/coneslayer/6909289932/lightbox Is this what you have in mind? If not, you're not talking about macro. A place setting or a bowl of food or a glass of water is not macro photography. \$\endgroup\$
    – coneslayer
    Apr 8, 2012 at 2:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Anisha, the best way to show texture is through the lighting. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Apr 8, 2012 at 2:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @coneslayer No, I don't have that in mind. the reason for purchasing the macro, is that I want the food "texture" to be shown "clearly". \$\endgroup\$ Apr 8, 2012 at 2:46

2 Answers 2


I shoot food photos with a macro lens. However I am usually a meter or more away from the food. So I am using the lens like a portrait lens. Many food photographers would probably use a 70-200mm lens - you can get a shallow depth of field, but not like true macro, where the lens is virtually touching your subject and the depth of field is a mm or two.

If you use a reversing ring, that is completely different than a macro lens. With a macro lens you can back up from the food and frame it any way you like. But with a reversing ring, you will not be able to control focus with the lens. You will have to move the camera towards the food until it is in focus, and you will be very close. Again imagine your lens almost touching the food.

In the image you referenced, the camera was probably as much as a meter away from the subject, not a matter of a few cms. So yes, she used a macro lens, but it's not a macro shot. Reversing rings are not what you want for food. You want something between normal and moderate telephoto (50mm to 200mm). The macro lens she used is 100mm, so in the middle of that range.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You shoot with a macro lens because its a good lens, sharp, etc....not because you need the macro aspect, thats what I've been trying to say. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Apr 8, 2012 at 4:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, thanks, I have the 50mm 1.8F G prime lens. Hope that'll be helpful. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 8, 2012 at 4:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Anisha, that lens is fine for starting food photography. Smitten Kitchen uses it a lot, and she has some great photos. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 8, 2012 at 8:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ElendilTheTall Alright, thanks, now I have to figure out where to get the sunlight! Have grills on windows. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 8, 2012 at 12:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Take the food outside? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 8, 2012 at 12:31

No, you don't - well, not in the sense that you're asking.

That wasn't the point of the comment.

The comment was to indicate that the shot wasn't taken at 1:1 magnification (which is what a macro shot is) - because the objects in the picture are clearly larger than the camera sensor. You'd need dishes the size of thimbles. The comment was intended to help you realize that a macro lens may help with food photography by not limiting your focusing distance, but its not required nor do many food shots end up being macro shots.


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