Macro Photography: How and Why You Should Use a Third Hand

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If you follow my blog at all, you know how much I love using a third hand in my macro photography work. Using a third hand is useful in many ways, including, it gives you the freedom to pose your flowers the way you want. It allows you to have whatever background you want (more on that later!) and it also allows you to isolate your flowers. For these reasons alone, you should buy a third hand. They are so handy (pun intended) and I love mine! Also, it’s very affordable. This makes it the perfect gift for photographers. The holidays are coming up, so make sure you get one for yourself or a fellow photographer friend!

need help getting started in macro? check out my 3 Tips to Getting Started in Macro Photography post

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taken with: Nikon 105mm 2.8
my settings were: ISO 800 | f/5.0 | 1/400ss

the setup

First of all, what is a third hand? It’s this fancy little metal thing that allows you to clip things on it. It has two on each end. My third hand came with a magnifying glass that I just removed (it can get in the way, but it’s really easy to remove!). Once you have your third hand, and a bundle of flowers (I buy mine from Kroger, but I may one day upgrade to something else), you’re ready for the setup. The image below is nothing fancy, I just really wanted to show you how I set up my shots for macro. I have a nice white table (find one similar here) that I took the legs off of and then for added effect and color, I used a scarf I had laying around. That’s one nice trick to do. Use a scarf, a shirt, fabric, anything that can add color to your macro image. You can see my setup in the image below.


Based on this setup (I also want to point out the water bottle I used, that comes in very handy to add texture to your macro images. And the clothespin, those can help isolate your subject, like in this case where the flowers are on the same stem) I got the image below:


taken with: Nikon 105mm 2.8
my settings were: ISO 800 | f/5.0 | 1/400ss

get creative

So with a third hand, you don’t have to keep the flowers upright. You can get creative to get different type of shots. Turn your flower upside down. Have it far away from your background, or up close. The third hand is great because it can also be placed on ledges and wont fall off. I really really love the third hand, if you can’t tell. It allows you to get such amazing images at such a small price.



taken with: Nikon 105mm 2.8
my settings were: ISO 1250 | f/5.0 | 1/320ss

why you should use one

I feel like I’ve already pointed out why you should use a third hand. But in case you need another push to buy one, here it is. Photography accessories are usually expensive. The third hand is not. It’s under ten dollars. You really can’t beat that. Another reason is because it will take your macro photography to the next level. I definitely believe once I bought and started using the third hand, that my macro photography got about 10 times better. Once you start using the color wheel to your advantage and adding in backgrounds that will help make your flower shine, your images become more professional. At least in my opinion. 😉

Having a third hand will make your life easier. Who wouldn’t want that? So, do yourself a favor and go order one now. Your macro photography will thank you for it. Get creative and see what you can do with it.

What questions do you have about macro photography? Comment below!

Written by

I am a photographer, a wife, a sister, and a momma to a sweet boy and a sweet girl. I strive to capture the beauty in ordinary things. I love to photograph people, places, and things that I love and cherish. I am a lover of natural light, macro, lifestyle, and dark and moody images. I love Nikon, I'm not sure you could ever convince me to switch to any other brand! I love to use Lightroom and I love to connect to new people!

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