Mirror Lock up

posted in: Photography | 16
mirror lock up - pink lenten rose
mirror lock up - Lenten Rose: Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro 1:1, ISO 500, f2.8, 2900 degrees of kelvin WB, 1/10s

Here's one of my photography tutorials on mirror lock up when doing macro photography ...


"Some flowers are only smelled when going down on your knees to capture them".


However when it's cold, wet and the ground is so soggy during the winter months  it's easy to pick one of them and bring it indoors. Macro photography has always been my first love. Furthermore I'll spend hours with a flower. Consequently letting my lens get to know it a little better.


Just like in this example with a hellebore. For this shot I went for the more artistic look and kept the lens wide open.

Tips For Macrophotography

  • If you're using a DSLR camera I've found that the best way to take a macro indoors is by using a tripod.
  • Use a lightbox (mine's homemade).
  • Turn off IS/VR unless your lens has tripod detection.
  • Mirror lock up won't work in automatic mode.
  • Manually focus.
  • Or use a remote/timer
Mirror lock up disabled (left) vs enabled (right). Canon 7D with 1/10 second shutter speed.
Mirror lock up disabled (left) vs enabled (right). Canon 7D with 1/10 second shutter speed.

Mirror Lock Up Video

The video is for Canon Rebel users. But for 7d users it's on the C.Fn III Autofocus Drive :13 screen. When I originally posted this I was using a Canon 7D. Nowadays I use a 5D Mark III. Under 1 select mirror lock up then press <set>. Then select [enable] and press <set>. Nikon users will have to check their manuals to see if their model allows this feature.


Just don't forget to change your settings back to disable the lockup once you've finished the shooting session. Or on your next shoot you'll look through your viewfinder, click the shutter button and see nothing. Then slightly panic until you remember what you were last doing with the camera ...I speak from experience!

Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. She also writes and shares her nature images on www.irelandbirdphotography.com

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16 Responses

  1. Gardening in a Sandbox

    I am envious of your hellibore. Such gorgeous flowers. We won't see any until the end of March maybe. Thanks for the tut on lock up. I have to give it a try. Valerie

  2. Ellie

    That is a gorgeous picture and a great tutorial. I've not heard of mirror lockup before – but I've got a lot to learn :))

  3. Kim Stevens

    Since I don't do many pics inside (although I might with the making of your lightbox tutorial I have been wanting to do)I haven't as of yet explored my mirror lock-up much. I have a nikon D7000 and they put mirror lock-up on a dial on the top of the camera for easy access! Your photo is gorgeous, I pinned it of course! ; )

  4. Gretchen

    Hmm… I'm going to have to play around a little with this info. Thank you! AND gorgeous shot… love that you took it indoors!

  5. Leslee

    LOVE that flower shot!!

    I am in the market for a macro lens and appreciate your tips.

  6. Tricia

    What a beautiful photo! I love your tips too. I've never tried to do a mirror lock up, but now I'm interested in seeing how it would affect my photos 🙂

  7. alicia

    wow! it's exquisite! thanks for the tips! i could use some work in this area! happy belated ww!

  8. Michelle

    Rosie —

    Yay! Your lens arrived (figured for sure it had by now! :-D) and look at you rocking it already! I love the focus and dof on the flower shot — and that color board is awesome, too!

    Thanks for the tips — while I've heard of mirror lockup before, I haven't really messed with it except to clean my camera…. hum…. maybe some new playing is in order!

    hehe… you're so funny! I'd probably do something like that too!!

  9. Sarah

    Oh I have done mirror lock up for cleaning but I haven't done it for macro. I will have to check that out. thank you.

  10. Judy


    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your macro shot and the information about locking up the mirror. I had read about that before, but I haven't tried it yet. I will next time. Thanks again.


  11. Doug Nienhuis

    I can really relate to your comment about panicking when the camera is in Mirror Lock Up mode and you don't know what is going on.

    I recently sent my Nikon D7000 in for a check under warranty. When the camera came back, I had an initial moment of panic because the shutter seemed to be defective. It wouldn't take a picture. After a few minutes and checking over the camera, I realized that the technicians at Nikon had left the camera in the Mirror Lock Up mode.

    A professional might have recognized that immediately. However, I never use Mirror Lock Up and it took me a while to figure out what was going on. At least with a camera like the D7000, this mode is clearly visible on a dial on top of the camera. If it were buried deep in the menu systems, it probably would have taken me a lot longer to find it. Anyway, it seems that even if you don't use Mirror Lock Up, it is good to be aware of it – particularly if you send in your camera for repairs or cleaning. The technicians might leave it in that setting.