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Thread: Advice for flash for macro

  1. #1
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    Default Advice for flash for macro

    Hi everyone, just got my 430xii and I'm so damn excited.
    I plan to use it mainly for my macro attempts, and I'll try out with 1 flash first
    to see how things goes.

    Just a question for macro photographers out there, do you guys shoot using
    manual flash or E-TTL mode?

    P.S: If anybody is free to answer this, is getting a lumniquest softbox any good
    for macro shots?

    Well here's an attempt with the new flash + stofen diffuser.
    Thank god it was a caterpillar, so slow good for composing shots.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Just to add on, If i intend to get another flash, I understand it will be
    better to have a macro flash bracket am i right? I've heard of the wimberley
    flash bracket. What I'm afraid that it will disrupt the balance of my camera.
    I've seen some macro rigs on flickr, and it appears alot of users position the flash near to the lens.

    Can anyone explain to me why?

  3. #3
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Go do a search on the flash techniques for macro. Leong23 has mentioned some very good points, it all has to do with how you need to illuminate the shot and how you want to remove the shadows incurred.

    The closer the flash is to the lens, the larger the source, and thus would be softer as opposed to a far off strong narrow light.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

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    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Hi thanks for replying. Pardon me but I actually have another question in mind. ^^

    Lately I've been trying to master the art of fill-flash, mainly to use it in macro photography.
    I've read up on articles and studied my Canon 40D manual. From what I can gather, my camera
    make automatically sets the flash at fill flash when the mode is in AV or TV priority. Considering that
    I'm shooting macro, it will most probably be in AV mode to control the depth of field.

    So I've read some useful tips, on using spot metering to expose the bg and lock the exposure values,
    and then recompose the shot. I'm quite confused now, if my subject is being blocked my natural light,
    and its somewhat dark, wouldn't my camera set a slower shutter speed to accomodate my Fstop no.?
    How now brown cow?!! Someone suggested using a tripod, but carrying a tripod and setting it up takes up
    lots of time, especially when doing macro shots.

    Am I even doing fill-flash the correct way? Some advice?
    Thanks~

    Well, here's an attempt on fill-flash

  5. #5
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Well, the purist would advocate using a tripod.

    Personally, I shoot on the go and settle for a monopod or handheld. This is a personal preference and also depends on what you want to shoot and at wat kind of magnification. The max you can achieve in such senarios would be 1:1. Anything above that would require a tripod or very stable hands.

    As for your pic, it looks pretty good.a
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

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    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    Well, the purist would advocate using a tripod.

    Personally, I shoot on the go and settle for a monopod or handheld. This is a personal preference and also depends on what you want to shoot and at wat kind of magnification. The max you can achieve in such senarios would be 1:1. Anything above that would require a tripod or very stable hands.

    As for your pic, it looks pretty good.a
    Thanks for your compliments Michael! Well I don't have a monopod,
    is it feasible to use a tripod as a makeshift monopod? LOL make close
    the legs or something. By the way, would you care to explain the concept
    of fill-flash? Am I doing it the right way as described above?

  7. #7
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Quote Originally Posted by ricolarr View Post
    Thanks for your compliments Michael! Well I don't have a monopod,
    is it feasible to use a tripod as a makeshift monopod? LOL make close
    the legs or something. By the way, would you care to explain the concept
    of fill-flash? Am I doing it the right way as described above?
    Yes, you can use the tripod as a monopod, but it's heavier.

    As for the camera, what it does is to try to expose the picture correctly from how it meters the scene. Thus depending on your metering mode and what the scene is like, it may have quite a difference.

    Generally, I'd set my flash to a negative ev setting of -2.0 to use it as a fill-flash.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Based on what I understand from materials read and Zac08 explanation. The logic of taking the light reading from a particular area is to preserve that area in the picture. So in a typical situation of dim foreground with bright background situation, AE lock on back will preserved the background but the fore will be dark. This is where auxiliary light source comes in to illuminate the foregound objects without reaching the back.

    I believe the logic is the same for creating the black blackground with smallest aperture, low iso, then using short light to illuminate only the front subject.

    As I am just a camera man (not a photographer). For compound eyes insect, reflective eyes with another light focus light source will look nicer.

    Your pictures are well taken, I like the caterpillar shot.

    [QUOTE=ricolarr;5289086]
    So I've read some useful tips, on using spot metering to expose the bg and lock the exposure values,
    and then recompose the shot. I'm quite confused now, if my subject is being blocked my natural light,
    and its somewhat dark, wouldn't my camera set a slower shutter speed to accomodate my Fstop no.?
    QUOTE]

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    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Quote Originally Posted by spheredome View Post
    As I am just a camera man (not a photographer). For compound eyes insect, reflective eyes with another light focus light source will look nicer.

    Your pictures are well taken, I like the caterpillar shot.
    Hi thanks for the compliments. Hmm you are dead right there. The dragonfly's eyes are
    super reflective. Hmmm ok well I'll definitely try and see the results after I get my 2nd
    flash unit!
    Last edited by ricolarr; 24th July 2009 at 04:44 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Numnumball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for flash for macro

    Quote Originally Posted by ricolarr View Post
    Hi everyone, just got my 430xii and I'm so damn excited.
    I plan to use it mainly for my macro attempts, and I'll try out with 1 flash first
    to see how things goes.

    Just a question for macro photographers out there, do you guys shoot using
    manual flash or E-TTL mode?

    P.S: If anybody is free to answer this, is getting a lumniquest softbox any good
    for macro shots?

    Well here's an attempt with the new flash + stofen diffuser.
    Thank god it was a caterpillar, so slow good for composing shots.

    Great Shot Ricolarr
    I turned PRO in diaper chg!
    My Flickr|My Son

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