Advice on Macro Photography


Mar 31, 2011
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#1
Hi all,

wanted to ask about flash options for macro photography. Is a macro ring flash absolutely essential or you can do without it?

Also, what other flashlight options are there, so that I can shoot macros with a deeper depth of field?

Thank you.
 

spree86

Senior Member
Feb 3, 2009
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Bishan
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#3
Hi all,

wanted to ask about flash options for macro photography. Is a macro ring flash absolutely essential or you can do without it?

Also, what other flashlight options are there, so that I can shoot macros with a deeper depth of field?

Thank you.
Most people who I shoot with don't use a macro ring flash, me included. Deeper DOF is all on aperture settings, since you are so close to the insect, any flash is more than enough to light up your subject.
 

Bukitimah

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2010
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#4
Is flash necessary for macro? Will aperture setting do the trick? Won't the insect runs away due to flash? So far, I have yet to use flash and my only problem is steady hands. I use a tripod, sometimes modified as mono-pod!
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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#6
Bukitimah said:
Is flash necessary for macro? Will aperture setting do the trick? Won't the insect runs away due to flash? So far, I have yet to use flash and my only problem is steady hands. I use a tripod, sometimes modified as mono-pod!
Problem is, when shooting subjects so close, your dof is so thin at small apertures, if you open up the aperture, your dof will be even thinner. So unless you do focus stacking, many times flash is the way to go.
 

ortega

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Staff member
Nov 2, 2004
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#7
it is easier with a flash, the colours will be nicer too
a dedicated macro ring flash will also make the direction of the light less from the top and more from the front and you can also have different ratios to create some shadows

it is up to you, i started of with just the pop up flash and then moved to a SB800 with a DIY diffuser and finally i have a dedicated macro flash used together with the SB800 and pop up flash if necessary, normally as commander.
 

NikF601

Senior Member
Jul 26, 2010
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#8
ext flash with difffuser
 

blueskye168

Senior Member
Aug 28, 2006
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#9
What I'd suggest for a start it'd be better to do with an Ext. Flash ( need not be necessarily Powerful...so as to avoid "too-Harsh" &/or "Overexposed"...), as to whether or not be it mounted on hotshoe or off-camera-cable or wireless, up to individual, with DIY - Diffuser with "Left & Right" sort of "tunneling" = one white-inner-surface & the other inner-side with 'alum-shiny-silver-foil'-to create sort-of 2:1 lighting...you see...!!!;)

May or may not look nice of that DIY-Tunneling though...;)
 

Bukitimah

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2010
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#10
Now I see and understand more. I use to 'bring' subject to a brighter spot but most times, it is not easy. When you flash at them, won't they run away? If your first shot is bad then that is the end!
 

bonrya

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2010
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In a mobile cage
#12
Bukitimah said:
Now I see and understand more. I use to 'bring' subject to a brighter spot but most times, it is not easy. When you flash at them, won't they run away? If your first shot is bad then that is the end!
You and TS should join some macro outings to see what the seniors here do during the shoot. not saying you can't have your own method of shooting. But we can always compare tips. :)

Bukitimah, you said "When you flash at them, won't they run away?" the answer is no. During early mornings and late nights they are more busy relaxing or sleeping than bothering about you. Unless you make sudden movements or flick them away. There are some insects that are naturally jittery, but not all of them are like that and most of them (except e.g. the long legged fly) won't fly the moment they see a flash. ;)
 

spree86

Senior Member
Feb 3, 2009
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#13
Bukitimah said:
Now I see and understand more. I use to 'bring' subject to a brighter spot but most times, it is not easy. When you flash at them, won't they run away? If your first shot is bad then that is the end!
Haha flash till they mabok then want to run also cannot:bsmilie:
 

zac08

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2005
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#14
I have done macro in various ways since day 1.
Without flash, then you'd need both the camera and subject to be prefectly stationary for the whole duration of the exposure and it may take some time if the light isn't good. So this is not actually a good idea unless you are shooting still life in a fixed location (where there will be no wind or movement).

With a monopod or hand-held, I would need an external flash (esp. with the long barrels of the macro lenses fully extended) to reach over the lens and reach the subject without shadows. Controlling the light is the key here and with a suitably controlled amount of light, you can reach quite a few subjects and still not spook them too much.

Using tripods would be the better option if you intend to stack shots and/or the subject is not very mobile. With this form of set-up, you can elect to use hot-shoe mounted flash, remote flashes on arms or any other permutations. This also allows us to use macro rails which eases the focusing without changing the magnification ratio.

Remember to get a remote release also (wired or wireless) to prevent further shaking of the whole set-up.
 

Diavonex

Senior Member
Sep 23, 2008
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#15
Get a $10 mini-softbox and add translucent corrugated board infront and you are ready to go.

 

Bukitimah

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2010
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#16
Hey good tips. I have been shooting for a couple of months now, especially macro. I cannot say they are good but ok lah for a beginner like me. So far all my shots are without flash. I will try out flash the next time and compare.
 

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