Macro Flash Tips & Techniques



Plop a flash on top of your camera and start firing away, and you're not likely to be accused of masterful lighting. Outdoors, the best light for macro photography is a bright, overcast sky where the thin cloud diffuses sunlight and acts as a giant softbox. Shaping light is a vital photography skill. There are several ring flash adapters available that all work pretty much the same way: They attach to the front of your camera's flash unit and redirect the light to a ring-shaped channel that wraps around your lens.

Kandee Johnson , a YouTube beauty tutorial pioneer with over 3.6 million subscribers, told me at the Benefit event, "With this light, you just look instantly beautiful." She said she's been using one for a few years and first heard about it from a fellow vlogger, Judy Travis of It's Judy Time Travis had been getting so many questions about the lighting in her videos that she eventually did a tutorial revealing everything.

Macro photography requires a set of tools that can be as basic as a standard lens with a simple accessory, such as an extension tube, or as specialized as a dedicated macro lens. This means the light produces no shadows visible to the camera—at least no typical shadows.

If you take the time to experiment with different shooting angles and manually adjusting the exposure within the camera app, you can actually use bright light to emphasize shapes, lines, textures and patterns in your subjects. When backlighting, the use of a white or silver reflector is pretty important as the front of your subject is facing completely away from the light source.

This means that you need to employ slower shutter speeds than you might want in order to achieve the correct exposure - you have to drag the shutter to allow a sufficient amount of time for enough light to gather at the camera's sensor. Such ring lights prevent any distortion on the final image, reducing your post-processing time.

I bought a studio kit for around $110 which included a backdrop frame and white and black screens plus 3 box lights and stands. There is nothing to set and since the strobe is on the end of your port, the light goes where you aim the camera. Angle your lights down at the product and set each to the same power.

Finally, keep in mind you'll need to provide the light stand in this setup—as with many lighting accessories, Flashpoint's Ring Light comes a la carte. For iamrmitsharma portrait photography, another interesting ring light effect is the captivating light caught in the eyes of your subject.

Whatever type of lighting kit you invest in, we recommend getting at least two sources to ensure you have ample light. If I was asked for my perfect macro flash bracket today, I'd want one that's made of lightweight materials, holds at least two flashes securely and allows plenty of versatility in the positioning of the flashes.

One of the easiest and most efficient lighting setups for apparel photography can be created with a large window and natural sunlight streaming through it. Below is an example of this setup as a bird's-eye-view diagram so that you can visualize the setup before you try it.

The correct way of using a ring light is to use it around the camera lens to capture the focus in the eyes. So with the exact same setup and lighting, you can create a completely different shot. Non-diffused direct light will cast hard shadows on an object, which can be desirable or not depending on what the photographer wants.

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