Meeting Photo Challenges
Creative Image Processing
Nature & Outdoor
Creating Better Photographics
Night & Low Light Photography
Light & Exposure
Close-Up & Macro
Digital Black & White
Color & Design
Choosing & Using Lenses
Digital Photography Equipment
Using Flash For Macro; Up Close And Personal
Macro photography is endlessly fascinating. It opens your eyes to a world that most people never notice. Taking photographs of small, intriguing subjects, especially in nature, can be a life-long pursuit. It’s endlessly captivating as you can see in (#1), the foot of a poison dart frog, and (#2), a close encounter with a caterpillar. Macro photography is very technical, though, and it must be approached correctly or you won’t be happy with the results.
For example, in my online courses for www.BetterPhoto.com, I see many students submit close-ups of flowers, insects, faces of pets, etc., and they are blurred. The reason? They didn’t use a tripod. The problem is that the laws of photography conspire against photographers. The greater you magnify a small subject and the closer you get the narrower the depth of field becomes regardless of aperture and focal length. If you want more depth of field and use a small lens opening, the shutter speed becomes very slow. Hence, without a tripod, the photos will be blurred.
This is where flash comes in. A flash provides a huge amount of light when it’s used on-camera because it’s so close to the subject. That means you can have as much depth of field as you want and the shutter speed to freeze anything that might be moving.
Macro Flash Setups
Compare the photo of the red eye tree frog with the picture of the auratus frog (#4). Look at the light dispersion. Half of the image is darker than the other half, and this happened because I was too close to the subject. I used a 50mm macro that forced me to be physically close—in this case to my disadvantage. I angled the camera, which is why the light changes from right to left instead of top to bottom, but the point is that the flash was too high above the lens and I was too close to the frog to get even illumination.
If you use this lighting option, adding a diffusion device, as discussed, will spread the light in a shorter distance and therefore that will allow you to work closer. How close depends on which diffusion device and how long your lens is.
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