How to use flash for macro photography.

Make your macro photography stand out by adding controlled light techniques to your images.

Macro photography allows us to see the world through new eyes, getting up-close and personal with everything from everyday objects to exotic insects. However, getting enough light to properly capture macro images can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you incorporate flash into your macro photography.

Four ways to use flash in macro photography.

Different lighting techniques can be used to capture the perfect macro image. Here are some of the best techniques for lighting your images with flash:

  1. Use a ring light: Ring lights produce an even light that is perfect for most macro photography. Because a ring light wraps around your lens, it allows you to get close to your subject without casting any hard shadows.
  2. Invest in a flash bracket: If you want to create more interesting lighting effects, invest in a flash bracket so you can mount your flash close to your subject — but off-camera — to prevent the more aggressive on-camera flash effect.
  3. Add modifiers to your flash: When shooting with a speedlight, invest in a diffuser cap to soften the hard light. If you’re using off-camera strobes, add softboxes and umbrellas to soften shadows and make colors pop.
  4. Know your flash’s sync speed: If you’re shooting fast-moving macro objects like insects, you’ll want a fast sync speed and a fast recycle speed. This ensures less down-time between flashes and the ability to shoot at a high shutter speed to freeze motion. Make sure your shutter speed and your sync speed are the same to properly capture your images.

It takes time and practice to learn to use flash in macro photography, but the results are well worth it. Adding flash to your macro photography will make your colors pop and allow you to freeze even the fastest moving subjects, resulting in pro-level images.

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