Macro Photography: To Flash or Not to Flash

In photography, a flash in macro photography is not as simple as it is in other situations. Due to the minuscule nature, everything is magnified, including the lighting.

Maximize Exposure

Whether you decide to accomplish this with flash or not, you should take every step to close down the iris as much as possible. The depth of field in macro photography is extremely fragile. Adding light will cause less complications in other areas.

Standard Flashes

You should not expect great results from a normal flash mounted on top of your camera. Not only will the light be too harsh, but the angle will cause intensely dramatic shadows. If you still insist on using your flash, take it off of the camera and add some diffusion. Sending it in from a side angle and countering it with some bounce fill from the opposite angle will be much more aesthetically pleasing.

Specialty Flashes

Manufacturers have designed flashes specifically for macro photography that are in the shape of a ring to wrap the front of the lens.  The soft nature and truly frontal angle help the light fill all the grooves in your subject smoothly. This nearly eliminates any semblance of contrast which may or may not be to your taste.

Macro photography can still benefit from a flash, but it will require some maneuvering to get the best results.

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