Macro Lighting Advice

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Brandon birder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,724
Re: Macro Lighting Advice
2

jimhughes wrote:

Until now, all my insect photos were with natural light.

But I recently an LED ring flash and I'm liking what it can do as 'fill'. I just wrote a blog post about this:

https://jimhphoto.com/index.php/2020/08/16/insect-macro-with-led-ring-flash/

Interesting link you wrote on FP mode and the Neewer LED flash.

I've just started on macro and also bought a Neewer LED flash. One week actually.

I tend to use it with the light on like a video light, only it's a ring light.

I also use focus stacking and the camera makes the stack for me.

So with the camera set to 1/500s iso 1250 and f 2.8 it can get well lit images with this cheap lighting set up.

Anyway it was fairly easy to get decent stacked images handheld. Takes about 1/2 second to take 15 images.

This is my first macro. The spider is about 7mm leg tip to leg tip.

Anyway would like to hear how the Olympus macro flash pans out.

 Brandon birder's gear list:Brandon birder's gear list
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jimhughes
jimhughes Senior Member • Posts: 1,382
Re: Macro Lighting Advice
1

Brandon birder, that in-camera stacking seems to be working really well.  It does limit you to JPG of course, but in this case that hardly matters.

The Neewer light isn't very powerful but when you can work at f2.8 it gets the job done.

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www.jimhphoto.com

Joe94
OP Joe94 Regular Member • Posts: 375
Re: Macro Lighting Advice

Brandon birder wrote:

jimhughes wrote:

Until now, all my insect photos were with natural light.

But I recently an LED ring flash and I'm liking what it can do as 'fill'. I just wrote a blog post about this:

https://jimhphoto.com/index.php/2020/08/16/insect-macro-with-led-ring-flash/

Interesting link you wrote on FP mode and the Neewer LED flash.

I've just started on macro and also bought a Neewer LED flash. One week actually.

I tend to use it with the light on like a video light, only it's a ring light.

I also use focus stacking and the camera makes the stack for me.

So with the camera set to 1/500s iso 1250 and f 2.8 it can get well lit images with this cheap lighting set up.

Anyway it was fairly easy to get decent stacked images handheld. Takes about 1/2 second to take 15 images.

This is my first macro. The spider is about 7mm leg tip to leg tip.

Anyway would like to hear how the Olympus macro flash pans out.

Very nice shots! I have only used the STF-8 a couple of time since getting it, due to the weather not being brilliant and the awful wind not being the best conditions for Macro.. However the test I have done, I find it perfect for just going out into the garden finding a subject and taking the shot without having to set too much up.

I can also see it has some good potential to be able to start getting creative with it & using it to blend flash with daylight.

Brandon birder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,724
Re: Macro Lighting Advice

jimhughes wrote:

Brandon birder, that in-camera stacking seems to be working really well. It does limit you to JPG of course, but in this case that hardly matters.

The Neewer light isn't very powerful but when you can work at f2.8 it gets the job done.

Hi Jim,

Even though the in camera stacking is jpg and mainly good enough if the camera is set to raw and jpg it also saves the individual images and raws. These can be put into a cheap app £14.99 on the MAC which will do the focus stacking really well and allow easy  image mask correction too.

You're  right the Neewer light is just powerful enough and light enough to take along in a small sling bag.

 Brandon birder's gear list:Brandon birder's gear list
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BGD300V1
BGD300V1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,488
My Cheap, portable solution.
1

Joe94 wrote:

Morning everyone,

Im after some advice, I’m look for the best lighting option for macro photography (insects, flowers etc..) for my Olympus & am trying to decide whether I’m better of getting the STF-8 Macro Twin Flash or use a single speadlight with some kind of diffusion?

many thanks,
Joe

I do like natural light but flash does have it's uses.  So do LED lights.  Sometimes the pre-flash spooks the bugs.

https://birdsnbugs.com/2011/01/03/using-flash-for-closeup-work/ has some options but I have started carrying around a really simple solution.  A bit of aluminium foil folded to fit around the top of my flash and held in place by a rubber band from a broccoli bunch.

Here is the Phoil Photon Phlinger with a couple of samples using it.  It does not eliminate shadows but does soften them.

I use it with High Speed Sync so I can use higher speeds for stopping motion when needed.

It is folded over several times to have some stiffness and can be curved convex or concave as needed.

The Phoil Photon Phlinger posing

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I'm a photographer, Jim, not a graphic artist!
My photo blog: http://birdsnbugs.com
RF Stock Portfolio - http://www.dreamstime.com/resp129611

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Joe94
OP Joe94 Regular Member • Posts: 375
Re: My Cheap, portable solution.

BGD300V1 wrote:

Joe94 wrote:

Morning everyone,

Im after some advice, I’m look for the best lighting option for macro photography (insects, flowers etc..) for my Olympus & am trying to decide whether I’m better of getting the STF-8 Macro Twin Flash or use a single speadlight with some kind of diffusion?

many thanks,
Joe

I do like natural light but flash does have it's uses. So do LED lights. Sometimes the pre-flash spooks the bugs.

https://birdsnbugs.com/2011/01/03/using-flash-for-closeup-work/ has some options but I have started carrying around a really simple solution. A bit of aluminium foil folded to fit around the top of my flash and held in place by a rubber band from a broccoli bunch.

Here is the Phoil Photon Phlinger with a couple of samples using it. It does not eliminate shadows but does soften them.

I use it with High Speed Sync so I can use higher speeds for stopping motion when needed.

It is folded over several times to have some stiffness and can be curved convex or concave as needed.

The Phoil Photon Phlinger posing

Hello, thank you for this, I will give the link a read. Also really nice images too! Particularly like the middle one

a_c_skinner Forum Pro • Posts: 10,094
Re: Macro Lighting Advice
1

A bit late to this, apologies.

I spent a while firing a big flash into a big white umbrella.  Nice soft light but a lot of clobber to carry.

White dead nettle

Latterly I've down sized gear and have been using the tiny on camera flash but making an effort to balance it with the available illumination.

Yellow Star of Bethlehem

It isn't always possible to do this well, but the saving of cost and weight does compensate a good deal.  Bit more here .

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Andrew Skinner

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Joe94
OP Joe94 Regular Member • Posts: 375
Re: Macro Lighting Advice

a_c_skinner wrote:

A bit late to this, apologies.

I spent a while firing a big flash into a big white umbrella. Nice soft light but a lot of clobber to carry.

White dead nettle

Latterly I've down sized gear and have been using the tiny on camera flash but making an effort to balance it with the available illumination.

Yellow Star of Bethlehem

It isn't always possible to do this well, but the saving of cost and weight does compensate a good deal. Bit more here .

Morning Andrew, thank you very much  for this, very much appreciated

Firstly can I just say brilliant images. Since writing this post, I have actually gone down the same sort of route/thinking of yourself and have actually purchased the Olympus STF-8 Macro Twin Flash kit.

My reasoning is again pretty much the same as your reasoning, I had an old LED panel but found that like you say, it’s hard to balance and blend this with the natural light available. so then after reading some of the very kind comments I tried to adapt my standard flash speed light, with different homemade diffusion, off & off camera, but again just found it quite cumbersome, a pain to set up each time (especially when using off camera) and the actual light was most of the time it was a bit too much light even in manual mode lowest setting do to the physical size of the speed light and GN. However I did find it easier to blend with the natural light, especially in manual mode.

So following this I decided to go for the STF-8 Macro Twin Flash kit and I have to say it brilliant and perfect for macro in my opinion! For starts the flash heads are perfect size/GN for most everyday macro situations, It’s lightweight, easy to attach to the camera/lens & once on its there ready to go, with just a couple of easy dials to set from TTL mode to manual mode where you can change the power & even choose whether you use both or just one of the flash heads at once. I also find the following to be a brilliant feature, especially when trying to blend with natural light, as you can also move each flash head around a 360 degree ring, which enables you to position the flatheads based on where the natural light is or to help create creative lighting. And to add to this you can also remove the flash heads from the ring easily, which are attached to a good length cord, so you can then even hold one/both head(s) behind/or around a subject if you so wish too.

I do agree that there may be time when a larger flash speed light maybe more suite, for example if your doing macro/close up, in a studio style set up or even a time when and LED panel may be handy for certain situations where flash may just not be good for colours ect. However again this being said for me most of the time when shooting macro, I’m going in the garden or going for a walk with the camera & macro lens, to find bugs, flowers and fungus ext to shoot... and it’s in this situation that I find the STF-8 to be the perfect companion, for the reasons I have explained above. 🙂

a_c_skinner Forum Pro • Posts: 10,094
Re: Macro Lighting Advice
1

You are most kind.  The Gagea picture I took at several shutter speeds and the one I've posted was a good balance of flash and daylight leaving the background well lit.  Balancing flash and daylight was talked about a lot in the olden days, before auto flash exposure, basically the aperture (and flash TTL!) controls the flash exposure and the shutter speed controls the ambient.  OIS helped as the balance was at 1/30th.  Happily with digital you can just experiment unlike in film days!

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Andrew Skinner

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