Macro Flash Buying Guide

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Macro Flash Buying Guide

Macro photography is increasingly popular and can be a lot of fun to experiment with. Essentially it is the close-up photography of small, interesting subjects, often those in the natural world such as insects, butterflies, and flowers. Different small areas of an object or subject can be photographed to highlight the detail and gain a different perspective than would be achieved with a photographer from a distance.
Macro photography often requires the use of specific macro lenses or extension tubes in order to magnify the subject and take close-up photographs. Macro lenses have the ability to focus at a very close distance to the subject, unlike many other lenses. In general, macro photography can be quite technical and requires a certain level of skill and knowledge as well as the specialist camera equipment. As with all types of photography, lighting is also one of the most important parts. For photography in general, including macro photography, without the correct amount of lighting, the photo will likely be underexposed or over exposed or may have harsh dark shadows created. A normal camera flashgun will add some light into a macro photography picture, but it will not be in the right position to properly illuminate the subject. There are different options for using flashes when taking close up photographs, but using the on-camera flash or a portable flash that sits on top of the camera can work in some situations but not in others. The flash head of these types of flashes sits above the lens, and as the lens is close to the object it is taking a photograph of, the light will go over the object or subject of the photograph. Some light will reach the subject, but it will not necessarily be in the correct place; most likely at the top and the bottom of the picture will be in darkness or dark shadows. An on-camera flash that isn't specifically designed for macro photography can also cause such things as unwanted light reflecting off a hard surface, for example, or a subject, such as a pet, having red eye. Sometimes direct flash will also cause the subject of the photograph to look flattened due to the harsh, unattractive light. A DSLR inbuilt flash, in particular, will also not have the power or range to correctly light up the scene. The best option for macro photography is to choose a dedicated set-up including flash for macro photographs.

Buying a Portable Flashgun for Macro Photography

As mentioned previously, a portable flashgun that sits on top of the camera is a step-up from the inbuilt camera flash, but is not always ideal for macro photography. It can be used and a decent photograph achieved, however, once some set-up rules are followed. To ensure that the light from this type of flash does not go over the subject of the photograph, causing only the top part to be lit up, the photographer must stand a certain distance away from the subject. The problem with this is that the close-up effect may not be achieved and the subject may not fill the frame if particularly small. Therefore, in order to use this type of flash successfully, either a macro telephoto lens must be purchased, such as a 180mm macro lens, or extension tubes can be used, which are placed between the body of the camera and a normal telephoto lens. The benefit of this set-up is that the photographer can use a flashgun that they probably already own for taking other types of photographs; for example, a Nikon Speedlight or Canon Speedlite. These types of flashes are readily available online at shops such as eBay, for example.

Buying a Ring Flash for Macro Photography

A ring flash is a flash unit that is circular and is placed around the lens. The light is therefore diffused and comes from all angles around the subject; this helps create photographs that are well-lit all over and do not have dark areas or under-lit areas. This is perhaps one of the best macro photography flash set-ups and one that photographers most often use. The only downside is that if the photographer is taking pictures of animals or insects, or in fact an object with a reflective surface, the ring flash can show up in the insects or animal's eyes as a ring of light, similarly on a reflective surface. This type of flash is not a problem for many subjects or objects, however. When buying a ring flash for macro photography, there are many different brands available, such as Canon and Nikon, and third party manufacturers, such as Nissin. When buying a flash, ensure that it is manufactured to work with the particular type of camera it is being purchased for use with, this is particularly imp
ortant when buying third party flashes as some will only work with Canon, some with Nikon etc.

Buying a Twin Flash Set-up for Macro Photography

The final option for shooting close up pictures of tiny objects is to use a twin-light flash set-up. There are specific set-ups available to buy such as a Nikon Wireless Close-up Speedlight Flash system. The twin flashes are set-up on either side of the camera, allowing light to come from both sides on to the subject. The benefit of this type of set-up for macro photography is that the lighting offers more depth than the ring flash, but the light is not all coming from one direction, such as when using a flashgun that sits on top of the camera. These types of systems may not be very cheap to buy, so using a portable camera flash that sits on top of the camera may be an acceptable option unless the photographer is particularly keen on macro photography. Here it may be wise to invest in a used model, especially if a beginner photographer.

Find a macro flashes for a DSLR on eBay

Macro flashes, such as those for DSLR's, can be bought from many different places. Camera shops and high-street stores are one choice, but buying from eBay is also a good option. To find macro flashes on eBay, start by opening the eBay homepage. Then head to the tab which is labelled All Categories. Click on the link labelled Cameras & Photography.. Following this, click on Flashes & Accessories.. From there, click the link for Flashes and then choose from the left hand filter the macro flash type required. Following these links will lead to the search results page showing only the type of flash which has been selected. As well as following the category links, macro flashes can be searched for on eBay by putting specific search terms into the search bar on any eBay page.


In order to take beautiful close-up photographs of subjects or tiny objects, macro photography using a macro lens and a macro flash is the best option. There are a few choices of different types of flash that a photographer can choose to buy when wanting to pursue macro photography. Many photographers will already have a portable flash which connects to the top of the camera. This can be used for macro photography but does not always light up the subject evenly, with much of the light going over the top of the subject, leaving the bottom of the picture dark. Another option to purchase is a macro ring flash, which is popular with macro photography enthusiasts and offers light from more directions as well as a more diffused type of light. Finally, there is the option of a macro twin system flash, where flashes are positioned on either side of the lens. Whichever option the photographer decides upon, when choosing which type of macro flash to buy, they will usually be available to buy from eBay, either new or second-hand.

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