As you may have noticed, I’ve been experimenting with macro photography a lot lately. Thus far, I’ve been simply attempting to get some nice shots. I’ve staged some things, spritzed water on some things and tried to see how lighting affects my what I’m taking pictures of. What I haven’t done is to experiment with flash.
I’ve also been watching quite a few videos on macro photography, which by the way make me feel slightly inadequate. These video offer some really great tips – one of them being a suggestion to use various flash types when engaging in this type of photography.
Since I don’t have an external flash yet, I decided that today I would use my standard pop-up flash to compare a few relatively simple shots – using the flash vs. not using the flash. I’ll post the photos below.
My results taught me something. They taught me that flash is a necessary part of macro photography. Not only did it alter the lighting of the subject (less than I had imagined), it enhanced the color saturation, resolution and focus. Needless to say, flash makes a big difference.
In the photos below, you may notice that the non-flash pictures are slightly out of focus, while the flash ones are much more clear. You’ll also notice the better color and the lack of “graininess” on the flash photos as well. If you can’t see that, it’s because I already ran these through Photoshop. Those attributes were much more prevalent before editing.
How did I take these photos? I used a Canon T3i, a 18-135mm kit lens (at 135mm) and three stackable Hoya close-up lens filters (+1, +2, +4). I used a SLIK PRO 700DX Professional Tripod for this shoot. The photos were taken in the shade of a garage and the standard pop-up flash was used for comparison.
Now, on the Hydrangea leaves you might recognize that the non-flash photo actually looks better than the one I used the flash for. This may be because the lighting was sufficient already for that subject and that the flash caused less detail to be displayed. I suppose a whole lot more practice will make this type of thing more obvious as time goes on.