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Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

Setting up a macro-specific flash unit


From:

Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

with Ben Long

Video: Setting up a macro-specific flash unit

In the last movie, you saw a simple example of using a regular external strobe, both with and without a softbox or diffuser, to help get some light into your macro scenes. There are dedicated macro flash units that you might want to consider if you get serious about macro photography, especially if you get serious about macro flash photography. You may have heard of a ring light. That is a type of flash that goes right around the edge of your lens, and has a ring of lights. I don't have one here, because I just don't really recommend using a ring light. It leads to a very flat kind of lighting. And, it also creates a very specific kind of reflection inside anything that's shiny in your scene, like water droplets, or people's eyes, or things like that.
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  1. 3m 54s
    1. Welcome
      2m 17s
    2. What you need to know for this course
      1m 37s
  2. 20m 33s
    1. What is close up?
      2m 21s
    2. Understanding minimum focus distance
      3m 55s
    3. Comparing wide lens and telephoto
      1m 55s
    4. Understanding depth of field and focus
      2m 11s
    5. Working with extension tubes
      4m 30s
    6. Working with close-up lenses
      5m 41s
  3. 28m 7s
    1. What is a macro photo?
      4m 15s
    2. Understanding how to shoot macro with a reversed lens
      5m 37s
    3. Using a point-and-shoot camera for macro
      1m 55s
    4. Working with backdrops for macro
      3m 45s
    5. Practicing macro by shooting in the kitchen
      12m 35s
  4. 58m 38s
    1. Choosing a macro lens
      2m 4s
    2. Exploring macro lens features: Focal length
      3m 16s
    3. Understanding macro lens shutter speed
      7m 6s
    4. Shooting basics with a macro lens
      8m 24s
    5. Getting closer with macro lenses and extension tubes
      11m 13s
    6. Working with depth of field and macro
      5m 1s
    7. Understanding depth and composition in macro
      6m 43s
    8. Working with subject holders and support
      6m 36s
    9. Shooting with the Canon 65 mm
      8m 15s
  5. 13m 12s
    1. Working with macro stabilizing options
      5m 45s
    2. Working with sliders for macro
      2m 44s
    3. Working with a bellows
      1m 55s
    4. Working with viewfinders in macro
      2m 48s
  6. 52m 59s
    1. Working with direct light
      6m 13s
    2. Macro and the angle of light
      2m 24s
    3. Augmenting direct light with reflectors
      6m 42s
    4. Continuous lighting to add fill to a macro shot
      5m 55s
    5. Lighting your macro scene with continuous light
      4m 50s
    6. Lighting the macro scene with strobes
      4m 59s
    7. Setting up a macro-specific flash unit
      3m 21s
    8. Shooting with the Canon Macro Twin Lite
      7m 56s
    9. Shooting macro in a light tent
      3m 31s
    10. Shooting macro on a light table
      7m 8s
  7. 19m 44s
    1. Field shooting for macro, starting at home
      7m 5s
    2. Managing backgrounds in the field
      7m 39s
    3. Shooting macro water droplets
      5m 0s
  8. 56m 19s
    1. Creating a simple manual focus stack
      4m 40s
    2. Creating a focus stacked image with manual merge
      6m 17s
    3. Creating a focus stacked image using Helicon Remote
      11m 6s
    4. Working with a StackShot rail for focus stacking
      11m 46s
    5. Merging a focus stack with Photoshop
      11m 12s
    6. Merging photo stacks with Helicon
      6m 53s
    7. Understanding the aesthetics of depth of field
      4m 25s
  9. 1m 5s
    1. Next steps
      1m 5s

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Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up
4h 14m Intermediate Mar 29, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

It's a small world, and capturing it with a photograph can be challenging. In this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long takes you on a fantastic voyage into the realm of the tiny, detailing the gear and shooting techniques necessary to capture extreme close-ups of everything from products to posies.

After touring the possibilities of macro photography, the course details essential gear at several price levels, including lenses, flashes, and other accessories. Next, Ben explores the special challenges of macro photography: dealing with moving subjects, working with extremely shallow depth of field, focusing, lighting, and more.

The course also explores advanced close-up tools and post-processing techniques, such as using Adobe Photoshop to "stack" multiple shots to yield wider depth of field than a single shot can convey.

Topics include:
  • What is a macro photograph?
  • What is a macro lens?
  • Finding good subject matter
  • Evaluating macro gear like extension tubes and tilt-shift lenses
  • Composing and framing shots
  • Exploring depth of field
  • Lighting macro shots
  • Working with light tables
  • Editing macro shots
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Photography Foundations Lighting
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Ben Long

Setting up a macro-specific flash unit

In the last movie, you saw a simple example of using a regular external strobe, both with and without a softbox or diffuser, to help get some light into your macro scenes. There are dedicated macro flash units that you might want to consider if you get serious about macro photography, especially if you get serious about macro flash photography. You may have heard of a ring light. That is a type of flash that goes right around the edge of your lens, and has a ring of lights. I don't have one here, because I just don't really recommend using a ring light. It leads to a very flat kind of lighting. And, it also creates a very specific kind of reflection inside anything that's shiny in your scene, like water droplets, or people's eyes, or things like that.

I prefer something like this. It's maybe a little unwieldy, but this is a twin light. This is one made by Canon. There are lots of variations of this on the market. And, what I like about this is it gives me a lot of flexibility with the positioning of the flash units themselves. And, as you can see, it is so simple to get on. It actually is. It just goes on the hot shoe there. This is the main control unit. This is where the batteries are. It's where all of the controls for the flash are. It comes with this thing, which just snaps to the front of the lens, very easily, and it's got these two little brackets. These are two just tiny, little strobes, and they slide right in here.

Now, what I like about this is they are positioned to shine right down onto my subject. And, as you can see, I can tilt them here, so if my subject is a little bit further out, I can aim them out there. If it's right in front of the lens, I have got the 65 mm macro on, so the focus distance is so short that things are usually are right in front of the lens. I can tilt them down like that. What's also cool is they slide around the ring. So, if I want really strong side lighting, I can get that. If I want to create some more unusual lighting options, I can do that.

But wait, there's more! Because you can also take the flashes off of the little ring thing here, and you can move them around. If you got little stands, you can set them up in different places. So, really a lot of flexibility here. From the back of the unit, I can control ratioing from the camera. Or the back of the unit, I can control overall flash power. This will also work with Canon's 100 mm macro. However, to do that, you have to buy this special macro light adapter ring, which screws onto the filter threads on the end of the lens, and allows that clip thing to fit to the front.

I find, in general, this system works a little bit better with a 65, than it does with the 100. I have trouble getting things pointed in the right way with the 100, because the focusing distance is longer. I probably just need to practice more. One thing I should say here is this thing puts out a lot of light. I have yet to get it to work real well like this. And, in my experience, the flashes always needs to be diffused. And so, I have these little flash diffusers. These are made specifically for this Canon twin light system. They're not made by Canon. They are third-party. You Google around on flash diffusers for the Canon macro twin light, you'll find a number of different options.

So, I really like these. These cut down the light a lot. They diffuse it, so that it is a little bit softer, and generally calm the flash down, and make it a lot easier to work with. You're going to see this thing in action in the next movie, and I think it'll give you a better idea of what you can do with it.

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