Macro flash solution

March 26, 2010

I’ve been searching for a method of lighting my macro shots for a while now (without having to purchasing a dedicated macro flash unit). The most success I have had so far has been using my standard bounce flash unit, with an off camera cord and bracket. This works fairly well but the light can be fairly harsh even with a diffuser, and it is still very directional with only one flash head. I’ve tried a couple of cheap manual units (diffused and on brackets) and this works ok, but it is a pain because it is so cumbersome, both in terms of handling and in checking the exposure (which is manual without a TTL flash).

I’ve pretty much resigned myself to purchasing a dedicated twin head unit when I get a little more time to spend on my photography. Until then however… I have come across a simple, but surprisingly effective reflector which allows me to use my standard bounce flash head. It’s simply a piece of long white card, held onto the flash with a rubber band. The card is allowed to droop a little, forming a white arc above the subject and bouncing the light evenly. It even works when your subject is only a few centimeters from the lens! It is by no means perfect: the flash requires alot of light so has a longish recycle time, it is still fairly directional and you get a large highlight on shiny insects (such as the fly below). Even so – I’m quite excited by the results so far!

Credit goes to this guy, Bob Frank. Many thanks if you ever read this!

Here are a couple of pics I took in the yard this afternoon, using this technique.

Hedge Grasshopper nymph (Valanga spp.)

Lucilia spp. (possibly L. cuprina)

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One Response to “Macro flash solution”


  1. Quite nice – specular highlights will continue to dog you even when you get the dedicated macro flash unit.


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