Use Flash in Your Macro Photography.

Small and Terrible

Taken handheld. Flash Off Camera slightly to my left.

When I started doing macro I struggle a lot and didn’t really know what was missing , until I realized, “Light”, lots and lots of light.  And after this, everything became easy, thanks to my handy Canon 430 EXII flash and my Demb Diffuser Pro. The idea is to let the flash improved the quality of light . This is especially helpful if you are photographing insects or bugs, that are hiding in trees, under the leaves or crawling on the ground. I didn’t realized this at first, I used to carry around my tripod every time I do macro, but not my flash.  Now, I don’t use my tripod often when I’m doing macro, and now I have  my lightstand, and my flash with me all the time when I’m doing macro. Using the Flash off Camera is a good way to light your macro subjects and this will give you great flexibility provided, you have the room and time to setup, if not using the flash on camera with the right diffuser, works just as well.

Let’s take for example the first photo above. Here I set my flash off camera, a little to my left. I used to provide minimal output, just enough to give me a fill.

Advantages of Using Flash in Macro Photography:

  • Will improve the quality of light.
  • Will greatly provide you with a lot of control
  • Will allow you to shoot at high shutter speeds and small aperture (f8/f9) and still have ample light for your subject.
  • Will enable you to give dramatic feeling to your photographs
  • Will enable you to freeze action if needed.


  • I don’t see any disadvantage to using flash in macro photography, except that, you have to carry an external flash and sometimes a light stand which only adds to weight to your gear, which I think is not a disadvantage at all.

Tips to Using flash in macro:

  • Used some type of diffuser or bouncer
  • Don’t point your flash directly to your subject, most insects get scared of you blast a flash directly to their face.
  • Have some distance between you and your subject especially when shooting insects / bugs. A good focal length to use is at least a 100mm.
  • I love to use the Demb Flash Diffuser Pro.

I hope this post will help you in your macro photography, just remember,  in any type of photography, the secret is light, we have to learn to see the light, the quality of light, and we have to know how to improve the light. Shooting in ambient light is good, but I used my flash whenever I need to improve on the quality of light.

Equipment used :

I would love to hear any of your questions and suggestions, please feel free to post a comment below. Have a great day.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

12 thoughts on “Use Flash in Your Macro Photography.