macro photography lighting

Using good technique with macro photography lighting is perhaps even more difficult in nature photography than any other form of photography.

Macro Photography Lighting of Yellow Lilly


It can be challenging to judge the lighting conditions when working in such small areas. I often use extension tubes with a telephoto lens to get a farther working distance from my subject.

Another challenge when working so close to your subject with good macro lighting is that your camera may create a shadow on your subject.


Nature photography at the close up level does open up a world of photographic opportunities. Proper lighting and composition techniques must be used.

It's easy to be distracted by the fascinating subject matter itself are techniques can sometimes be forgotten. Most cameras have macro settings that let you get to a very close focusing distance.

Macro Photography Lighting of Red Anthers

Look at this gorgeous picture of the red flowers and its anthers taken by dieraecherin. The light striking the anthers was just right to visually separate them from the brilliant red petals behind.

It's also a good example of how a slightly out of focus background works well in a photo.  It doesn't compete with the center of interest. More excellent lighting in the photo below.

Good Macro Lighting of Guitar Strings

Darrenhester used backlighting in a controlled photography studio environment to get these great highlights on the wood grain.  It almost appears to be glowing.

Notice the intriguing effect of shallow depth of field has on the guitar strings. It really adds to the composition.

Macro Photography Lighting of Pasta

This is a real good example of macro photography lighting technique by Keyseeker. A soft light source from the left was used and it brings out the 3 dimensional qualities and textures in this very small cylinder shaped pasta.

The photo also has a more interesting composition because of the diagonal direction of the pasta instead of straight verticals.

Yellow Anthlers - Macro Photography Lighting

This is such a cool photo by Franthony. The technique and subject matter make it appear as if it was taken on another planet.

Close up photography can often become quite abstract. It is more engaging when you have to look at an image for a few seconds before you can figure out what is actually is.

Macro Photography of Gel Tabs

n this photo by darrenhester, the gel tabs have a translucent quality because of the way they were lit. Although there is no strong central focal point, it is still an interesting photo because of the arrangement of the individual tabs.

Two different lighting situations give dramatically different results

This is a great way to see how macro photography lighting effects your picture. These aren't true macro photos, but they are close-ups and the point on lighting is still valuable.

The direct sunlight striking the daffodil on the left create harsh shadow lines on the petals. It is a high contrast situation.


The soft directional light on the daffodil on the right create 3 dimensional characteristics. Also look what a difference it makes to carefully choose your background.

Which one of these flower photos do you like better?


links related to macro photography lighting

Natural Photography Lighting For Macro. Two sample macro photos and how two different lighting directions effect the final photographs.

Photography Lighting. Do you enjoy articles on lighting? Here is a general article on photography lighting with a number of related links to more specific articles on on light and photography.

Macro Photography With Good Lighting of Bees

This photo of the busy bee working on this Lily was done using early morning light.

I am a big fan of using natural lighting in all of my macro photography. It's likely a carryover from all of the outdoor portrait photography I do, but I still believe it gives the most pleasing results.

Some macro photographers use electronic flash to add to the natural lighting. In this video below, photographer Don Gale does a great job of balancing the natural macro photography lighting with just the right amount of fill flash.

This is good example of using the right macro photography equipment to get beautiful diffused lighting.



If this video link doesn't work, let me know at photo-tipman (at) better-digital-photo-tips.com

Happy Shooting!
Bruce



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