Whenever you can, it is usually better to use natural macro photography lighting. It is simpler to get great macro photos when you can concentrate on composition and not have to mess with complicated lighting systems.
I used my Canon G11, point and shoot camera to take these macro photos of flowers. Our home faces east, so in the morning our deck in the back of our house is in shade.
It has open sky above, and also to the sides, which creates a huge surrounding light source.
My tripod has a unique feature that allows me to insert the center column sideways into the collar which is perfect for shooting downward at my macro subject.
You can see that there is only about 1 inch of distance between the front of the lens and the flower. Because there is light coming from the sides, the light-blocking effect of the camera directly above the flower does not prevent getting a nice close-up photograph.
You can see the resulting photo, at the beginning of this article, has a flat lighting and brings out the highly saturated colors of the Geranium flower. If you have read any of my articles on portrait photography, you know I like to use simple and natural lighting in my photography whenever I can.
The Canon G11 has a really cool feature for macro photography. As you can see in the photo of the back of my camera, there is a focusing loupe or magnified area for fine-tuning the manual focusing process.
That really helps for my "over 50" year-old eyes. The viewing screen also has a distance indicator bar along the right edge that changes as you move the scroll bar to adjust the focusing distance.
In this photo of the yellow Petunia, the majority of the natural macro photography lighting is coming from the top.
The flower is in more of a vertically facing position. The camera is facing the subject from the side and the light is coming from above.
Notice how this macro photo has more depth because the light has a direction from above.
The flat lighting in the red Geranium flower photo has an almost abstract look.
Also take note that I used the 10-second self-timer feature so that the camera would have time to settle after I push the shutter button and before the exposure was made.
Because of an Oh-so-very-gentle breeze, the images were sharp, but not razor-sharp. Dealing with the wind is often a challenge when doing macro photography of flowers. A higher ISO setting can help to give you a faster shutter speed. Of course you can also choose not to use natural macro photography lighting and use electronic flash to freeze any motion.
This HoodLoupe made by HoodMan is a great focusing aid.
Not only will it magnify your viewing screen, even more valuable is that it blocks out ALL other distracting and reflecting light.
You just hold it against your digital camera or cell phone viewing screen and look into the eyepiece.
It's the same effect as sitting in a dark room watching television or being in a movie theater.
The Loupe can be used to evaluate all of your digital photography for it's composition, lighting, exposure or sharpness before you're done shooting.
I have found this accessory to be very valuable to evaluate my macro photography lighting by viewing an enlarged view on my camera's LCD screen. There are a variety of Hoodloupes available at Amazon.
Macro Photography Lighting. If you'd like to see a page of great samples of how important lighting is in macro photography, try this.
Macro Photography Lighting Tips. This discussion is centered around a small indoor macro set-up and the dramatic difference is the final photo based on the source of the light.
Super simple close-up lighting. Of all things, I shot close-ups indoors of popcorn without using any electrical lights or flash or in this article. I uploaded a video to give you two ways of exploring this topic.