Macro Photography and Ring Lights
Author: Sheng Ye Date Posted:22 March 2016
Macro photography involves taking close-up photos, often of small or detailed objects. One of the common problems associated with this type of photography is lighting. When the object is particularly close to the camera, the flash can be overwhelming and create shadows and uneven lighting. The solution to this is a ringlight.
How a Ring Light Works
Ring lights are so named because they are shaped like a ring. The light circles the camera lens, creating full-coverage illumination. The result is an even coverage of light that does not produce shadows because the light is coming from every direction in relation to the camera.
This type of lighting is a continuous light. It allows the user to set the level of brightness, depending on the subject and external light sources. It allows the camera function to be set to the level appropriate for capturing details. Although a flash can be used for macro photography, precise adjustments are necessary and can upset the subject if it is an animal or insect.
Choosing the Right Ring Light
Most ring lights are LEDs. This type of lighting is known for being energy-efficient and operating at a lower temperature than most other types of studio lights.
Ring lights come in two basic formats. They may be freestanding and attach to a stand. This allows the photographer to set the lighting and insert the camera lens through the opening. The other type of ring light attaches to the camera. It sits around the lens of the camera in a fixed position. To coordinate with the camera, most models also include a hotshoe.
Some models have variable shooting modes. The ring can be set to full continuous lighting, flash, or only on one side for either option.
Basics of Macro Photography
Macro photography is different from regular photography techniques. Using ring lights to take a portrait, for example, would cause the subject to look flat and the eyes to appear red. It would emphasize the details, but for a portrait, this is not the point.
Choose a lens that allows the camera to focus without getting too close to the subject. Some photographers recommend a 100 millimeter or longer lens. When the camera is too close, the subject can look disproportionate or not be correctly lit.
The aperture needs to be set low, at around f/32. This creates a sharp image when there is no depth of field. If the subject moves even slightly, the image will not be sharp. To reduce movement in the photograph, utilize tools that will stabilize the camera. Set a timer or use a remote trigger. This will prevent the inevitable camera shake that pressing the shutter by hand causes.
Macro photography is a fun and creative style. It is often used to show details that might otherwise be overlooked. A tiny ladybug crawling on a leaf, a water droplet, or the detailed texture of a stone can give viewers a new way of looking at the world.