When it comes about macro photography, one very important thing beside camera and lens is the lighting unit. Taking a macro picture is about details. Without a good light source, natural or provided by artist, the image will not be sharp enough and together with the amount of noise will result in a low quality picture.
For dealing with this we have many choices. From professional macro flash systems or macro ring flash unit to continuous lighting kits.
Macro Flash Systems
These are highly performance, providing adjustable light from different angles. Can be continuous or flash. Maximum control over light power and direction is essential in capturing details. This image is for exemplification:
These are expensive units which cost more than a few hundreds cash, but if you can afford a professional macro flash system, you can buy it and it will do the best job.
Macro ring flash
Is a cheaper alternative which provides pretty good results. It usually comes with adapter rings to fit different lens diameters and with flash diffusers of different colors so you can give your picture very nice color effects.
The macro ring flash is a good choice for the photographer who requires shadow free image. It is designed for close up as the flash light source is positioned directly between the camera lens and subject providing a great illumination.
There are other lighting kits you may use , with or without a diffuser (softer/creamier light effect). The main idea is to position your subject inside the illuminated area.
You can use more advanced systems or simply some lamps. The biggest issue is with outdoor shooting, you can not do this in nature for example – it is much more effective a ring flash for that. But for indoor / studio shooting this might be a good choice.
In case you are using a reverse ring, then the ring flash and other systems which have to be attached to the lens will not work. The used side of the lens to attach the lighting unit is now attached to the camera.
You will have to use a flash gun (preferably with a diffuser) or studio lighting systems / lamps. If you want to read more about macro photography using the reverse ring, here is a post I wrote few days ago.
If you need further information on any path you may choose, I am always happy to help. Please comment below and we’ll work it out.