Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Using Flashlights For Macro Photography

I have written before about the photography workshops run by Nancy Rotenberg, Les Saucier, and Don McGowan. They are superb, and I recommend them highly for anyone considering attending an intensive workshop. Just recently, Les Saucier wrote an article on their ‘Photography With Heart’ website that has provided me with some useful answers to questions that I have had about using flashlights for macro-photography.

What? Flashlights? You heard it right. For some time, in addition to using fill flash, I have played around with various flashlights to try to accent or add sparkle to subjects in my photographs, particularly flowers. While fill flash works very well for me in general, at times I would like to more selectively accent edges or portions of the image, which can’t easily be done with fill flash. In addition, if I just want to see what a bit of extra light will do, it is easier to just pull out a small flashlight and play a bit instead of setting up the flash.

But what flashlight to use? Incandescent, xenon, LED? Adjustable or fixed power output? How to adjust color cast.....with a gel or in Camera RAW? Though I have tried two or three flashlights, they have always seemed lacking in one way or another. And yet, in the back of my mind, I have always had the sneaking suspicion that there is a light out there that can do what I want it to.....if I just knew which one to buy.

That is why I was excited when I found out that Les had just written the definitive, up to date article that answered all these questions! The article is packed with great information and can be found here. I am putting in my order for a Fenix L1D and some Roscolux #17. I haven’t gotten them yet, but I am looking forward to giving them a try. Thanks Les!