9.) Wireless Flash Equipment

Many things in macro are truly close-up.  This applies to flash and you will want your flash off of the camera body and near the subject.  You can use cables to take a flash off camera or go wireless.  I like wireless because it is flexible and can be inexpensive.

Here is the idea, flash needs to fire when you trigger the camera shutter.  The flash needs to be synchronized with the camera.  Sounds mysterious and it is not.  There are multiple ways to synchronize your flash and solutions to fit many budgets.  I like frugal solutions, manual flashes with inexpensive eBay slaves. 

I own a used Nikon and new Promaster (Pentax mount) flash.  If you have followed along in other sections you will realize I integrate a lot of camera brands.  My camera body is Canon, flashes are made for Nikon and Pentax, bellows is by Pentax and lenses by Nikon and Fuji.  When you shoot manual you are not tied into your camera’s line of accessories which opens up lots of options.

My primary off camera flash is a used Nikon SB 28DX flash.  I paid about $100 for this professional grade flash and it works well with my Canon XSI camera in manual mode.  I synchronize the Nikon flash to my Canon XSI with an inexpensive eBay $20 wireless slave.  I simply put the hot shoe slave receiver on my flash and the slave trigger in my camera’s hot shoe and I am ready for macro.  The trigger I use is called PT04N – if you search YouTube you will find videos on it.  All I will say is that they work for my budget and type of photographs.

My secondary flash is a new Promaster FTD 6500M purchased on eBay for about $40.  The flash is for a Pentax camera but since I use it in manual mode it presents no issues with a Canon camera.  This flash has manual override and a built in wireless slave remote.  The slave fires when it detects flash from another flash.  It has a built in sensor that detects a burst of light and then fires the flash.  You can also purchase flash slaves to attach to an existing flash, such as the Wein PN Peanut Slave.  These will allow for a wireless flash fired by another flash.  

Most of the time the Nikon flash will be the trigger for the Promaster flash.  However, there are times when I skip the Nikon flash and simply use the Promaster as the only off camera flash and trigger it with my camera’s pop up flash.  Works great, super easy to use and is inexpensive.

I do not use flash brackets.  I simply use my hands to hold the off camera flash and adjust them as needed to get what looks good to me.

Macro flash works well when it is close to the subject.  This means you will want to get the flash off of the camera’s hot shoe.  There are options ranging from flash brackets available from the on line camera stores or even home-made brackets.  Do a quick search through some camera forums and you will get an idea of these bracket solutions.  I prefer to use my hands.  Hands are frugal, effective and fast.

Using my hands allows me to quickly change the distance and direction of the flash.  I use a tripod to support the bellows and this leaves my hands free for flash.  

I enjoy moving the flash below or above the subject and sometime moving it behind it.  

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