If you’re looking to take pictures of plants or insects close-up, getting bright, even lighting is a must. And you’ll likely need a flashgun. So what flash for macro photography will give you the best chance at the shots you want?

Studio flash heads can work well if you are shooting indoors, but the choice in macro lighting for many photographers is what’s called a ring flash.

Bright light is essential for macro photography because you want to reveal as much detail as possible. What’s more, you will also likely be shooting at small apertures in order to increase the depth of field (the area in focus) within your image.

So flash is a necessity in these situations. And a ring flash will give you bright, even lighting.

A ring flash conveniently sits over the front of your lens and helps eliminate unwanted shadows in your macro images.

A few good ring flashes that we’ve used are the Sunpak Auto 16R Pro Ringflash, which sells for around £450 /$475 or the Canon MR-14EX II Macro Ring Lite, which sells for £449 / $499.

Cheaper options include ring flash units like the Bolt VM-110 LED Macro Ring Light, which is priced $79.95 or the Aputure Amaran Halo LED, $79.95.

Another one of our favourites is the Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Flash, which is an advanced yet user-friendly ring flash with a much more reasonable price tag of $289 / $379 than some of the top-end models.

What other flashguns can you use for macro photography?

Another option you can try is what’s called a twin-light macro flash. These are very similar to a ring flash, but slightly different.

Rather than a ring of lighting all around your lens barrel, two flash heads clip to a ring that fits on the front of your lens.

These flash heads sit on either side of your lens, and cables connect them to a unit that mounts to your hotshoe. They’re a little more advanced, but twin-light macro flashguns also will create strong, even lighting without shadows.

A quality twin-light macro flash is the Canon MT-24 EX Macro Twin Lite, but at £749 / $769 these can be pricey!

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