Macro lighting question.


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Oct 6, 2009
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Phoenix Arizona
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Ok, I have had a 430exII for about a 2 days now. I have shot a lot in the last two days. Im still a little lost. What is the best way to start your set up, for the flash, when you are about to shoot. Im really unknowledgable about the whole subject.
Where im at now,
I have been putting my shutter speed to the max of 200, iso 100, and f/32 or f/22. Even at those settings im overexposing!? A lot of my shots i have stopped at f/9 f/10 or so to try and pull out the best clearity so i have dropped power to 1/8 +.. or something. Became a little better. 1/1 is full power?
Basicly I know nothing about flashes and just looking for basics from the users here. I have read some articals and forums but none really make simple sence. Im going to be reading my manual but I dont understand some of it still. Ill learn but im sure TPF will be helping.
Also I know it has to make a difference in the settings. I made a soft box from the knowledge I have gained from here and other forums. I got a soda 12 pack box, Cut it at an angle (about 45 degrees) at the end of my lens. Covered the inside with foil and taped 2 layers of trash bag at the end to difuse. Made a hole at the other end to tightly fit the speedlight. DOnt really know if this is right or not. It seems to work well but really gets in the way for real close ups. bumping branches ect...
Yeah, 1/1 is full power.

If the flash is on the camera (or connected with a cord), it should be telling you a range that the flash will light with your selected aperture, zoom, and power level. I know the 580 will, not sure if the 430 does too - but I would think so. There should be a custom function to alternate between feet & meters.

Going by that won't be perfect, but it will get you pretty close. You can check the LCD to fine tune it after that.

If you're using any kind of diffusers, the range will be less than what the flash is telling you.
Yeah it says all that info i believe. Range is say 24mm. Whats the 24mm mean?
ok so it sounds like put it on auto (wich i just found lol) and let it ride?
Not much more useful controll having it in manual i guess like the camera can offer.
That's probably what the flash is zoomed to.

On the 580EX, along the bottom of the LCD, there's a meter with a bunch of numbers (only in manual mode). Depending on what settings you have dialed in, there will be a bar under a range of the numbers. More power will move it to the longer end of the scale.

Auto actually works pretty good too, give that a try.

You can use that meter to get close though, and adjust as needed after reviewing the picture.
ok thanks, Just like other things its practice :) .
So do i have this right?, it actually focuses to different distances?
Well, 'focus' isn't really the right word ... but, yeah - kind of.

The zoom controls how wide of a beam it will fire. Wider will have less range.

The power, well, I guess that's pretty self explanatory... More power = more range.

Higher ISO = more range.

Read this - they can explain it better than I can:

Strobist: Guide Number: Your Free Flash Meter
For most macro you need to get the flash off the camera. A TTL cord works for this. One thing to remember is the more you stop the lens down, the more your pics will show the subject standing out against a dark background. The light may also not reflect evenly across the frame. You'll be surprised how little flash power you'll need. A lot of the time I'm at 1/64 or 1/128th power. With the cord you can move the flash around to best light your photo. One other thing I do is set the flash zoom manually at it's widest and flip down the wide angle diffuser. This spreads the light as evenly as possible, eliminating hot spots.
Good Idea, I have been looking at cords to get off camera.. least ill need one for a bracket if/when I get that far
Are you using any kind of diffuser?

Edit: Just looked again and you are. Try using paper towels though instead of trash bag.

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