Flash Techniques for Macro and Close-Up Photography: A Guide for Digital Photographers

March 16, 2012 by  
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Flash Techniques for Macro and Close-Up Photography: A Guide for Digital Photographers

A presentation of the varied solutions to the many unique challenges faced in macro and close-up photography, this work discusses issues such as selecting a specially designed lenses and positioning flashes in order to avoid casting shadows. While tackling the main issues that this advanced application presents, such as correct focus, maximum depth of field, and optimal lighting, this guide walks through numerous indoor and outdoor shoots and includes step-by-step sequences and techniques for si

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3 Responses to “Flash Techniques for Macro and Close-Up Photography: A Guide for Digital Photographers”
  1. Jim says:
    24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    SORRY TO SAY BUT THIS BOOK IS PRETTY BAD, May 22, 2011
    By 
    Jim (New Mexico USA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Flash Techniques for Macro and Close-Up Photography: A Guide for Digital Photographers (Paperback)

    First of all, before I go into my actual review of the book, I would like to point out some interesting observations. At the time of this writing, there are six reviews of this book that rate it 5 stars. Of the six reviews that are 5 star raves, NOT ONE OF THEM are Amazon Verified Purchases. I find that interesting.

    Among those 5 star reviewers, D Waiters, Eric L and Adam Richards have reviewed a combined total of 58 books. Of the books reviewed by these individuals, virtually ALL OF THEM have been for books published by Amhurst Media – the publisher of this book. It looks just a little suspicious. These individuals are clearly only promoting a book by a company that they have a deep interest in. As a result, these reviews have no credibility at all.

    Now, on to my review. I’m a semi-pro freelance photographer with over 30 years of experience. I bought this book thinking it might give me some tips on using off camera flash in my macro work. It turned out to be a real disappointment. The book is profusely illustrated yet close examination of the photos revealed many of them that were poorly composed, badly focused or just irrelevant to the subject being discussed.

    Very little of the book is actually dedicated to using flash in macro work. The first 60 or so pages of the book is introductory information that could have been distilled down to a few pages. Furthermore, much of the information is just plain bad advice. Early on, they say that macro work has its own very stringent set of rules. Break the rules ever so slightly and your image falls apart. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the most creative pieces ever produced are a result of the artist breaking the rules and thinking outside the box.

    Several pages were wasted on outlining gear such as extension tubes, reversal rings etc. I’m sorry, but reverse mounting of a 50mm lens with an extension tube or two is not going to produce a better image than using a good macro lens. At the end of that chapter, the authors even admit that the best thing is to just buy a macro lens. So why did they fill the previous pages with worthless advice?

    The most bizarre piece of advice was when the author recommended making a flash extension pole by pounding the legs off of a light stand. Why destroy a perfectly good $40 light stand when you can make a good light pole out of a $9 painting pole with a Kacey pole adapter (and your pole won’t be all smashed up from removing the legs either).

    It looked as if the book was written with very little thought. (It seems to me that much of their photography was shot without thought too) The spread on page 62/63 shows a pot of flowers being photographed in a staged rainstorm. The final photo was great but they took 3/4 of the 2 page spread showing the final images and only 1/8 of the spread with three tiny images showing the technique. Wasn’t this book supposed to be about technique? So, why did technique images take back seat to the final image?

    I think you get the message. I don’t like being so harsh in a review but truthfully, there is very little in this book worth reading. I would say that the book is only 10 to 15% substance and 85% fluff and filler. When I bought this book I read all of the rave reviews and I took them seriously. When I started reading the book I then knew they couldn’t be true. As it turns out, they aren’t at all true. I think I’ll cut my losses and list it on eBay.

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  2. F. Burzi "Frank" says:
    16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    0 stars if it was possible!, April 6, 2011
    By 
    F. Burzi “Frank” (Colombia) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Flash Techniques for Macro and Close-Up Photography: A Guide for Digital Photographers (Paperback)

    If you, like me, are in the Macro photography field, then make you a big favor and don’t waste your money with this book. I have dozens of photography books but this one is the worst of them all. It shows a bunch of photos of a couple giving a course to students, shows very bad flash techniques and doesn’t even mention the most used flash systems for macro photography like Flash Rings, SpeedLite, SpeedLight, Twin Lite, etc. just a bunch of flash diffusers. The macro photos are pathetic and many of them are “really” out of focus with a legend that says that you can make them to suggest a subject… what was that? I really regret to have spent my money on this crap. Really a bad bad book.

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  3. Erin S. Contour "" says:
    5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    You say ‘blur’ like it’s a bad thing…, June 2, 2011
    By 
    Erin S. Contour “<ESC>” (Del Mar, CA United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Flash Techniques for Macro and Close-Up Photography: A Guide for Digital Photographers (Paperback)

    I’m rather fascinated by the negative reviews on this book. They say two things that simply make no sense.
    1. Amhearst is run by a pack of idiots who would repeatedly publish books by authors who don’t know what they’re doing.
    2. Photo realistic images are the only ‘correct’ and ‘good’ form of photography.

    You have to realize a couple things you’re reading them. First… that even the concept of ‘photo realism’ is somewhat of a misnomer. National Geographic images are broadly considered the pinnacle of photo realism and if you believe that what you see in those images is precisely what you would see if you were there in person viewing what that photographer saw, you’d be dead wrong. The photographer made choices about depth of field, color temperature, and many other factors to create the image that he/she created. They created an interpretation of the world they saw with their eyes with the goal of providing the viewer with a perhaps hyper realistic view of what they actually saw. Second, that all it takes to characterize yourself as a ‘professional photographer’ is to have sold a photograph. Anyone that has gone out to hire a wedding photographer is aware of the range of skill and knowledge out there.

    At the clear risk of being accused of being an Amhearst review drone, I’m going to admit that YES I own the series of books this couple wrote and I like them and I recommend them. That said, I’m going to be very clear. If your view of photography is that any image that is not photo realistic is ‘bad’ then this book is not for you. It is also not for you if you believe that you require a lot of expensive photographic equipment to take good photographs. If you think there might be other possibilities, read on.

    Few professional photographers have the level of experience, credentials, and awards that the Deutschmann’s have. You can read the biographical notes in their book(s) or do a bit of surfing to get their background. These authors have a love of photography as art. They create images that communicate what they feel about something and their images require a high level of vision and skill to create.

    Their book offers unique insights in to how to do that yourself. Certainly photo realistic images are photographic art, that is not in question. But they are not the only style and they are not the only ‘good’ photographic images. The authors are on a mission to make photography accessible and not so darned intimidating (as it is to a lot of people). To do this, they include some images of students in their classes… because their students are regular people and they want you to see that regular people can create photographic art. They offer ways to utilize common household materials, re-purpose less expensive / older photographic equipment etc. to achieve specific effects while keeping costs down. If you’re a bit of a DIYer, this will appeal to you. Lastly, their books are not instructional manuals… they are how to’s with plenty of examples of what you can achieve. What’s the difference? I’ve picked up (and discarded) plenty of photography books that tell you ‘under this circumstance, set your aperture to thus and so and your shutter speed to this and that’ and you’ll get this great image. HUH!? first, who the heck wants to produce a photo that looks exactly like that and do you really want to memorize all that (or keep notes)? What these authors do is provide a more intuitive path to creating images. They point you down that path and tell you to create what YOU want to create, not what someone tells you is a good image.

    I made a point separately about paintings and someone considering Escher’s more realistic drawings ‘art’ while saying the paintings of Monet or Dali are simply bad… after all, they are out of focus and distorted, respectively. These two artists have not created images that actually look like what they were painting. How terrible! Right?

    Photography is art in precisely the same way a sketched or painted image is. It is simply art created with a different medium. I can’t tell you how many reviews I’ve read that say ‘this is terrible, landscapes must be taken at most one or two clicks off these optimal camera settings’. Really? WHO exactly wrote that into law? That’s just silly. What folks like that are saying is that their concept of photography is limited to trying to capture things exactly how they are seeing them… and that they refuse to admit, or simply aren’t aware, that even in doing that they are interpreting what they see.

    Oh, and BTW.. if you follow National Geographic feeds, they publish images or image series regularly and some of their more recent photographic series featured images in which the use of blur was quite similar to some of what the Deutschmann’s have done. Blur is simple one of a myriad of tools in a photographers toolbox to create images. Like it,…

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