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This post was most recently updated on November 13th, 2022

Macro photography looks incredible doesn’t it?

When it comes to creating amazing macro images, the devil really is in the detail!

The same question comes up time and time again. How do you light something so small and make it look incredible?

If you’ve experienced lighting issues in your macro images, you’re about to find out how to overcome that.

In this article you’re going to learn about the best flashes and lighting options to step up your macro game.

Let’s get started.

Best Ring Flash and Macro Photography Lighting

Best Macro Ring Flashes

Best Ring Flash for Macro Photography: Nissin Macro Ring Flash MF 18

Many macro photographers will benefit from having a light they can really dial in. When you’re shooting something so small, you need that light to be perfect.

The MF 18 Ring Flash from Nissin offers incredible control coupled with a great user interface.

The control panel has a full color LCD display that makes it easy to adjust settings even in bright daylight.

The flash is lens mounted and works with a consistent 5600K color temperature. It also has a diffuser to soften and spread the light out evenly.

It is compatible with a wide range of cameras and lenses from Nikon, Canon and Sony.

Key Features of the Nissin Macro Ring Flash MF 18

  • Consistent 5600K Color Temperature
  • Can be powered from 4xAA batteries or external power pack
  • Lens mounted flash includes a diffuser ring for softening and spreading light evenly.

Best Budget Ring Flash for Macro Photography: Neewer R-160

Are you looking to get a killer flash on a budget?

Look no further.

The Neewer R-160 is the best ring flash for macro photography and it will suit all budgets.

This lightweight ring light is ready for action. It’s battery powered, durable and compact. Ideal for outdoor shoots and travelling with.

The ring light is made up of 160 LED bulbs, each with an average life expectancy of 50,000 hours. LED bulbs are also low power so there is no risk of the light overheating in the heat of the moment.

Key Features of the Neewer R-160

  • table 5600K Color tSemperature
  • 160 pieces LED bulbs with a 50,000 hour lifespan
  • Powered by 6x AA batteries which makes it portable and great for shooting on the move.

Best Cheap Ring Flash for Macro: Neewer 48 Macro LED Ring

Neewer 48 Macro LED Ring Flash Bundle

This great ring light mounts to the end of your camera lens for up close and personal lighting. Perfect for close shots.

If you need a flash that is both portable and flexible, the Neewer 48 Macro LED Ring is the tool for the job. It’s the best cheap flash for macro photography use and it’s got enough under the hood to satisfy your lighting needs.

What makes it so great?

Firstly, LED lighting is reliable, long lasting and efficient.

It’s also very tweakable. You get 4 distinct light modes, 4 included color filters and a control panel that allows you to adjust the brightness and mode.

The LED Ring also comes with 8 adapter rings for all the most common lens sizes from 49mm to 77mm.

Key Features of the Neewer 48 Macro LED Ring

  • Lens mounted light with 48 efficient LED bulbs
  • 8 included adapter rings for the most common lens sizes between 49mm and 77mm.
  • Includes 4 color filters (Yellow, blue, white and transparent) for fine tuning light temperature and diffusion.

Best Flashes for Macro Photography

Best Flash for Macro Photography: Nikon R1C1

The R1C1 from Nikon is a frontal, lens mounted speed lighting kit that gives you fully automatically close-up exposure.

If you use a Nikon camera for macro photography, this is the best flash out there.

The twin lighting panels mount directly to the lens with the included adapter.

The kit also contains a commander unit that mounts to the top which controls the speedlight panels and monitors lighting to automatically adjust exposure levels.

All the lights are wirelessly triggered via infrared sensors via the commander unit.

This kit comes with 2 speedlights, but the commander can control any number of speedlights giving you ample opportunity to expand the system if needed.

Key Features of the Nikon R1C1

  • Wireless Channels: 4
  • Wirelessly / 20 m (Commander, Optical Slave)
  • Includes adapter ring to fit the following Lens sizes: 52mm/62mm/67mm/72mm/77mm
  • Lens Compatibility: 52mm/62mm/67mm/72mm/77mm Filter Threads (via Included Adapter Ring)

Best Budget Flash for Macro: Meike MK-MT24II

Do you ever find yourself struggling to find the right flash because some things are only compatible with one camera?

Here’s some good news…

That problem can be solved with the Meike MK-MT24II. This is not only a fantastic budget flash, but it’s also available as both a Canon and Nikon model.

It works over a 2.4G wireless system which allows you to place the flash up to a meter from the trigger.

You can also set it to an optical trigger slave mode which allows the unit to be triggered by any standard flash.

Key Features of the Meike MK-MT24II

  • Compatible with both Canon and Nikon cameras
  • Works wirelessly over inbuilt 2.4G wireless network
  • OpticalTrigger Slave Mode allows the unit to be triggered wirelessly by a standard flash

Best Speedlight for Macro Photography: Godox V860II

The V860II from Godox is a top mounted wireless speedlight system for your camera that will allow you to capture images with speedy and stable lighting.

The flash can be adjusted from 1/300 to 1/20000 seconds so even the faster paced macro shots will be no match for the V860.

This speedlight works wirelessly over 2.4G and can transmit over a 100m range.

It runs off a rechargeable Li-ion battery which offers up a staggering 650 full power flashes per charge with a recycle rate of 1.5 seconds.

It can also be paired with other Nikon speedlights as a master unit so if you already have some of these set up in your workspace, you can trigger them from the V860II.

If you ever need to capture movement in your macro images, the front/rear curtain sync will allow you to capture images with those exciting and vivid looking light trails.

Key Features of the Godox V860II

  • Build-in 2.4G wireless transmission can trigger other speedlights over 100m rage
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Polymer Battery offers 650 flashes with 1.5 second recycle
  • Front/rear curtain sync allows image capture with light trails for extra excitement.

Best Macro Flash Bracket: Wimberley M-4

If you already have a flash that you love, but you find yourself wanting to be able to control it a little more, check this out.

The Wimberley M-4 is a flash bracket that works great for tweaking the angle of a flash for macro use.

This means you can take your existing flash, and now use it off camera. Simply mount the bracket to your camera, attach your flash and enjoy more flexibility.

The two lockable double ball and socket joints allow you to direct your flash exactly as you need it while giving you a robust and reliable flash mounting solution.

Key Features of the Wimberley M-4

  • Connects to hot shoe mount or other 1/4-20 accessory
  • Use an existing on-camera flash as an off-camera flash
  • Adjustable flash angle with the lockable double ball and socket joints.

Best Cheap Macro Flash Bracket: LimoStudio Camera Bracket Mount

Sometimes you just want to break out of the confines of an on-camera flash but you might not be in a position to have a full setup of external flashes.

The LimoStudio Camera Bracket Mount allows you to take a flash that is usually mounted to you camera, and mount it to the bracket off camera.

The benefits of this are in the flexibility of the angles on offer. You can now point your once, single directional flash, whichever way you need to point it.

The bracket mounts to the camera with a ¼” thread so as long as your camera has a ¼” socket, you can enjoy the benefits of flexible flash lighting.

Key Features of the LimoStudio Camera Bracket Mount

  • Includes Two Removable Cold Shoes
  • Camera Mount Can be Adjusted From side to side or front to back
  • Mounts with a 1/4″ Thread to Fit Any Standard Camera or Camcorder

Best Twin Flash for Macro Photography: Nikon R1C1

When you’re shooting macro, one of the biggest headaches is really nailing that lighting.

If you’re a Nikon user, the R1C1 is a twin flash that you really need to check out.

It has a lens mounted dual flash which lights your subject from either side. This means when you take your images, the light is spread evenly from both sides.

It runs wirelessly off the commander unit that mounts to the top of the camera, but this can also be operated from up to 20m away.

The R1C1 is compatible with most Nikon lenses and contains an adapter ring for multiple threads.

Key Features of the Nikon R1C1

  • Works wirelessly via optical pulse
  • Twin flash lights photo subject from both sides and spreads the light evenly
  • Compatible with most Nikon lenses and includes an adapter for multiple thread types.

Best Budget Twin Flash for Macro Photography: Meike MK-MT24

Aputure Amaran AL-MX LED Video Light
”This wireless, twin flash delivers accurate color reproduction for both indoor and outdoor macro shoots and it’s perfect if you’re on a budget./p pIf you need the functionality of a twin flash but you have budget restrictions then you need to look at the a

If you used the term “small but mighty” to describe a light, it would be the Aputure Amaran AL-MX.

This bi-color LED panel contains 128 LED bulbs, but it’s the size of a credit card.

LED’s might not give off much heat anyway, but the AL-MX has a built in heat management system to ensure that this light always remains at peak operating temperature.

It has an adjustable color temperature from 2800 to 6500K, allowing you to set the perfect temperature for your macro photography.

If you need more, it also has a boost function that gives it an additional 30% beyond it’s full power.

Key Features of the Aputure Amaran AL-MX.

  • Credit card sized light containing 128 SMD LED bulbs
  • Adjustable Color Temperature with 5 steps from 2800-6500K
  • Works off built in rechargeable battery which recharges via USB

Best Indoor Macro Photography Light: Godox AD600Pro

Godox AD600Pro

Don’t skimp out on cheaper flashes that change color over time, check out the AD600Pro, and make sure your clothing shoots are consistent.

A strobe might seem overkill for macro images, but check this out…

The AD600pro is a strobe that you can make work in any situation.

It gives you 600w power which should be more than enough for most tasks you set it to. This lighting is also delivered at a very stable 5600K temperature for natural looking images.

If you like to work quickly, the AD600Pro recycles at a max speed of 0.9 seconds so you can be as snap trigger happy as you want. This thing won’t slow your workflow down.

It’s rechargeable with an onboard Li-ion battery which allows you to get 360 full power flashes from a full charge.

Key Features of the Godox AD600pro

  • Stable 5600K color temperature
  • Speedy recycle rate with a max recycle time of 0.9 seconds
  • Can be used as a slave unit with light triggers from Nikon, Canon, Sony and more.

Best Led Light for Macro Photography: Aputure Amaran AL-MX

Aputure Amaran AL-MX LED Video Light

This LED light panel is great for toy photographers. It has adjustable temperature and brightness levels as well as a booster mode for those hard to light items.

LED lights have some major benefits over other lighting types.

They are incredibly efficient and long lasting. You can use LED bulbs for an average of 50,000 hours before they need changing. For photographers, this means longevity and reliability.

The AL-MX is an LED light that is perfect for years of use in macro photography.

Not only is it incredibly energy efficient, but it’s portable. It’s not much bigger than the average credit card.

Made from aircraft grade aluminium with it’s own heat management system, this is a light built to work hard.

With adjustable color temperature settings and a 30% boost function, your macro images will always look awesome.

Key Features of the Aputure Amaran AL-MX

  • Perfect for transporting around due to it’s small credit card size
  • 128 LED bi-color bulbs offer consistent color temperature between 2800-6500K
  • Aircraft grade aluminum body and built in heat management system ensure the light never overheats

Best Ring Light for Macro Photography: Nissin Macro Ring Flash MF 18

If you’re in the market for the best ring light for your macro needs, you should check out the MF 18 from Nissin.

This mounts to the end of your Nikon lens via the included thread adapter and offers a powerful, flexible flash.

You control the flash via the color LCD screen that mounts to the top of the camera. This is easy to read even in bright sunlight.

The flash also includes a diffuser for softening the light on your close up images.

The MF 18 also includes 4 LED modelling lights that help focus on close objects even in tricky lighting conditions.

Key Features of the Nissin Macro Ring Flash MF 18

  • 4 LED modelling lights help focus on objects even in tricky lighting conditions.
  • Includes a diffuser ring for softening the flash light when using on close up objects.
  • Bright LCD display shows the current settings. This is also easily readable in bright light.

Best Cheap Ring Light for Macro: Neewer 48 Macro LED Ring

Neewer 48 Macro LED Ring Flash Bundle

This great ring light mounts to the end of your camera lens for up close and personal lighting. Perfect for close shots.

With the adjustable brightness setting, and the color filters (Covering 3000K, 5000K, 5500K and 9000), you can fine tune your on-the-go lighting to perfection which is why the Neewer Macro LED Ring light bundle is the best cheap ring light for your DSLR.

Not only do you get this Canon/Nikon compatible flash, but you also get 8 mounting rings to suit most major lenses, a set of 4 color filters and a top-mounting control panel to control the lighting.

Key Features of the Neewer 48 Macro LED Ring

  • Top mounted control panel with LCD display
  • 8 Adapter Rings to fit common Nikon/Canon lenses
  • Powered off 4 x AA Batteries for use anywhere, anytime

Best Continuous Light for Macro Photography: Aputure Amaran AL-MX

Aputure Amaran AL-MX LED Video Light

This LED light panel is great for toy photographers. It has adjustable temperature and brightness levels as well as a booster mode for those hard to light items.

Some photographers prefer continuous light for consistency.

One benefit to continuous lighting is consistency. While most flashes deliver the same result each time, once you’ve set your continuous light up, you can forget about it and let it do its thing.

The AL-MX is a very tweakable continuous light so whatever you want your lighting to do, this unit can do it.

Adjustable color temperature means your images will never look too warm or too cold. You can adjust between 2800K and 5600K.

With this unit being LED, it also has excellent heat management. LEDs are very energy efficient and it won’t cause any unwanted heat, especially on those long, all-day shoots.

Key Features of the Aputure Amaran AL-MX

  • Energy efficient LED bulbs won’t cause unwanted heat in your studio
  • High CRI of 95+ for accurate and consistent color replication in your images.
  • Adjustable color temperature to always get the perfect lighting between 200-5600K

Best Macro Photography Lighting Kit: Nikon R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System

If you need to upgrade your flash and your Nikon camera has a built in Speedlighting with Commander mode, you might just love the R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System.

In this kit you get a pair of lens mounted flash bulbs that you can mount either side. This is ideal for spreading that light perfectly on those close up macro shoots.

The kit works wirelessly with your cameras inbuilt speedlighting system so if you have a D70, D70S, D80, D90, D200, D300 or D700, this will pair effortlessly with your setup.

Each of the panels can be set to one of four wireless channels which is very useful in environments where there are multiple wireless networks at the once.

Key Features of the Nikon R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System

  • Includes two lens mountable SB-R200 speedlights
  • Comes with 52mm, 62mm, 67mm,72mm and 77mm mounting rings
  • Comes with accessories including color filter set, arm clip, diffusers and a storage case.

Best Led Light Panel for Macro Photography: Aputure Amaran AL-MX

Aputure Amaran AL-MX LED Video Light

This LED light panel is great for toy photographers. It has adjustable temperature and brightness levels as well as a booster mode for those hard to light items.

LED lighting is great. It’s very affordable, low energy use and light weight. This LED light panel is so portable that you could literally take it anywhere you wanted.

It’s not much bigger than a standard credit card but it packs a punch.

The adjustable color temperatures will range from 2800K to 6500K so you can fine tune this for natural looking light anywhere you might be shooting.

Need more power?

The 30% boost should take care of that. You can boost the unit from it’s max power to a 30% push for that extra bright kick. The AL-MX can run at 60 seconds at 130% power.

The aircraft grade aluminium case is robust and lightweight and excellent at self-managing it’s heat.

Key Features of the Aputure Amaran AL-MX

  • 5 step Color Temperature from 2800-6500K
  • 128 SMD bi-color LED bulbs mounted to a credit card size light panel
  • Boost mode allows you to get an extra 30% brightness for 60 second bursts.

Best Light Box for Macro Photography: Neewer 24×24

Neewer 700W24x24 inches Softbox with Lighting Kit

Pro-level two-point lighting is what you get with the Neewer 700W, without breaking the bank…

Need a setting for your macro images? This light box from Neewer is big enough to create a great stage set for your images.

This light box allows you to create a 24×24 inch photo studio anywhere, anytime.

The white translucent sides allow lighting to penetrate the light box, diffusing and softening it as it passes through.

If you need total isolation, you can also close the front panel and insert your camera lens through the slit in the fabric.

The Neewer Light Box includes additional color inserts for changing the background of your image. The 4 include back panels are non reflective and can be inserted in seconds.

Key Features of the Neewer Light Box 24×24

  • Detachable front door cover with slit for camera lens
  • Includes 4 Background cloth colors to set the perfect scene.
  • Translucent nylon outer shell is perfect for softening external lights

Best Softbox for Macro Photography: Flash Diffuser Light Softbox

Many macro photographers, especially those who shoot outdoors, may despair at the thought of carrying external lights and softboxes outdoors.

Imagine you could fit one into your bag, wouldn’t that be cool?

This flash diffuser is a mini softbox that mounts over your camera’s existing flash and allows you to take that studio grade, soft lighting anywhere you want to take it.

Available in three sizes, it will cover most flash sizes with relative ease.

This is a one-size-fits-all diffuser which will fit most shoe mount flashes from all the major brands.

Key Features of the Flash Diffuser Light Softbox

  • Features an additional internal diffuser
  • Compatible with most shoe mount flash units from most major brands
  • Allows you to take studio grade soft lighting anywhere you need to take it

Conclusion

So, you made it to the end of your journey through the world of macro photography lighting.

Are you feeling prepared to take your macro images to the next level?

As you will now know, good lighting or a good flash can really make all the difference with these close-up images.

It’s all about capturing the fine detail. A great light will give you a great looking, well lit subject to work with.

Once you see the results with your own eyes, I’m pretty confident that you’ll agree.

Time to get up close and personal with your subjects.