Here's a really quick and dirt-cheap way to modify an external flash for using it in macro-photography.
An external flash (at least one mounted on the top of your camera) won't help much trying to illuminate an object right in front of your lens.
So you have to get it's light to go where you need it.
I made this in minutes, but it worked so fine that I used it for a couple of weeks now and found no major draw-backs, so I had to share it.
So no step-by-step and no measures (as they may vary depending on your flash anyway), but I'm pretty sure you will be able to reproduce this by just seeing the pics.
- external flash/speedlight
- some kind of can with reflective inner coating (I used a tobacco can made of cardboard, it's pretty easy to shape with a cutter knife and the coating is reflective but with a matt finish, so it diffuses the light nicely)
- some kind of diffusing material (I used one layer of a handkerchief)
- a rubber band
- cutter knife
- (optional) some more appropriate tool if you prefer to use a tin can (beware of sharp edges, sand and use some tape to cover those before trying to attach it to your flash, you've been warned!)
Measure the dimensions of your flash and mark the surface of the can. Remember that it has a rounded surface, so height is ok, but width has to be a little larger (diameterwise) than what you measured..
You can calculate that (btw. it's pi-day today ;D ), but trial-and-error works fine, too.
Cut out the opening for your flash. Just make sure it fits tightly and doesn't wobble around -> no fun. So preferably cut less and try one time more instead of cutting too much and frown.
If you aligned it properly, add the gauze / diffusor tissue with a rubber ring and you are ready to go, see the pics I made with this setup.
PS: In automatic or program mode you will surely get overexposed photos if the flash is set to Full/TTL or underexposed if it's set to 1/16.
You will have to go to manual mode and experiment a little, I will not explain basics in here.
Ah, and there's a homemade beanbag in the pics, pretty useful for taking pictures at ground level where no tripod can reach.
It's just rice in a zip-loc bag, but works fine.
An angled scope/angle finder is worth it's money, too. Seagull/China (building cameras/equipment since 1960) has specialized on this products. Available via Amazon and really bang-for-the-buck-precision-product from CN and no BS.
Got one for 39 ˆ and I don't regret one cent.
Multiply by 10 if you prefer to buy one provided by your camera manufacturer...
Optionally you can still stencil-print Canon, Nikon or Pentax on it ;P