ver since becoming interested in photography, I was never a big fan of the camera flash, but now I am hooked. Up until last week, I had only captured a handful of photos I really liked using a flash because the lighting was almost always harsh and flat. Granted, I only had my built-in camera flash to work with, and that’s still all I have, but I never realized how much of a difference a flash diffuser can make until just last week.
Recently, I began to notice that a lot of macro and bug photographers whose work I enjoy use flashes, but their photos have smooth lighting, with rich colors and details. At first I thought this was because they have better cameras, lenses, and flashes (which they do), or because they are great editors (which they might be), but they also have something else in common – they use flash diffusers.
This discovery led me to research more about flash diffusion. There are a lot of inexpensive diffusers available, but many photographers simply make their own out of a wide range of materials. I decided to go the DIY route.
Here is a comparison I made with a cooperating mayfly. These were shot hand-held, and the images are cropped so it’s easier to see the differences.
I am glad I spent the first two-and-a-half years of my photography life shooting with natural light because it has helped me understand composition, but if I had known that a flash diffuser would make such a big difference for macro photographs, I would have done this a long time ago! Part of the challenge of learning something yourself is not knowing what you can do next to make the biggest improvement.