Testing off-camera lighting configurations

I spent some time in the BoG Photo Studio experimenting with off-camera lighting configurations for macro photography using the pass-through hot shoe camera rig described in a recent blog post.

Both photos feature “Lizzie,” my toy dinosaur-lizard. Lizzie is one of my favorite models.

The soft, diffused lighting in the first photo is mostly even, with relatively little contrast between light and shadow. As a result, the photo looks a little flat.

The soft, diffused lighting in the last photo shows more contrast, achieved by repositioning one of the two small flash units on my Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite. The juxtaposition of light and shadow seems to convey a greater sense of depth than the flat lighting in the first photo.

Now that I have figured out a lighting configuration that works, I will substitute a different “model” for Lizzie. I have learned from experience that it’s better to use a rugged toy like Lizzie for testing purposes, rather than one of the fragile scientific specimens that I like to photograph. Choose a test subject that is about the same size as your intended subject.

Tech Tips

The equipment used to shoot the macro photographs (shown above) is described in a recent blog post entitled Pass-through hot shoe. Two off-camera external flash units were added to the rig: a Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras; and a Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash. Both Godox flash units were fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier.

All of the external flash units were set for manual mode, including the Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite. The Godox off-camera flashes were fired by a Godox X2To/p radio flash trigger mounted on top of my camera; the Canon flash was triggered synchronously by the pass-through hot shoe on the X2To/p.

I shot JPG plus RW2 (Panasonic’s proprietary raw format). Both photos in this post are unedited JPGs straight from the camera.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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