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Next week I will receive a Canon EOS 6D Mark II. It's my first camera. I have also bought the Canon EF 100 f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. I am very interested in doing macro photography.

My question is about lighting for macro photography with my new camera. I've found things like the Lume Cube Panel Mini, but I am not really sure whether this is good solution or not.

Mostly I will be shooting out in the field in nature, so I know I want something portable (in a backpack) and battery-powered, but I'm not sure what else I should be looking for. What type of gear should I be looking at, and what lighting features are important to a macro shooter?

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The sun is a good start.

Learning the camera and lens first will be simpler with available light.

Simpler without trying to figure out a light at the same time.

Later you will know through experience what might work for you.

Later you will know if macro photography is even something you actually do or just something you tried on but did not fit.

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  • Thanks a lot for this :) I think it's the best answer :)
    – FrenkyB
    Mar 18 at 6:34
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The "classic" answer is a ring flash or macro flash.

Canon sells the Canon MR-14EX II Macro Ring Lite:

enter image description here

and the Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite:

enter image description here

The latter is a newer unit that can also control Canon RT flashes (and third party RT clones) via wireless radio. Do note that the two heads included with the MT-26X RT can detach from the central bracket to modify placement, but they are only controllable via the cables connecting them to the main unit in the camera's hot shoe.

They're both a bit pricey, as are most of Canon's flashes, but there are plenty of third party clones on the market as well.

Regardless of Canon or third party, be sure to confirm the unit will fit on your lens. Note that both list the EF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro as compatible, but if using the EF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM lens with either, the separate Macrolite Adapter 67 (or a third party knock-off) is required; if using the EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens, the separate Macrolite Adapter 72C is required. Any lens with filter threads larger than 72mm are not compatible with either unit.

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  • Thanks a lot for answer. Do you usually shoot macro with tripod or from hand?
    – FrenkyB
    Mar 19 at 8:55
  • Tripod whenever practical. The difference is worth it, as is learning to control your own lighting instead of depending on the weather or poor ambient lighting conditions indoors.
    – Michael C
    Mar 19 at 23:20
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Something like a hotshoe mounted Lume Cube is probably about the worst option. With macro you are going to need to get the light forward and around the lens... this is my typical setup (if it's not just natural light)... Nikon1 V2, Sigma 150/2.8, SB800, 12" softbox thing.

enter image description here

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  • Thanks for answer. How do you usually shoot macro - do you tripod or from hand?
    – FrenkyB
    Mar 19 at 8:54
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    Handheld usually, and the flash helps prevent recording motion because it is very close and at a very low power setting (extremely fast). Mar 19 at 13:23
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The 100mm macro lens is great for portraits too. The sun as suggested with appropriate shade and use of a reflector should give some great results if you do branch off.

On the macro side you can take longer exposures in available lighting. When photographing moving subjects like insects though be prepared to be out shooting when the air temperature is cool and the subject is still warming up. There could be some dew about then too for enhanced effect.

The ring flash mentioned also has two lights and by setting the levels independently you can start to introduce subject texture as straight on flash looks rather flat.

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