Back when the Sony F717 still worked, my favorite and most unique photos came when I would shoot bugs and toads almost touching the lens with an automatic Sony flash unit handheld a couple inches above them. With a few square inches of light that close it was similar to the look of a huge softbox or umbrella on a person = flattering and smooth light.
It was a very "hands-on" system requiring double manual dexterity and I wouldn't recommend it to most people, but oh man the pictures were good!
My current version of this setup is a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone with an LED penlight in my left hand. Sometimes I add the phone's own light next to the lens.
Not nearly as "softbox" in size, but new products in this area are hot right now and I'm even more likely to re-purpose and modify something currently available for cheap $$.
Bottom line is that shots like this are what I call fun, and I missed shooting them for a few years.
Can't wait for the Galaxy S5 next May when our cell plan is due. It's got a seriously better camera both for stills and 4K video.