Peony bouquetPeony bouquetPeonies in pastel in a watercolor montage.

Macro Photography Tips: Flowers

July 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Macro (life sized or greater) or close up Photography requires a DSLR with a dedicated macro lens for the best shots.

  1. Vary your depth of field (DOF = zone of acceptable sharpness) to see what looks best. Get and have a background that is distant from your flower with nice muted or complementary shades. OR use a more telephoto lens zoomed in at 200 or 300 mm while able to be more distant from the flower. Basically, you need your camera to be closer to your subject than the subject is to the background while shooting wide open with a long (say, 200mm or 300mm) or long macro lens (180 - 200 mm). Key factors that influence DOF: aperture, focal length and distance to the subject. Spring is hereSpring is hereGrape hyacinth in blue purple against soft green and yellow.
  2. Change your position. Don’t just shoot down on a flower or flowers. Look from below or from the side. Don't forget the underside. Early morning dew  adds to the dreamy quality. You can bring a spray bottle to help if nature disappoints. Adding glycerin to the water will help produce larger droplets. Rainy Day SunshineRainy Day SunshineShasta Daisy with raindrops. PoppyPoppyRed poppy with backside highlighted against black background.
  3. It wind is your enemy, go with it. Try long exposures on a tripod to capture the flowers motion in the wind. Patience is important. Azalea bud in the WindAzalea bud in the WindWood azalea bud in the wind.
  4. Find an object of interest in or around your flower to spice up your image, such as a butterfly or bug. Madam ButterflyMadam ButterflyButterfly with flower in nature background. Coneflower with BeeConeflower with BeePink coneflower or echinacea with bee.
  5. Look for abstract or graphic elements.B&W will bring out the texture if desired. Velvet MumVelvet MumVortex of a velvety mum.
  6. Light is essential: Whether ambient (natural) or man made. Backlighting may work with translucent flowers but mid day on a sunny day requires diffusion to even the light. If light is dim especially if close up, external or ring flash may be required.  Sunflower BacksSunflower BacksBackside viewof sunflowers against pure white background. dogwooddogwoodDogwood in the wild.
  7. Getting the correct focus is important. Place your object of interest as parallel - or flat to your plane of shooting.  Manual focus is essential. Imaging stacking software, such as Helicon Focus, may help if you want the hyper-realistic look.  I prefer selective focus to bring the eye to what I want to emphasize. Spring PansySpring PansyPansy in soft colors
  8. The LensBaby Velvet 56 mm f/1.6 and now Velvet 85 mm f/1.8 will add a soft glow around the edges - a gorgeous bokeh (blur), and creates a different, softer look. CoolCoolPurple clematis with softness. PerfectionPerfectionPretty bright pink rose with yellow center and dark soft background.

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