A few flower tips.

Today, I shot some flowers, in anticipation of a photo club walkaround on Monday.

I’ll share a few here, to get you started.

If you have a macro lens, use it. If not, then consider a 50mm lens and get as close as you can: then crop in post-production. That’s why you have all those pixels. (If you use a “normal” lens, set it to a smaller f-number to get shallow depth of field).

And look for nice colour contrasts: purple and green is a great combination.

Here’s a shot taken in simple non-direct light (direct sunlight is not great), with a macro lens set to f/5.6. Normally, f/5,6 at close range gives you too narrow a depth of field, but in this case it works:

A flower

A flower, shot with a macro lens.

Red (or orange) and green is a great combination, also:


Poppies, shot with a macro lens

As said, if you can, avoid flash, and direct sunlight. Except translucent light, i.e. a flower lit by the sun from behind, can work very well:

Translucent tulip

Translucent tulip, lit from behind

Simple backgrounds are essential. Dark backgrounds are nice too, if you can get them.

A tulip

A tulip

Can you see that the iris shot below does not have a simple enough background, and that the light is a bit harsh? If I had been able to, I might have used a black sheet of paper behind the flower.

An iris

An iris

Importantly: get your exposure right. Foliage is dark: your camera will try to over-expose it. You may well need to use exposure compensation, of perhaps -0.5 to -2 stops, to get the right exposure. I am sure I used that in most shots here.

(“I am sure” because I am not sure: it is so automatic that I am not even consciously aware!)

This, I hope, is a start: go try some flower pictures!

0 thoughts on “A few flower tips.

  1. Michael,

    These are great tips. I don’t have a macro lens, so I use an extension tube on my 70-200mm f/4 lens to get closer to the flowers and the shallow depth of field. In most cases, it works well although the focusing speed can be an issue for moving things like bees. Thank you for mentioning light. I found that I had to do more post processing work if the light is harsh. Here a shot I took at noon, and I had soften the light a bit in Photoshop.



  2. Hi, Michael, I just came back from my vacation. I used porlerized filter on my NikonD90 @ day time, all the pictures look underexposed on computer, even they looked properly exposed on the LCD display.Do I need to increas ev to +0.5 or +1 whenever I use the filter?

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