Flower Photography Tips for Beginners & Macro Photography Ideas

Looking for flower photography tips? Look no further! In this photography tutorial, we share essential gear, settings, and other tips for beginners looking to blossom into flower photography. For more useful tips on getting in close with your camera, click for our Macro Photography page! We hope you enjoy the video, and we invite you to view the wide selection of other instructional and informative videos at BandH.com.

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Most of these tips are for taking flower pictures out in the field.

1. When hiking, I carry an 8.5x11 sheet of white paper to use as a reflector.  Weighs nothing and is effective.  I place it a little above the flower, or sometimes flat on the ground a little in front of the flower.   Be careful it doesn't over-brighten the stem below the flower.  Other times I carry a larger piece of white foam core, or a collapsible reflector/diffuser.

2. When using a diffuser, be careful the diffuser doesn't dim your subject too much relative to the background.  If you can diffuse both the flower and background, that's better

3. I carry an 8' umbrella some times in the field.  It completely diffuses the sun, is big enough to also diffuse the background, and blocks the wind.

4. I've had great luck using the Wimberly Plamp and Wimberly stake.  I have 3 of them.  I use them to hold the flower, and some times to hold a reflector or wind shield to the side.  Stake them in the ground, not to the tripod.  If you attach the plamp to the tripod, any vibration from pressing the shutter will shake the flower.  Plus, you won't have the freedom to easily move the tripod to recompose.  In a pinch in the field, if I dodn't have a plamp with me, I've found a couple of spare twigs with a Y at the top and used these to steady a flower in the wind.  It actually worked very well.

5. Use a tripod without a center section so you can get down low.

6. Experiment with different angles.  Straight from the side is usually excellent.  Straight down from the top can be interesting too.

7. When in the field (and only where it is allowed...never in national parks or nature areas), I carry pruning shears to clear grass growing in and behind the flower.  If you clear a foot or two behind the flower, you can use a smaller aperture and still have the background reasonably blurred.  Cutting grass with shears is much less damaging - the grass will grow right back.  I've found that pulling grass some times pulls up the flower.  So far, the only place I've used shears is on my own rural acreage.

8. If there are bugs on your flower that you don't want, the easiest way to get them off without damaging the flower is to flick the flower with your fingernail just below the bud.  This creates a shock that knocks them off.  Before doing that, see if you might have an interesting insect shot!  This works better than hobby paint brushes, tweezers, or trying to blow them off.  Plus, one flick usually knocks all of them off without damaging the flower.

9. If I expect to kneel a lot I take knee pads.  If I expect to be working in wet areas I take a small ground cloth.  

10. Since most flowers are brighter than the background, I use EV -1 or spot metering so I have a little headroom on the exposure.

11. A remote shutter release helps minimize camera movement.  

12. I replaced the feet on my tripod with spiked feet.  This is more solid than rubber feet which tend to float on the grass.  Set the tripod down firmly in the soil.  Stability is really important for macro shots.  The camera only has to move a little bit to blur the picture.

13. I usually use manual focus, and get the pistils or stamens the sharpest.  These are small enough that autofocus will often focus on the back petals or something else, which doesn't look as good.  

14. Rather than take 5 shots from the same position, move around the flower, take a closeup of the inside of the flower, move back and get the flower and some of the leaves below the flower, or several flowers in one picture.

15. Avoid direct sun if at all possible.  If you don't have a diffuser or reflector to soften shadows, wait for a cloud to cover the sun.  If you time it just right and catch the flower just as the sun is going in or out of shade, you'll still get some directionality to the light which looks better than full sun or full shade.

Thanks for sharing Andrew! This is a lot of good information.

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