Do you want to capture amazing macro flower photography? Photos that could’ve been taken by a pro?
Don’t worry. Because it turns out there are some simple flower photography tips–which will get you shooting stunning flower shots in no time at all.
And in this article, I’m going to share these tips with you.
Let’s dive right in, starting with:
1. Find a Fresh Subject for Your Flower Photography
Flower photography 101:
If you want gorgeous flower photos…
…then you have to find a gorgeous flower photography subject. Period.
Don’t settle for a poor subject. Don’t settle for a mediocre subject. Instead, make sure you find the best.
The best flowers:
- Are completely undamaged
- Include no insects
- Have recently bloomed (that is, have no browning petals, etc.)
- Are very clean
It’s very easy to overlook these aspects of a flower.
Unfortunately, an imperfect subject will often ruin a photo. So I advise you to always, always, always take a quick look at your flower before shooting!
Note that, if your flower isn’t in perfect condition, you can still get some excellent shots. But you have to change your composition so as not to capture, for instance, the holes or the dirt.
You can also pluck off dead petals. You can clean off dirt with a spray bottle.
Finally, you can try to embrace the imperfections of your subject. You can create a stark photo of a withered flower, like this:
But if you do this, you have to do it deliberately. Otherwise, the shot just won’t work.
You need a beautiful subject. There’s no way around it.
2. Use a Wide Aperture for Shallow Depth of Field
Many flower photographers (and macro photographers more broadly) think that the whole flower must be sharp.
And so they choose a narrow aperture for a deep depth of field. They want a photo that is completely in focus.
I think that this type of photography tends to be less interesting. Photos with a deep depth of field tend to lose their sense of artistry.
(Depth of field refers to the overall blurriness of the photo. A photo with a deep depth of field is sharp throughout. A photo with a narrow depth of field is very blurry, with one small sliver in focus.)
So while some photographers like a narrow aperture, I’d suggest you go in the other direction. Choose a wide aperture, which will create a shallow depth of field.
It will get you some gorgeous abstract flower photos! Images that stand out from the crowd. You simply have to embrace that shallow depth of field look.
You do have to be careful when focusing, because a shallow depth of field gives you a very narrow plane of focus.
I’d recommend switching over to your lens’s manual focus. And try to put the focus on something recognizable–something that the viewer can latch onto, even if everything around it is blurry.
3. Choose a Simple, Clear Composition for the Most Powerful Flower Photography
What’s one of the key elements of flower photography (or macro photography more generally)?
A flower photo with a poor composition is a poor flower photo. Which means that you need to compose your flower photographs very carefully.
Now, composition refers to the arrangement of elements within the frame. So you need to pay attention to a few things:
- The main subject
- Any secondary subjects
- The background
The main subject is what actually drew you to the scene in the first place. It’s your focal point.
But you need to make it clear that the photo is about that main subject. Remove all distractions from the photo–anything that would take away from the main flower. In general, simple is better!
Which leads me to the next point:
Unless you have an excellent reason to incorporate any other subjects…
…get rid of them. You don’t need additional flowers (or, even worse, leaves, branches, or trees) intruding in your beautiful flower shot.
Remember: You want to create the simplest composition possible.
And finally, you should look at the background. You want it to be clear and simple. My favorite macro photography backgrounds are uniform–and flower photography is no exception. If you can, create a single color background. If you’re struggling to find one, try shooting against the sky. It’ll give you a nice blue or white background (depending on the weather).
One that’ll look great when paired with a colorful subject!
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4. Shoot Your Flower From at Least Three Different Angles
It might be tempting to photograph your flower photography subject from just one angle.
After all, some angles are far easier to use than others. Which is why shooting from standing height is the most popular angle you’ll see.
But shooting from a standing height is rarely the best choice.
Instead, I suggest you try some other (more original!) angles. That’s how you’ll capture flower photos that are truly creative.
For instance, you should get down low, and shoot on a level with the flower. This will create more intimate flower photos.
And you should also get below the flower, and shoot up toward the sky. This will result in a wonderfully unusual perspective.
You can also shoot from an overhead angle. This will allow you to capture photos like this:
However, I recommend you fill the frame with your flower. The ground rarely makes for a great background.
Now, there’s no one best angle that you can shoot flowers from. So I suggest you experiment. Shoot your flower from as many different angles as possible.
Once you’ve tried the three angles I suggested, come up with more! Shoot from a slight downward angle. Shoot from a slight upward angle. Move around your flower, shooting it from different directions.
That way, you’re practically guaranteed to get some beautiful flower photographs.
5. Include Beautiful Colors (But Limit Your Shot to One, Two, or Three Colors)
One of the great things about flowers:
I recommend you choose colorful flowers whenever you can find them. Pure colors tend to be best, whereas colors that change as they move along the flower are a bit harder to work with.
Now, same as my composition advice:
You want to use colors for impactful shots. But you want to use color in the simplest way possible.
That’s why I suggest using only one, two, or three colors.
That is, you can create a single-colored flower photo, like this one:
These tend to be shot up close.
You can take a duo-toned photo, like this:
Or you can create a tri-colored photo, like this one:
Any more colors, and your photo will start to appear chaotic (especially if the colors contrast heavily with one another).
6. Shoot During Cloudy Conditions for the Best Flower Lighting
You might think that the best type of flower photography lighting is bright and sunny.
But the truth is…
…bright and sunny lighting is the absolute worst type of conditions for flower photography. Because the bright sun casts harsh shadows, and results in washed-out, unpleasant looking photos.
So here’s an ultra-useful flower photography tip:
Shoot with cloudy light.
(The darker the clouds, the better.)
Clouds diffuse the harsh sunlight. And this results in wonderfully soft lighting. Which helps you capture lots of gorgeous detail in your flower photos.
Did I mention that soft lighting tends to make colors more saturated?
So flowers look wonderful under cloudy skies.
I know that it might be tempting to go out on sunny days. But resist that urge.
Instead, shoot on cloudy days.
You’ll get some truly amazing shots!
Flower Photography Tips: Next Steps
Now that you’ve read all these flower photography tips, you know how to take gorgeous flower photos.
And all you have to do?
Get out and shoot.
But don’t stop there!
If you’re looking to keep taking your macro photos to new heights, I recommend you sign up for my email list, where I send all sorts of macro photography tips, tricks, and secrets that I don’t share on my blog.
I’ll also send you my eBook, free of charge:
Mastering Macro Photography: 10 Quick Tips for Stunning Macro Photos
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