Tips & Tricks

Photographing Flowers

Capture Those First Signs of Spring and Beyond

Spring has definitely sprung in our neck of the woods, and I’m guessing it’s sprung for a lot of you as well. So now’s a great time to offer tips on photographing flowers.  And these tips are great not only for photographing flowers, but also whenever you take photographs of things up close.

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1. Study your subject first, then snap the picture. I must admit, sometimes I jump right into taking pictures without really looking at my subject. You really want to visualize the picture in your mind first, then take your picture.


2. Composition.  Leading lines are one useful tool to make sure you’re taking the best picture possible. Use leading lines in your surroundings to lead the eye to the subject of your composition. Get creative! Leading lines are everywhere. Trees, lamp posts, walkways, shorelines, even sun rays! Play with your composition to use the leading lines to full effect.

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3. Cropping. Do you want a tight crop {a macro shot} or more of a wide angle look? How many flowers are in your picture? Just one or a whole field? Commit to your shot! Cropping can have a big effect on the mood of your photograph.


4. Check your lighting. Is the sun behind you or your flower? This is a good opportunity to catch some sun flares and add some atmosphere to your photograph.

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5. Perspective. Don’t just shoot your flower straight on. You have a lot of options. What is the focal point of your picture? Is it the stem? Petals? Flowers don’t have a bad side! Take some from below, above and the side.  Switch it up!  See what looks best!

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6. Check your background. Is there anything in the background that’s distracting? Sometimes things in the distance can add a little something extra to your image but you have to be careful! Make sure your background is working with your subject and not against it.


7. Focus. Focus. Focus. Make sure your picture is crisp. Achieving sharp pictures can be tricky depending on lighting and motion. It’s especially important in pictures of flowers when your frame is filled with the flower. You want to make sure the viewer’s eye has something to focus on.

If you are using an iPhone or Android, you should use the touch-to-focus feature.   This is exactly what it sounds like.  As you’re setting up your photo, touch the part of the screen where you want the camera to focus — in this case the flower.  With an iPhone, a yellow box will appear on top of the flower.  You will notice the flower is clear and the background appears blurred.  You will also see a yellow slider to the right of the box with a sun symbol in the center.  Drag the sun up to brighten the image and down to darken it.

photo-1419293667059-7f9357d090138. Settings.

Using a Point and Shoot:  Most point and shoots have a macro setting. Ironically, it’s the setting with the flower!  The macro setting allows you to focus a little closer, sometimes up to a centimeter. You will also achieve a shallow depth of field because it will tell the camera to use a larger aperture. However, when using the Macro setting, you may find that it’s harder for your camera to focus. If that is the case, back up a bit and refocus.


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Using a dSLR: Most dSLRs also have the Macro setting (the flower). If you are shooting in Manual, open up your lens and shoot with a large aperture.  If you are especially enthusiastic, you might consider buying a macro lens, such as the Nikon 105mm f/2 or the Canon 100mm f/2.8.  But a new lens purchase is not necessary.

9. Use a tripod. If you are shooting outdoors, you have the wind to fight against. Using a tripod will give you some stability. Personally, I don’t even own a tripod, but there are times I wish I did! Get creative and use what’s around you to steady your camera while you shoot. Fences, stumps, and even your own knee can make a big difference.

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So, take some time this week to get outdoors and shoot those flowers! Try out your camera’s macro setting, or if you have a macro lens (I’m jealous!), bust it out and use it.

Originally posted 2011 by Stephanie Glover.  Revised April 18, 2016

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