Flower photography is some of the most challenging a photographer can undertake for a flower photoshoot. This type of photography requires an eye for detail and specialized shooting modes.
A photographer must be creative and try to capture the beauty and elegance of flowers. Furthermore, they should try to bring out the dazzling colors, and any wildlife that interacts with the flowers such as insects. (And of course, keep your photography cheat sheet handy!).
The natural world has millions of flower species – from common daisies and poppies to brightly colored carnations and begonias. As a photographer, you have a plethora of opportunities to snap these gorgeous plants – your own garden, out in the countryside, or even at flower shows and events, for example.
Understanding how to photograph flowers is important. To help, we have created a list for 2020 of 10 flower photography tips for your benefit – enjoy!
1. Respect the surroundings and don’t cause disruptions
Flowers are extremely delicate – you must, therefore, take extreme care when photographing them. First and foremost, do not move or destroy other objects to get a clear shot of the flowers. You must respect the environment – if something is blocking your view, such as another plant – look for a different angle. Secondly, do not touch the flowers in any way. You could unwittingly disrupt their natural behaviors such a pollination and seed dispersion.
2. Look for favorable weather conditions
Whilst most photography is not dependent on weather, flower photography yields better results in light conditions. If you try to take flower photography during darkened weather conditions, the results may be poor – contrast and colors will be muted. Whilst it is not vital, an abundance of sunshine and light will greatly improve the overall quality of your shots. Don’t discount certain conditions however, such as rainfall – these can create interesting effects.
3. Invest in a tripod
A tripod is essential for flower photography. Without a tripod, you must rely on your own steadiness and balance. Even if you have impeccable hand control and coordination, you may struggle to hold the camera steady whilst focused on small parts of a flower. This could cause motion blur. Alternatively, it could cause the camera to focus on the wrong part of a flower. Using a tripod you can simply fix the camera in place and even use a remote shutter to eliminate any movement.
4. Choose a lens with macro capabilities
Different camera lenses have different minimal focal lengths. You must consider this when looking at flower photography equipment. Ideally, you want a lens that has a small minimal focal distance, or even a specialized macro lens. Macro lenses allow you to get close to the subject (i.e. a flower). Furthermore, they usually have a much larger aperture range which gives you greater control and creative options.
5. Try the macro shooting mode on your camera
If you do not have a DSLR with interchangeable lenses, consider the macro mode on your camera. Most point and shoot cameras have a macro function. This essentially sets the camera for you, so that you can take high-quality macro photos. In conjunction with a tripod, the macro shooting mode can produce fantastic results. This is the perfect stepping stone for those just starting out in photography and who may not have the confidence to use advanced shooting modes.
6. Use a large aperture for bokeh effects
Bokeh is a term you will frequently hear in photography. It is a technique where the background of a photo is out of focus to a point where beautifully blurred circles start to form. You can see an example in the photo below. This is achieved through large-aperture settings. A large aperture gives a shallow depth of field. This means that only a small part of the flower is in focus, whilst the background becomes blurred. Test different aperture settings to see what effect this has on your flower photo backgrounds.
7. Try different shutter speeds to allow for movement
Whilst aperture is important, the shutter speed should also be used. Consider this – when photographing flowers, you often have to deal with movement. Even a slight breeze could cause a flower’s petals or stem to move. Any movement could cause motion blur. Furthermore, if you are using a large aperture, the movement could mean your photo is out of focus. By using fast shutter speed, you can ensure that any movement is captured in sharp detail.
8. Think carefully about composition and placement
It can be difficult to know how to frame flowers. First and foremost, use the rule of thirds to place a flower in an aesthetic position within the photo. Secondly, look at what you can see in the background – ensure the background isn’t too overpowering or distracting. Thirdly, look at the placement of other flowers and consider symmetry and balance.
9. Concentrate on individual flowers
The best flower photos often include just one flower. Groups of flowers can look confusing – if the flowers are disorganized, the composition can look messy. By photographing a single flower, you can concentrate on its details. For example, you can zoom in on petals, or even the stamen. Furthermore, you can easily frame a single flower against any background.
10. Look for insect interactions
One of the greatest challenges of flower photography is capturing insects as they interact with the plants. Bees, wasps, flies – any type of insect. It is interesting to watch how these creatures interact with the flowers. Moreover, you can create some superb photos of these little critters in action. Try to capture bees and other insects in their natural behaviors to give your flower photos intrigue and character.
Flowers provide infinite photographic opportunities. Furthermore, as a photographer, you can gain a sense of satisfaction when you make a particularly beautiful composition. This type of photography allows you to truly explore colors, contrast, and fine details. Moreover, it also allows you to try your hand at advanced shooting techniques, and test different DSLR camera modes. Why not venture out into your garden, or nature, and see what magnificent species of flowers you can find to photograph?