TutorialsMacro photographyHelpful Tips for Macro Flower Photography

Helpful Tips for Macro Flower Photography

Flowers bring both beauty and endless variety to the human mind. So macro flower photography can be fun, pleasant, and not dull, and you can always find a new subject. This item creates fantastic images that both the photographer and the visitor can always enjoy.

What is macro photography?

The difference between a macro image and a standard image is that you can fill the entire image with a small object, make it unusually large, and show details that were not previously visible to the naked eye.

Why macro photography?

It has been said that the variety of colors, shapes, and beauty of flowers is a trick of nature and plants to attract insects so that plants can reproduce in this way.

Also, photographers like me, who were fascinated by macro photography, could find a way to show their love for nature with the help of plant photography. And on the other hand, they offer their artistic taste by editing the photos and using their imagination.

Macro pictures do not only include flowers. Their subject can be insects and organs of human and animal faces such as eyes.

When we are engaged in solving everyday problems in our ordinary world, we ignore the small worlds next to us Simply because our eyes cannot recognize their details.

 When you look at the picture of a rosebud, you see a world full of more information and vast information hidden from your eyes until that moment. It transforms the human perception of existence and teaches us not to underestimate small things.

Do you want to see more photos of flowers?? So refer to the Fine Art Floral Photography post.

Creative macro flower photography

Camera

If you want to start macro shooting classically, you need a DSLR camera. These cameras are more expensive than the more straightforward types.

But instead, they give you a wide range of photography settings that will be highly effective in improving the quality of your photo.

 And most importantly, they allow you to use different lenses with different characteristics. There are various DSLR cameras in different price ranges that you can choose based on your budget.

This does not mean that you can not take a macro photo if you do not have a DSLR camera. If you search the internet, you can find ways to do macro photography with more straightforward cameras or even a mobile phone.

Photos can be awe-inspiring but don’t expect them to replace a DSLR completely, and if you are going to use those devices, it will help if you lowered your expectations.

I started digital photography 14 years ago. Then I bought an Olympus E-510, which was an up-to-date camera.

Best lens for macro photography

Macro lenses have a magnification of about 1: 1. This number can also vary slightly depending on the lens. In more straightforward language, these lenses can be close to the subject up to a few centimeters, and the subject’s image fills the surface of the camera sensor.

 As a result, you will have a picture that shows an extensive view of a small object.

I could only get a  Zuiko digital 35mm macro lens for my Olympus camera in Iran. It has a medium quality but is excellent in terms of magnification and approach to the subject.

 Zuiko had another macro lens with a focal length of 50 and an aperture of f /2, which was of better quality, especially the diaphragm f/2 compared to the f/3.5 aperture of my lens made it possible to shoot in less light.

And it was even suitable for portraits other than macros. I went to Tehran to buy a 50 mm lens from Urmia, my hometown and bought it from an Olympus representative company, but when I returned to the hotel, I realized that it was difficult to focus.

Eventually, the company took it back, but it announced that it had only one sample in response to my request to deliver another lens.

Sigma had developed another lens with a trendy 105mm focal length, which allowed you to take macro shots from a distance. It was a great way to shoot insects like butterflies. If you try to get close to them, they will run away.

But I could not find the right type of that Sigma lens for mounting an Olympus camera in Tehran. I must mention the quality of the Zuiko lens is much better than the Sigma.

Flower photography without macro lens

I also bought a Zuiko extension tube and attached it to a standard 40-150mm lens. Was it better to work with a 35mm macro or an extension tube?

 It depends a bit on the taste. The extension tube took incredible pictures. But focusing was more difficult and time-consuming and required more skill because the extension tube is compatible with just some lenses, in terms of focusing.

I used an unusual way to fill in the gaps in Sigma 105 mm macro lens, which was to attach the extension tube to a Zuiko 70-300mm standard lens, and it could help me take a macro image from a distance.

Tripod

Professional photographers recommend using a high-quality tripod for this purpose. Insufficient light may cause you to have to use low aperture speed when shooting, and the tripod can prevent hand-shake.

On the other hand, in macro mode, many details are usually visible in the photo, which disappears with vibration.

But to be honest with you, I have never used a tripod because I was a doctor sent to the region’s villages by the health center. On the one hand, I carried a bag containing the patient examination equipment and, on the other hand, a bag containing the camera and lenses.

There was no longer any possibility for a tripod. I used to take pictures of flowers while traveling between villages and the home. I was both doing my job and having fun in nature.

On the other hand, the quality of my tripod was not very good. But the good thing was that it was light because it was made of soft metal.

I had a great Manfrotto monopod that I used to it with my large telephoto lens to photograph distant objects.

Steady fixed and motionless

As a photographer, try to be motionless and steady when you stand and sit and take pictures, which was hard for me. And now that 14 years have passed since I started working as a macro photographer, it has become even more challenging.

But the fact is that staying steady helps the quality of your images a lot.

Macro flower photography lighting

Using the studio and lighting is recommended, which is very useful for improving the quality. If this is not possible, use 2 or 3 reading lights.

Minimize shadows as much as possible by using more light sources and changing their angles. Instead of an atelier, you can use a cardboard box, put the flower in it, and direct the light towards the plant.

It is also appropriate to use a mirror as a reflector to scatter light and illuminate everywhere evenly. If not for the mirror, a shiny white piece of colored wood or even white paper would do the job.

I have never used these devices. And I did my job with natural light, with a few exceptions, which I’ll discuss later. Because I always did my job in nature. I came across a subject by chance. And I decided to try my luck by taking a picture of it.

Sometimes it was noon, and the weather was sunny, sometimes it was sunset, and sometimes it was early morning and sunrise, and sometimes it was cloudy. In general, I had to adapt to natural light in all these situations.

Imagine how artificial light can be used when photographing the blossom of a tree ?!

Flash

It is a good and suitable tool. Because it is portable, you can buy a large, separate flash and install it on the camera. Or you can be content with the same camera’s own flash. The camera’s flash itself is enough for macro photography.

From the beginning, Iran was a country with many arid regions. There is no natural greenery in some provinces, like where I live. And it is the man who has artificially created green farms and gardens.

With the advent of drought and climate change for several years now, Iran has become drier. Plants are being removed from the plains. Rivers are either arid or flow only seasonally.

In these conditions, it is more difficult to find flowers in nature. Especially some notable and beautiful flowers do not belong to the nature of Iran at all.

So what was the solution? Yes, I went to a big florist shop and said, “Hey, can I take pictures of the flowers here?” The salesman laughed and said yes!

But the light was meager, so unlike always, I used the flash and took beautiful photos.

Camera settings for macro flower photography

Photo capture mode

There are different DSLR cameras, but they usually have preset settings for shooting in different modes. You can use your camera’s macro mode if you are new, but I recommend studying more and shooting using the manual method because it allows you to innovate in taking photos.

Aperture and depth of field

This number can be anything between f / 1.4 to f / 22. The higher the number, the narrower the aperture. A narrow gap is used in high light and at the same time shows the depth of field more clearly.

Some photographers are interested in thin crevices to show the depth of field in the image. I prefer a wide aperture. First, it allows you to shoot in low light. Second, you can use a faster aperture to prevent image blurring due to camera shake.

Also, it is more eye-catching if the flower is clear and the background is a blur in macro mode. The clearer the subject in the macro image is than the other components of the image, the more attention it attracts.

The amount of aperture you will be able to use will depend on the quality of your lens.

Manual vs. Auto-Focus

Autofocus on digital cameras has made things a lot easier today. A costly DSLR camera can focus on more points in the field, which would be great, but cheaper DSLRs have limitations.

Sometimes you want to take a picture of a row of flowers or different distances from you. In these cases, autofocus is often problematic, and it is better to use manual focus.

Raw

You can choose to save photos in both raw and jpg format in the camera settings. Raw gives you more advanced photo editing capabilities in Photoshop while minimizing image data loss in editing. Therefore, it is the favorite of professionals.

Composition

Composition and capture are essential in photography. The picture components must be in harmony with each other to evoke beauty in the mind. And it would help if you tried to put the main subject in the middle of the image.

 If these conditions are not provided during the shooting, they can be corrected later with the crop tool in Photoshop.

Abstract macro plant photography

Sometimes you get too close to the subject, but it is slightly larger than usual. Like sunflower stamens or the trunk layers of a tree, in this case, the picture does not look like the main object, and at first, it seems unusual and meaningless. This image can be considered abstract. If you are interested in this style, you will create beautiful images.

water drops

After the rain, water droplets sit on the flowers, and from taking photos, in this case, stunning images are made of them; This is why some photographers spray water on the flowers themselves and take pictures, lol.!

One of 50

Do not be satisfied with taking a shot once or twice. Take a picture of a plant many times with different lenses from different angles with different settings, even if it is possible.

After finishing the work and displaying the photos on the computer, you realize that only one or two are impressive.

In some of them, your hands are shaking, so the photo is blurred.

In some, you forgot to adjust the aperture, speed, and ISO settings with ambient light, and the picture is either dark or white. Or you were so busy that you did not notice a cloud passing through the sky that dimmed the light.

Always upload your best photo on social networks to make your gallery spectacular. These networks are full of users who have taken every photo and uploaded images that are not good enough. This way  doesn’t seem right

Adobe Photoshop

If you want to offer valuable work in this field, you should be familiar with photo editing software. The best of which is Photoshop. It would be best to read almost how tools like Crop Gradient Level, Unsharp Mask, Layer, Contrast, etc., work.

How to sharpen a macro photo?

The best tool for this purpose is Unsharpen Mask filter in Adobe Photoshop. Just try not to sharpen the photo too much as it will cause the image to over-edit.

Close-up flower photography

You do not need to get too close to the flower to do this work. A distance of 30-50 cm is enough. Usually, relatively larger flowers are a better subject for this style. You can also use it to photograph a bunch of buds. As a result, you do not need a macro lens.

I use a standard 14-42mm Zuiko lens for close-up photography of flowers.

For more on short-distance photography, see the Close-up Photography article.

Conclusion

Macro photography of nature, flowers, and plants can create stunning images. You will get acquainted with the beauties of nature through this style.

But you may have to spend a little to achieve this goal. But if buying a macro lens is not affordable for you, you can buy an Extension Tube, which is cheaper.

Using more straightforward cameras, you can often take amazing macro photos of flowers. But it is better to be familiar with concepts in photography such as exposure, composition, and depth of field.

Using photo editing software in this way will help you.

Good luck!

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Babak Siminzar
Babak Siminzarhttps://www.bsiminzar.com
I am a general practitioner and work in a health center. In previous years, my place of work was rural areas in the northwest of Iran. In addition to medicine in those areas, I also did photography, which was my hobby. I am very interested in macro photography, so most of my portfolio photos are about it. I also visit and photograph historical sites on my travels.

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