The challenge this week was Gardens Part II, with a focus on close up shots of individual flowers. I chose to continue the garden topic this week since I absolutely love photographing flowers!
Some of the photos are examples of macro photography. For those of you not familiar with the term “macro photography,” it refers to a photograph where the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size (at least 1:1 magnification). For more information on macro photography, check out a few great articles published by Photography Life and DP Preview.
Here are a few of my favourite photos from this week’s photo session:
Here a few tips for outdoor flower photography:
Use a Tripod
- If it’s a day with very little wind, bring a tripod. While it can be a bit of a pain to carry around, trust me – it will come in useful! It will enable you to lower your shutterspeed in shady areas, which then enables you to lower your ISO. The lower the ISO, the less noise you will find in your photograph.
- I also find it easier to manually focus using live-view on the LCD screen on the back of my camera compared to using the viewfinder. If your camera is on the tripod, you can really zoom in on the LCD screen to see if the areas you want focused are in fact in focus.
- Another benefit to using a tripod (along with a timer or remote), is that you can then hold reflectors, flash or paint the flower with light while the photograph is being taken. Handy if you don’t have an assistant…
- Try taking photos of the flowers from different angles, and don’t be afraid to get down low to get an interesting shot.
- Be aware of distracting elements around the flower. Other brightly coloured flowers, twigs, leaves and branches have the potential to be distracting and pull the eye away from your main subject. You may need to change your composition or hold them out of the way while taking your photo. That being said, sometimes these elements can be used to emphasize the flower. For example, in the photo below, the green leaves behind the purple iris create a nice colourful contrast to the purple petals. The petals might have blended too much into the dark background if the bright green leaves were not there as a backdrop.
- Play with the depth of field. A shallower depth of field can give you the flower in focus, while creating a nice blur (bokeh) in the background.
- Use a macro lens to get close to your subject. Lenses have a minimum distance they have be from a subject in order to focus on the subject. Macro lens usually have a very short minimum distance and allow you to get closer to your subject. They also often create a beautiful bokeh background.
- If it is a windy day, you will generally needed a faster shutterspeed in order to get the flowers in focus while they were moving. In order to get the faster shutterspeed, you will have to increase your ISO.