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Cee’s Tips and Tricks: Floral Macros Part One

Tips and TricksThis week I will attempt to give you some ideas for floral macro photography.  Flowers are my favorite thing to photograph and I adore getting up close and personal with them.

There is one question I get asked all the time, do I need a special lens for macros? The answer is no.  There are lens that will do macro and have some real fun functions.   I found my normal lenses usually do the trick.  There are plenty of classes and books for those who really want to get serious about macro lenses and photography.  As you know, I write basically for the beginner and photographers who just have a lot of fun taking photos.

Lenses and Zoom

105 fixed f2.8 lens

105 fixed f2.8 lens

The one lens I would recommend if a low numbered f-stop because you can get a much clear and cleaner looking photo, but that is not always necessary either.

The best way to get a macro or close up is to use your zoom function on your camera or lens.  I will list a couple of my favorite lenses below.  Most camera lenses come in these lens sizes or comparable sizes.

  • 50m fixed lens with f1.8 – It takes get great macros of flowers.  You usually can be within 2-8 inches of your flower.  It depends on your camera on how close you can get to the flower.  The clarity is remarkable at f1.8
  • 100m fixed lens with f2.8  – This lens also takes great closeup and crisp sharp edges.  Again you can usually get real close to the bloom you are photographing.
  • 18-200 lens with f4.5 range – When zoomed out to 200 most cameras will let you get within a 18″ inches of the bloom being photographed.  Wonderful for getting flowers that are closer to the ground.  It will have a softer bokeh in the background.
  • 70-300 lens with f5.5 range – When zoomed out to 300 most cameras will let you get within 3 to 4 feet of the flower.  Gives an extremely soft bokeh.  Great for fields of flowers because you don’t have to be so close to get a macro shot.

NOTE:  A tip on the long zoom lenses, in low lighting situations you are more likely to get a blurry image because the shutter speed will be much slower.

On the two photos below, notice the softer background and edges on the flowers.   The purple dahlia was taken at 200mm.

Photo untouched.  Photo taken at 200mm.

Photo untouched. Photo taken at 200mm.

This dahlia was taken with at 300mm.

Photo untouched.  Photo taken zoomed to 300mm

Photo untouched. Photo taken zoomed to 300mm

Setting Up Your Photo

Make sure you don’t have any distracting background noise in your photo.  It could be anything from an unwanted bug, bug eaten petals to dead leaves or even soil in the frame.  Remember, to always have your camera set on its highest resolution, so you can always crop out what is not needed.  I’ve got a couple of photos showing some background noise.  You may need to find a different location or angle for your photo.

This first shot I took at my desk.  Then I noticed all the background noise and had to move the cut daffodil to place where the background was a solid color.

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Most of my floral photography I do is outside in its natural growing environment.  For example, this dahlia has another blossom in front of it.  I liked the angle, so what I did was gently moved the flower out of the range of my picture frame so I could take the photo.  It is okay to be creative in getting your photo.  Just make sure you don’t harm the plant in any way. 051614 tips and tricks

Sun in Natural Environment

It is best photograph your flowers in the early morning or late afternoon so the sun is not directly overhead.  Although that is not always possible.  So you can use your body to give the flower some shade.  If you have a friend with you, you can have them stand and shade the flower so you can get a better angle.  There are also reflector screens which you can buy for photography and polarized lens filters.  Actually an umbrella would work as well to shade your flower.  If you don’t shade your entire flower you will get a photo that looks like this which is really hard to make pretty.  Photo untouched.

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In my next tip and trick, I will cover more on composition and cropping of floral photography.  I hope this gives you some new things to try out.  Happy shooting.

To view my other Tips and Tricks click here.

Qi (energy) hugs


22 replies »

  1. Thanks!! My best flower macros have been taken in excellent light. It seems less important what equipment I’m using than how much light I have to work with! But a faster lens is always a better choice than a slower one 🙂 So I use the 20mm f1.7, 45mm f1.8, 14mm f2.8. In 35mm terms, the focal lengths of all lenses get doubled because I use an Olympus 4/3 camera — except when I use one of my Panasonic super zooms (I have two). I should use my better lenses more often, but I carry the little superzoom compact with me all the time, so it gets a lot of use 🙂


  2. Thanks for the tips. As an experienced DSLR user I find that my issues with flowers usually are more compositional. Exposure and bokeh are fine but try as I might i have never been able to frame a flower shot in a way I actually found appealing. I guess I just need to take more pictures until I figure out what works for me.


  3. Cee, I can’t stand it any more! I just love your floral pictures! I am going to have to get a 50m fixed lens! Thanks for all the GREAT tips!


  4. Cee, I love your flower photos. I want to improve my macro photography of Australian natives which are beautiful but small. Apart from all the obvious things to improve depth of field, like stopping down, more light etc. are there any other tricks? cheers, Michael


    • I think the best thing you can do is just keep taking photos. Then study what you do or do not like about them. If you ever have any specific questions, please feel free to contact me. If you would like me to critique any I would be more than happy to also. Thanks for asking.


  5. Thanks Cee, the only Aussie natives out atm are acacias (wattles) so I won’t be posting too many flower photos just yet. So many blog challenges to choose from. I think will be cherry picking – but your’s did stand out for me. I do have so much fun with photography. I just received an adapter for all my old Mamaya 645 lenses. Very exciting.


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never look directly at the sun, instead, look at the sunflower, uplift, motivate, photography, Cee Neuner,, sunflower, macro, yellow

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