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Cee’s Tips and Tricks: Floral Macros Part Two

Tips and TricksThis week’s tips and tricks will be all about composing a floral macro. This post will be full of photos of flowers that I have taken at with different perspective for you to study.  I have four different categories for types of flowers.

  • Medium sized:  roses, dahlias, mums, peonies, lilies, tulips, daffodils, passion flowers, some cactus flowers, camellias, ranunculus, verbena, zinnia
  • Large sized or multi-bloom:  most sunflowers, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas, dinner plate sized dahlias (8-10″ blooms or bigger), tree blossoms, hyacinths, alliums, foxgloves, wisteria
  • Small sized:  grape hyacinths, most wildflowers, dandelion, snow drops, dutch irises and other smaller irises, carnations, pansies, violas, daisies, primroses
  • Irregular shaped:  columbine, bearded iris, lupine, bird of paradise, lilies, gladiolus, delphiniums

Before I get started on my categories.  Always make sure your camera is set on the highest resolution.  This allows you to crop and still have good resolution.  Especially if you want to see the fine details of macro photography.  When taking your photo, always add in a little more of the flower or background, so you have room to crop and adjust the center point.

Another important thing to keep in mind, try not to place the center of the flower directly in the middle.  It gives you a flatter and boring photograph.  Change up your angle and perspective.

Medium Sized Blooms

Medium sized flowers are the easiest to photograph.  They are basically round and have a defined center.  You can usually get the entire flower in the frame of your photograph.  Remember with macros you don’t necessarily need the entire bloom.

In the examples below I have a camellia that I photographed.  It is nearly in the middle of the photo and there are leaves all around it.  Not a bad photo, but I think it is boring.

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So I did a little cropping and changed it to a portrait (tall photo).  I also kept the same size ratio as my original (4×6).  I cropped off the left side of the leaves and some of the flower.  Your eye actually fills in the detail of the remainder of the flower and you get a more unique take on the flower.

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Take photos of all the angles on flowers. I usually take 5 or 6 of each blossom I photograph, all at different angles. That will help create your own style as well as develop your photographic eye.

I took this daisy-type flower from it’s side.  I took this photo in a field of them and the yellow flowers created a great bokeh background.  Notice the right third is just background which uses the rule of thirds rule.

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Large Sized or Multi-Bloom

To give you an idea of larger sized blooms the photo below is of a dahlia I took just for fun.

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For this next dahlia which is another 10 inch bloom, I actually have a flower and a bud.  I purposely showed the back to help get a sense that these blooms are big.

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This sunflower with it’s petals must have been over a foot and half.  I only took a portion of it, because your mind’s eye will finish filling in the rest of the flower.

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The multi-blooms are fun to capture.  I think of hydrangeas and rhododendrons first because there are plenty in my part of the world to photograph.  They have wonderful circular shape when captured as a whole bloom.  Once again the right third of the photo is basically negative space.

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Here are a few shots of delphiniums that I have captured over the years.

In this one I have the top half pretty much in the center.  Although the top third of the photos doesn’t have near as much of the flower.

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Here is just one of the blooms on a delphinium.

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Here is a photo I took earlier this year.  It is of the bottom half just starting to bloom.  Don’t forget about flowers that have beautiful buds.  They photograph so very well and make interesting photos too.

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Small Sized Blooms

For smaller blooms you can always get more than one flower in your photo.  Clusters of three to five are perfect as in the photo of the primroses below.

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Grape hyacinths also known as muscari are fun little guys to photograph.  I like cutting them and getting real up close macros shots.  Here are a couple of shots I’ve taken over the years with different perspectives.

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And another view totally different perspective.

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Irregular Shaped Blooms

These have become my favorite to photograph because they are challenging.  They come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  One thing that really needs to be noted is the background noise.  I will show you a photo (untouched) of some iris I took inside yesterday and that might give you an idea of how the background can detract from your bloom.

Notice the wall ends on the left and you can see a part of our ceiling.  Now on the bottom right you can see our white wood chair in the photo.  The chair would be easy to crop out, but the end of the wall not so easy if I wanted to get the entire back of iris for a photo.  Also the top right has another stem of an iris which also is distracting.

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This brings up another good perspective you can try.  Take the back of flowers.  Here is one I took last night of an iris back and with some buds.

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Here is a columbine I shot at a friends house.  It is one of my all time favorite photos.  This was taken as the sun was going down and in it’s natural setting.

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Happy shooting.

To view my other Tips and Tricks click here.

Qi (energy) hugs

Cee

38 replies »

  1. The single mistake I make repeatly and never seem to learn is shooting so close there’s no room to crop. I started in film and learned to crop in the viewfinder. It’s such an old habit … and I always remember when I get home and realize I’ve done it again! Thanks for the tips. They are useful and I will use them!

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  2. Thanks so much Cee! I’ve been trying but have never taken a photography course. Most of my photos are simply luck and a Canon elph camera

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  3. Great tips. I use the vignette a lot to zoom in on my blooms. I do have a very slow camera so have worked around it to get where I want to go.So now I will try some of your tips. 😀

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  4. Great tips, Cee and lovely photos. I think everyone loves a flower macro. It’s an entry into another world and it’s fun to visit even if we are doing it vicariously. I frequently use a 70-200 lens for flowers even though it puts me about four feet away. I also try to get at the same level as the bloom if possible but as you point out, different perspectives add different insights.

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  5. Love the “floral’ pictures. One of my favorite things to photograph (not that I’m that good) – Along with sunrise/sunsets, the sky,

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  6. Beautiful photos, and thank you for the tips. I love photographing my flowers, looking forward to Tuesday’s challenge. 🙂

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

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