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Tips – Various Lenses for Flowers

I’m going to be writing a 5 part series on Flower Photography.

I hope you enjoy this series for flowers. If you want to check out other Tips from Cee.

There is one question I get asked all the time, do I need a special lens for macros? The answer is no.  There are lenses that are specifically for macros and have some real fun functions.   I found my normal lenses usually do the trick, since I prefer my flowers to be in sharp focus.  Macro lenses can get crystal clear focus on the eyes on flies and the remainder of the photo is blurred (bokeh). In fact the photo that I use for my Tips from Cee banner is a macro photo with the gray pencil tip is in sharp focus.

Warning there will be a lot of photos in this post.

Sony E 30mm F3.5 Macro

The best way to get a flower macro or close up is to use your zoom function on your camera or lens.

If at all possible, get a lens that is one step higher in price than you think you can afford. The glass in the lens makes a huge difference on the quality of photo you get.

Prime Lenses with an F1.2 to F2.8 

These prime lenses are usually fixed focal lens. The best part of this lens is that you can usually get up real close to an individual flower. I’ve had several different lenses over the years and they that are 30mm, 50mm, 90mm and 105mm that fit is this category.

Note: I’m not giving you an aperture lesson today, but these lenses are capable of distinguishing the smallest distance changes where you take your photo at F1.2 to F2.8. Meaning you will have only a very small area in focus. Note for most of my flower photos I use between F6.0 and F16.0 depending on the size of the flower.

In this photo of a bearded iris, I used a Prime lens Sony E 30mm at F14.0

This rose photo I used a Prime lens Nikkor 105mm at F8.0.

For this hydrangea bud photo I used a Prime lens Sony FE 90mm at F7.1. Notice a little more blur (bokeh) in the background.

Moderate Zoom Lenses

I consider these lenses to start from 16mm to 25mm with capabilities up to 200mm. These are real easy lenses to use. Normally you can get fairly close to a single flower between 6 and 12 inches depending on the lens. I have an 18-200mm lens which is my go to lens that I’ve kept on my camera for about 60 percent of my flower photos.

Note: For those who are interested in the numbers, most will have a F3.5 to F5.6 and go up to F32.0 or higher.

I took this tulip and bud photo with my Sony FE 28-70 F3.5 lens with F32.0. Notice how most of the photo is clear.

I took this rose photo with my Sony FE 28-70 F3.5 lens with F7.1. I had a single rose in a vase and then I blacked out the background because it was too busy.

I took this seeded dandelion photo with my Sony E 18-200mm at F.6.3. I wanted a smaller focal point on this. Notice the nice blur in the background.

I took this azalea with my Sony E 18-200mm at F.9.0. Notice the nice blur in the background.

Long Zoom Lenses

I consider these lenses to start from 70mm or higher with zoom capabilities up to 600 or more. With these lenses, if you are photographing a single flower you will normally need to be anywhere 4 to 10 feet away from the flower your want to photograph. The zoom capabilities are marvelous and what I like the best is the background blur. It can be remarkable.

I’ve used a 70-300mm lens for years. I have recently bought a 70-200mm lens and I’m really impressed with it so far.

I took this dahlia many years ago with my Nikon D80 with a Nikkor 70-300mm lens. at F5.6.

Now this next photo of a bearded iris was taken with my Sony FE 70-300mm lens at F10.0.

I took this lupine with my new Sony FE 70-200 G OSS lens at F4.0.

I took this rhododendron with my new Sony FE 70-200 G OSS lens at F8.0.

Next time I will cover different lenses and talk about exploring different angles to photograph flowers.

I’ve gathered a list of challenges and their hosts.  So if you know a challenge host, please direct them to my blog.  Feel free to contact me anytime.  I hope everyone will be able to use my lists.

Qi (energy) hugs


27 replies »

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Cee, I’m really enjoying this series! 🌺


  2. What about teleconverters and close-up filters? If we spend over $500 on a good lens do we have to call it good glass? What about other filters such as Neutral Density and Polarizing Filters? What about Bob?


    • All I know for sure is you can spell Bob backward and still get Bob LOL
      My last lense of $1500 and yes I call that good glass. Now you can spend up to $15,000 or more on a real good lens.

      I usually don’t use filters, although for sun a polarizing one does help a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My 24-120mm zoom lens is also my favorite for flower photography. You did not tell the focal length setting for those gorgeous photos. I like to use mine at the long length for the nice soft backgrounds as you point out, and also because one can get a closer, tighter view.


    • That would be a good lens for flowers. You should be able to get some great bokeh from that. I chose to use F-stop instead of focal length for two reasons: Lens are usually titled with the F-stop and I want to do a tip on focal length at some point. I didn’t want to get too technical in this lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good tips Cee.Taking photos of flowers is so different from photographing horses that your tips are very valuable for me. Thanks!


    • Yes, it is a very different type of photography. You could probably teach me a thing or two about horse photography. I don’t often get a chance to be around horses. 😀


  5. My “walk-around” lens is 16-300 on a cropped sensor camera, so its telephoto is the equivalent of a full-frame 450 mm. I often use it at or near maximum zoom for flower photos. Your point about bokeh is one of my favorite reasons for standing way back from the flower and zooming in.
    I have always liked that photo you have of the colored pencils.


    • Oh I’d love to play with your lens … you use it wisely too. I don’t often do close up like the colored pencils, but that one I was proud of. Thanks.


  6. I should try my 70-200mm lens and practice with my prime lens more often for shooting flowers.
    Thank you, Cee!


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