Tips for Perfect Flower Photography

Tips for Perfect Flower Photography

Pink Waterlilies and Green Lily Pads

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All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted. 

This blog post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission for any purchases made through these links. Click here for the disclosure statement.

All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted.

Flower photography is a type of nature photography that captures intricate details of flowers; with the right techniques, you can create unique flower photographs that will take your breath away. This guide will teach you the basics of flower photography, from finding the right location to using the proper equipment.

Flower Photography Shooting Tips

Look For A Location With Plenty Of Natural Light

Flowers look their best in natural light, so find a spot where the sun is shining to help to bring out the colors of the flowers and create beautiful images.

Isolate the subject

Black and White Lotus Flower
Black and White Lotus Flower

One way to isolate the flower is to find a location with a plain background, such as a grassy field or a white wall. Another way is to use a macro lens to capture the flower up close, and blur out the background. You can also use a backdrop which can be as simple as construction paper or using backdrop boards to remove a cluttered background. This will make the flower the focus of the photograph and create a more striking image.

Block the wind

You can block the wind with a flower clamp or position a backdrop to block the wind. This will help keep your flower photos from looking blurry and make it easier to stack multiple photos in post-processing.

Capture More Than A Single Flower

Flower Stages of Life
Flower Stages of Life

Capturing multiple blooms in a single image adds interest and dimension to the photograph, and can make for a more striking composition. Try to find a flower arrangement that features different flowers, or capture a set of flowers during different stages of bloom.

The Best Aperture For Flower Photography is a Wide Aperture

Using a wide aperture creates a shallow depth of field with a blurry background. You can also use a wide aperture to control the amount of light that enters the camera. A wider aperture will let in more light, which can be helpful in low-light situations.

Find The Best Flower

Don’t shoot the first flower you see and move on; take the time to find the best flower. Finding a flower with one or more of these elements will make your flower photography stand out from the rest.

  • A flower in perfect condition
  • Find a flower with a clean background.
  • A flower with butterflies, insects, lizards, snails, or other garden guests.
  • A clump of flowers in different stages of bloom displays the flower lifecycle
  • Raindrops

Use A Squirt Bottle To Create Water Droplets

Rain Drops on a Sprenger's Tulip
Red tulip in a garden during a spring rain.

One way to add interest to your flower photography is to create water droplets on the flower petals. You can do this by using a squirt bottle. Simply squirt a little water onto the flower, and then wait for the drops to form.

Which Lens is Good for Flower Photos?

Macro Lens

Macro lenes allow you to get close to the flower and capture all of its intricate details. You can’t just use a wide-aperture lens; you need one with a short minimum focusing distance that allows you to get close to the subject. True macro lenses will also have magnification, which gives it the appearance of being closer.

Popular Macro Lenses: Sigma 70 mm DG ART | Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM | Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4

telephoto Lens

When you’re shooting outdoor flowers, getting closer isn’t always an option, such as flowers in a pond or off the hiking trail. Telephoto lenses can capture those otherwise inaccessible blooms with as much detail and clarity as a macro lens. Insects are also easily frightened, which means you’ll have much better luck capturing insects using a longer focal length.

Popular Telephoto Lenses: Sony FE 200-600 mm | Sigma 150-600 mm C | Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm

Experiment with different angles and compositions.

Some flower photos are more striking than others, and a big part of that has to do with the composition. Here are a few tips for creating beautiful flower compositions:

Try Photographing Flowers from different perspectives for more unique shots

Don’t always photograph flowers from the same angle. Experiment with different angles to see what works best. Sometimes it’s fun to get down on the ground and shoot from below, or to take a photo from directly above the flower.

Use surrounding elements to create a more interesting composition

A large variety of orchids growing in a greenhouse
Assortment of coloful Orchids in a greenhouse

Try using the plants or landscape around the flower as part of the composition. This can add perspective, provide a sense of location, and depth to your photo. You can also use other objects in the background, such as fences or buildings.

Fill The Frame

Common peony
Bee feeding on a Common Peony

You can use a macro lens to get as close to the flower as possible to avoid distracting elements in the background. Another use of filling frame is to crop the edges of the flower and get close enough to show off the details of the pedals, the pistil, or the stamen.

Minimalist

Minimalist composition of a from the underside of a daisy in black and white
Minimalist composition of a from the underside of a daisy in black and white

One technique for flower photography that can create a more minimalist look is to use a simple background and to fill the frame with the flower or using negative space. Removing any unnecessary elements will help to focus attention on the flower and will create a more simplistic image.

Color composition

Closeup of A Beautiful Pink Lotus Flower
Dark and moody macro photography image show off the colors and details of a large Lotus flower.

Complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. The contrast between these colors creates a striking effect. Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel and give a monochromatic and harmonious effect. Triadic colors are three colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel. Using these colors creates a vibrant, high-contrast photograph.

Texture and Patterns

black and white flower leaf emphasizes the viens
Black and white flower leaf emphasizes the the texture of the leaf veins

Repeating textures and patterns can create a visual effect that is pleasing to the eye. Try to find flowers with contrasting textures, such as light-colored flower petals with bright accents. You can also use a row of flowers or leaves that repeat themselves through the frame of your photo.

Create Abstract Images

Black and white image shows what aspects of an image are sharpened using the Lightroom sharpening tool
Intense photo editing creates abstract flower photography

Flowers are a popular subject for abstract photography. Isolate a small part of the flower as a focal point, such as the center or the petals to create an image that is full of texture and color. When photographing flowers for abstract purposes, it is important to use a macro lens in order to capture all of the intricate details. In addition, use a shallow depth of field will help to keep the background blurry, allowing the viewer to focus on the flower itself. 

Locations To Photograph Flowers

One of the best ways to improve your flower photography is taking photos often. Here are a some tips for finding amazing flowers to photograph:

Flower Fields

Bluebonnets and Mountains Outside Llano, Texas
Field of Texas bluebonnets at the base of mountain in Llano, TX
field of bluebonnets
Boulders in a field of bluebonnets in Willow City Texas

Flower fields are one of the best places to take flower photographs. The brightly colored flowers also make for great foreground elements in landscape photography. And because flower fields are often open and spacious, you’ll have plenty of room to move around and experiment with different compositions.

Visit A Park Or Nature Reserve

Spring is the perfect time to explore local parks and see fields of native flower blooming. Bluebonnet and wildflower season is one of my favorite times to shoot in the Texas Hill Country.

Take A Walk In Your Neighborhood

Take a walk around your neighborhood and you will find some beautiful flower in your neighbor’s gardens. I wouldn’t recommend walking up into their yard, but many people will have a flower beds at the edge of the sidewalk and those are the perfect photo opportunities.

Visit A Garden

Botanical gardens, conservatories, and other types of public gardens are a great place to find beautiful flowers to photograph. There will be a variety of plants and flowers, and you can take your time experimenting with different compositions and angles.

Green Foliage Growing in the conservatory of Denver's Botanic Gardens
Green Foliage Growing in the conservatory of Denver's Botanic Gardens

 

Visit A Local Nursery

Nurseries have an amazing variety of flowers, and you can get up close and personal with the plants to take some amazing photos. Buy some plants and then you’ll have flowers in your own backyard to take pictures of.

POST-PROCESSING OF FLOWERS

Use Focus Stacking For In Focus Flower Photos

One of the best ways to take flower pictures is by using focus stacking. This involves taking multiple shots of the flower at different focal points, and then combining them into a single image using Photoshop or other photo editing software. Focus stacking ensure that all the details of the flower are in focus, from the petals to the center.

Use Bracket Exposure To Create HD Flower Images

Bracket exposure is the practice of taking multiple shots of the flower at different exposures, and then combining them into a single image which helps reduce contrast from harsh light.

I have found the settings the camera thinks are ideal aren’t always the most interesting. Using bracket exposure also allows you to quickly capture normal, dark & moody, and light & airy shots with just one click. You don’t have to combine them to create stunning results.

General Adjustments To Flower Images

Editing flower photos can be a lot of fun, and there are a few things you can do to make your photos look even better. Here are a few tips:

  • Increasing the contrast makes the light areas lighter and the dark areas darker; this can really make a flower pop, especially when you use black and white.
  • Make the color temperature warmer to give them a dreamy look, or cooler for a more dramatic effect.
  • Adjusting the saturation levels will help make your flower photos more colorful.
  • Use the spot removal tool to edit out minor blemishes in the flowers.
  • If needed, you can sharpen your flower photos to make them look crisper and more defined.
  • Increase texture and clarity to emphasize important details that make flowers beautiful, such as veins in the flower petals or leaves on a plant.

Flower photography can be a lot of fun, and by using some simple tips, you can capture the beauty of flowers in a way that is interesting and unique. Experiment and have fun.

Author Bio

Author Bio Image

Delaney is a project manager by day and a travel and wildlife photographer by night who is using her skills for translating complex technical language into easy to understand concepts to make photography achievable at all skill levels. You have questions; she has answers.

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