How To Photograph Flowers, Part 1

How To Photograph Flowers, Part 1

sunflowers, irises
© Chuck DeLaney NYI Dean

We all know that April showers bring May flowers, and if you've had a rainy April it's time to break out the camera. Flowers are a favorite target of every camera enthusiast. Here are a few tips to help you make your flower pictures knockouts.

When you photograph flowers, you have to make a couple of important decisions.

As with any photograph, you must first decide: What's my subject? Is it a macro of a stamen? A single flower closeup? A bed of hundreds of flowers? A field of thousands? From this decision will flow many specifics of your picture.

Let's start with the macro - that is, with extreme closeups. Of course, you can only take this type of picture if your lens has a macro mode. This rules out most point-and-shoots which can't focus closer than two or three feet. With a macro, you're focusing from a few inches!

© Student Hubert Vollee

When you shoot a macro, focus is all important. Your plane of focus is very shallow - just a fraction of an inch. So you have to make another decision: Exactly what part of the flower do you want to be in sharp focus? The pistil? The stamen? A petal? (We've run out of high-school biology terminology, but you get the idea.) Unless you're a botanist, you will probably make this decision "on the fly" - that is, as you look through the viewfinder. When you see the image that you want, snap it!

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