How To Photograph Flowers, Part 2
© NYI Instructor, Jerry Rice
While it is possible to take a good macro handheld, our advice is to use a tripod if at all possible. Since the flower is probably swaying in the wind, changing the focal point every moment, you're better off not adding the additional confusion of a swaying camera, too. Use a tripod and be patient. Most often, the wind will die down from time to time and the flower will stand still and "pose" for an instant. That's the instant to shoot!
© NYI Student Laurie Dutton
While on the subject of wind, here are some other tips: If the wind is blowing hard and steady, the flower will probably sway incessantly and fast, so that you will be hard-pressed to get the shot. Consider waiting for another time - perhaps, the next day - when the wind has died down. If you must shoot during an unremitting wind, place a make-shift shelter around the flower to protect it from the wind. A few sheets of poster board may be sufficient. (Of course, keep the shelter out of the picture!) Or tie the flower stem to a thin post (the type you will find in any garden center). Or both.
How should you expose this shot? The easy way is to trust your meter. It will generally give a fairly accurate reading in this situation. For pinpoint exposure, however, we recommend that you use a gray card or take an incident reading. (These alternate methods have previously been explained on this site. If you are unfamiliar with them, they may still be posted in the Recent Topics section.) By using one of these alternative methods, you end up with an exposure that is precisely calibrated to the light, and is not affected by the color or reflectivity of the flower.
Macro flower shots can be pretty. But if you want to turn the ordinary macro shot into an extraordinary photograph, try to add something of interest.How about a bee gathering pollen? Or a spider crawling inside? Or a butterfly? Or a hummingbird? Now you've got something to grab the viewer's attention beyond a pretty picture. This type of photograph may not come easy - you have to wait for the critter. But if you wait long enough and your patience is rewarded, you can end up with a really great photograph.
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