The little flowers are starting to appear everywhere as spring is near. This article will show you how to photograph these tiny flowers using a macro lens.
These techniques can be used with a macro lens, but you don’t need one. You can also use a longer lens with a larger aperture, but not the silky bokeh (the beautiful soft part behind the flowers). A macro lens is best for small flowers. You can also use the less expensive macro rings. Let the fun begin!
Note: My macro photography is different from many other “macro photographers” because I do it the “easy and lazy” way. I don’t use tripods which allows me to be fast and flexible. Everybody works differently, and there is no one right way to do it. This is my personal way of working. This article is intended to inspire you!
These techniques can be used virtually anywhere. It takes only a small amount of flowers. It can be done in your own garden. This article is mostly about a small field of Crocus and Snowdrops flowers that I have next to my house. This is a quick video showing the simple scene.
Let’s get started!
Lowest possible eye level is the best way to photograph the flower. You won’t be able to capture the flower’s true depth if you try to photograph it from a high angle.
To get dew drops on the flowers, shoot in early spring. Although you can bring your own water spray to achieve that “wet look”, I prefer the dew drops.
Different types of light can create a different mood. To get a darker mood, photograph in the evening. To get more vibrant moods, shoot in the morning.
You can do this kind of photography at any hour of the day. A cloudy day is a perfect time to enjoy hours of macro flower photography. It can be hard to work with strong shadows when it is very sunny. You can find shade behind trees or bring a white umbrella to cover the flower.
Very precise composition is required. Your composition can be completely changed by a centimeter. You can create many compositions from one subject. Take a few different shots with the same flower by moving slightly.
A tripod is not necessary for my style of shooting. There are two reasons: 1. I don’t need a tripod because I am often low to the ground. 2. I can change compositions quickly and accurately with handheld photography. You will need to practice and increase your ISO when it gets dark.
To see the flower in its natural environment, you can extend your view a little further. It is easier to see the flower when it stands in front of other larger flowers or “big” grass. This gives it a more intimate appearance and enhances its emotion.
To get a true portrait of the flower, you can zoom in very close. You can also shoot closer to capture a fraction of the detail.
At this scale, focus is very tight. Autofocus is a tool I use often and I’m very careful about where my focus point is. Whether the flowers are at the top or the leaves, you will need to decide what focus point you want. Sometimes I focus on the leaf’s outside, but sometimes the stern. Find what you enjoy the most!
My macro lens is used to take most of my photos at f/2.8. This gives me that dreamy look. If you desire to see more of the flower, you may need to slow down.
Other flowers can be used as foreground bokeh. This creates a more intimate look.
The background is just as important as the flower! The right lighting and color can make or break a photo. Sometimes it takes only a small movement to alter the background. Take the time to choose the right background.
Streetlights and car lights can be used as interesting backdrops for bokeh! Many flowers can be found right beside the road. To express your creativity, you can use car or building lights.
You can make your photos even more dreamy by using editing techniques. For example, you can remove any dirt or other distracting parts from the flowers.
A bonus tip is that a flip-screen on your camera can be super useful for all this. You can also use a blanket to lie down on the ground if you don’t own one. A picnic blanket is a great idea.
These tips were hopefully helpful. One last thing. You do not require an incredible camera to create these photos. This is the most important part.
These shots were taken with the Sony a7R IV mirrorless camera and Sony a7III lens. I also used the Sony 90mm f/2.8 macro lens.