9 tips for fantastic flower photography

By Laura Hicks, Olympus Visionary

Grab your camera gear and head outside! The flowers are blooming and they are beckoning you to photograph them. But why take a boring, simple flower photo when you can capture a stunning image that is beautiful enough to print large and hang on your wall? Check out these tips to master the art of macro flower photography.

Use the perfect gear for the job

Tough TG-4, 1/250 sec, f/3.6, ISO 250

My favorite combination to use is my OM-D E-M1 Mark II paired with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens. The 60mm an amazing lens that renders a 1:1 shooting ratio that’s perfect for macro photography. I have also used the M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO telephoto lens with some astounding results. Both lenses give me a beautiful depth of field and offer the ability to get in close to my subject.

Another surprising addition to my favorite gear to use when photographing flowers is a Tough camera like the Tough TG-4 or Tough TG-5. These cameras have an amazing super macro mode that allows the user to get incredibly close to the subject. This works great for flowers!

Find a unique flower or collection

OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO, 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

I love to photograph a brightly colored flower or one that is sitting off by itself. Or sometimes I will find a flower that stands out in a sea of greenery. No matter subject gives you inspiration, go find it!

Sit amongst the flowers

OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO, 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320

When in nature, I do not like to disturb it. That being said, I like to become one with it. Find a comfy spot and place yourself in the middle of nature’s splendor. Immersing yourself in the beauty of nature will help bring your images to life.

Focus on the most interesting part

This could be the center of the flower. Or maybe it’s the soft petal. Or maybe it’s the back of the flower. Take your time to explore what you find interesting about your subject. Take pictures from multiple angles. Shoot from a higher perspective or shoot from a lower perspective. Don’t be afraid to takes lots of pictures from different angles. This is one of the many joys of digital photography. Shoot now, delete later!

Set your desired aperture

OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO, 1/4000 sec, f/1.2, ISO 200

Set your aperture to get YOUR desired results.

Some people like their macro image to be taken in the focus stacking mode with an aperture of f/8 or higher to get the maximum amount of focus on their subject. Others prefer to have a softer feel by capturing a single image with a wider aperture like f/2.8 or f/4. No matter what your preference is, set your camera accordingly.

My preference is to generally shoot with a wide open aperture in order to isolate my subject. I love the feel of a soft photo and my imagery mimics this emotion.

Photograph in open shade

OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO, 1/1250 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200

My favorite type of light is the soft, diffused natural lighting that comes from the sun. I like to position myself to photograph in this type of lighting. It gives me the ability to open up my aperture and create some creamy backgrounds.

Get as close as you can

Tough TG-4, 1/200 sec, f/3.2, ISO 500

Macro photography is all about making a small object appear larger than life in your photograph. A lot of the time you have to get really close to your subject to make that happen. Get as close as you can to the flower you are photographing. Their beauty is evident the closer you get.

Use your image to tell a story

OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO, 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

I love to create an image that tells a story about the subject. Maybe it’s capturing a lonely petal on a dying bud. Maybe it’s photographing a beautiful water lily in the midst of the pads around it. Maybe it’s just a flower’s colorful center that grabs my attention. Try to convey that feeling in your image in order to tell a beautiful story.

Share your work

PEN E-PL7 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro, 1/160 sec, f/3.2, ISO 400

Olympus users have created a beautiful user gallery full of their artwork on this website. Be sure to share your work with others. Enter the monthly contests. Join groups that will support you as you learn and excel. As photographers we thrive off of being inspired by the artistry of others, so put yourself out there to be inspired and inspire others!

Share your photography with your own community through Mike’s Camera! Enter your favorite shots for a chance to be featured in the Custom Gallery at your local store (updated quarterly) or tag us on Instagram with #mymikescamera to join the conversation.

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