Flower Macro Tips

| June 8, 2011

Macro shot of a backlit flower

The sunlight’s effect on this flower is what caught my eye for this shot so I used my Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens to get up close and personal. For the record, my camera settings were f/9.0, 1/250th of a second at an ISO of 400. When shooting with a macro lens so close to a subject, the shot can move out of focus very quickly. This is called a very shallow depth of field. Even at f/9.0 you can see how some of the stigma are in focus and some are not. In this case, I picked one of the stigma as a focal point and made sure that the camera was precisely focused on that area. I felt this would be better than focusing on a petal, which would cause the center of the flower to go out of focus. The stigma seemed like a perfect place for the eye to rest on the image.

I use a tripod when shooting this close because swaying back just a little will cause the shot to go out of focus. When shooting at even lower aperture settings, like f/2.8, I may only have a couple of millimeters of focus to work with. Another helpful tip is to use your camera’s Live View to focus if you have the feature available to you. Once Live View is initiated, the mirror goes up in the DSLR and you see a live view of your shot on the rear LCD. You can then zoom way in on the video image and focus the lens with great precision.

Remember to look at the histogram of your shot after snapping the picture. It will tell you if any area of the photo is too dark or too light. Just look for tall spikes in the histogram at the extreme left and right areas of the graph. This is particularly important in high contrast shots like this one where you want to capture all of the beauty in the shadow as well as the sunlit portions of the image. I really don’t like leaving detail on the table in a photo and a bad exposure is a great way to miss out!

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Category: Photography, Tutorials

Comments (1)

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  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    So stunningly beautiful, Lee! I love that behind these gorgeous flowers is the green of the leaves, subtle but a gorgeous complement to the oranges of these flowers. That sunlight is amazing coming through the petals!