Spring floral macro photography

f/3.2, 60mm, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, -1EV, flash fired

I don’t think there is a compex rule in shooting flower macros. All you need is a good macro lens and maybe a steady tripod and shutter release cord and the basic understanding of exposure. I used a Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 macro lens here and no matter what aperture I set I still get sharp photos. I have to mention my lens here to make a point.
Also I needed to use a speedlite (flash) to somehow cut the ambient light to emphasize the subject more.

Since I was using flash I had to choose exposure bias from -5EV to -1EV in every shot. Without doing this the image will be over exposed. Most of the photos here I used -1EV, this was the result of experimentation. That is the beauty of digital you will have instant feedback.

We went to Longwood Gardens here in PA to join the flower photographers. There were macro photographers there with big lenses, probably a 105mm or 200mm. That is for serious macro work. The advantage of these big macro lenses is that you don’t have to be so near to the subject to focus.

f/11, 60mm, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, -3EV, flash fired

f/5.6, 60mm, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, -1EV, flash fired

f/3.2, 60mm, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, -1EV, flash fired

f/3.2, 60mm, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, -1EV, flash fired

f/4.5, 60mm, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, -5EV, flash fired

I did not have to do heavy Adobe Lightroom work because the colors were just right out of the camera.
The weather was overcast when I shot these flowers which in my opinion was the right condition. Shoot flowers in the shade not with the sun right above.

Happy April 1st everyone,



172 thoughts on “Spring floral macro photography

  1. I have no idea what all the photography terms mean(wish I did because I LOVE photography and would love to learn more) but your shots are awesome! especially the first one

  2. I love flowers! Thank you. I like the fact that you focused on one singular blossom and blurried the background on their mates, giving a beautiful backdrop of compatible color.

  3. Congratulations for being freshly pressed. I’m also into macro flower photography…don’t usually include my website in wordpress comments but I’m making an exception this time. My passion: macro flower photography…when time permits check out http://www.corinthrose.com …try Tulips under Flowers, maybe even peonies. I love using a light tent.

    Again, congratulations! Happy macro shooting.

    • Yeah they are awesome photos and a lot of them too. I love your website. Mine is just pretty plain. I don’t really shoot macro, I do stitched panoramas but what the heck I had to try it too. šŸ™‚

  4. Thank you very much for posting the details of your shots. I don’t have a dedicated macro lens. I normally just use my 70-200mm. Never really thought about using a flash though. I’m going to try that soon. At 60mm, about how far away were you from the flowers? I’ll post some at http://jnabryant.wordpress.com in the near future.

    • The 60mm f/2.8 macro lens needs to be at least 2 inch from the subject to focus. It’s real tricky one movement you’ll lost it. I used the AF- C function instead of the AF – S in my Nikon DSLR to fix this problem.
      The flash was just to emphasize the subject more by limiting the ambient light.

  5. Longwood Gardens would be the perfect place to go for flower photography. Thank you for this primer on macro photography and the beautiful pictures.

  6. Abe, your picture #1 (of a lily?) above is beautiful. It’s simple, but with the vibrant colour, texture and contrast, really speaks to me. šŸ™‚ And thanks for the education too. //mm

  7. Beautifully captured flowers. The color and detail is amazing. Now I know why my macro pictures come out looking so fuzzy. No tripod or cable release just plain old shakes.

  8. Lovely! I can’t wait for the tulips in Western Washington to start blooming. This is a reminder of how beautiful spring flowers are.

  9. I love the one with all the incredible swirling shades of blue. Looks like a little blue universe. It is really amazing all the perfectly formed tiny little structures. When you get up that close, something that tiny can be so strong and sturdy.

  10. Beautiful. The texture and color of the first purple flowers is just amazing. It cheered me up after a rotten day. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Hi Abe – I have a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens which I really love for close work… and I find it’s great for portraiture too! Thanks for sharing…

  12. Wow! That first shot in particular is amazing. I almost feel like I could touch it. Thank you for sharing your work.

  13. Boy, these are just beautiful! Can I ask, I noticed that you had flash fired, but I noticed that when I use my flash, the colors do not remain true. I’ve fiddled with the white balance, and sometimes that will improve it, but not always. The purples turn blue, or vice versa and oranges are never right. Also, I have more trouble on overcast days than sunny days.

    • I used flash but adjusted my exposure compensation to -3EV. Also leave the white balance to Auto and shoot RAW. Also I used a speedlight flash remotely controlled and placed it very near the subject when taking the shot.

  14. Pingback: Bookmarks dump pt.2 – Photography | Elf's guide to adventure

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