Add a bug or an animal to the composition.
- Pick a subject / Have a focal point.
- Don't just show a field of beautiful wildflowers, you need a center of focus.
Include 1 different colored flower, a rock, something that is the focal point.
- Isolate / center in on your subject.
- Minimize clutter - Watch what's in the background. Sometimes it can enhance the
picture, sometimes it's just a distraction.
- To "eliminate" a cluttered background on macro shots, hold a black cloth behind
Hand hold your camera while you look for your composition. This keeps you freer to move
around and investigate all the angles.
- Vary the point of view.
- Shoot from the ground up. Use a beanbag or, if your tripod head can be turned upside
down, do that. A waist-level finder will enable you to compose and focus without
having to stand on your head.
- Use a wide-angle lense way in close.
- Look at the wildflowers from different angles, it may have multiple "right" compositions,
or you may find that the first one is not the "best" one.
- Look for contrasts
- Texture contrasts
- Color contrasts
- Contrast between subject and background
- Look for cool patterns and shapes
- Within the flowers themselves
- Flower and background together.
Understand the Magic of Light
Pay attention to the light, flowers rarely look good when in the severe contrast of the
Control the intensity of light.
Use small mirror to illuminate a bug in deep shadow
- Use a diffuser if light is too harsh.
- Drape translucent material over a branch to create a diffusing canopy.
- Use a polarizer to minimize the reflections off the highlights in the flowers
- Add drama with reflectors and filters
- If a sunny day, keep subject in shade (with black reflector
if necessary), using the flash as the main light on the subject and the sun as main on the
- Add warmth with a gold reflector or warming filter - 81A(least warmth) to 81D(most
- Some inexpensive reflector ideas:
- Use PVC pipe as a frame, and black fabric for a background, or white fabric
- White foam core board for a reflector
- Use backlighting
- Use side-lighting
- Use the proper depth of field for the situation.
- To make the flower stand out from the background, use large F-stop to turn the
background into a soft blur of color.
- If using close-up gadgets like extension tubes, use a very small F-Stop (such as F22).
In macro photography, D-O-F becomes very critical. Space is extremely expanded,
so an F-Stop of say, F8 that you might use if the camera is a little farther
away from the subject), would only cover a D-O-F of maybe a few milimeters.
Then if the top of the pistil is in focus, the stamens won't be.
- Maximize D-O-F
- use view camera tilts or 35mm tilt/shift lenses
- shoot high and tilt down to change the plane of focus
- use hyperfocal distance charts
Miscellaneous Useful Gadgets
- Get extremely close. Use any of the various gadgets for getting in close, zoom in on just
of the flower. These include:
- closeup filter or +diopter
- macro lense
- extension tubes
- reverse-mounting the lense
Use a small spray mist bottle to add "raindrops"
Bring some sort of a ground cover to save your knees or elbows when getting low. Some
things that might work are :
- Minimize wind movement.
- Use flash, wind deflectors, tripod, mirror lockup. Keep in mind also, that extreme
close-up greatly exagerates movement.
- Use a wide-angle lense, and shoot a field of flowers. Individual flowers won't look
as blurred when they are a small part of the picture.
- Set up a big screen to block out the wind. Use your pack, your jacket. whatever you
can find that won't harm the scene.
- Shoot in the early morning before the wind picks up. The wind sometimes dies down in the
late evening, but the light usually goes first.
- Go with it to create an impressionistic image.
- A foam pad - available in camping equipment stores, inexpensive, weighs almost
- big trash bag (weighs nothing)
Miscellaneous Tips and Creative Techniques
Look for something really different, come up with something not done before
Bugs usually return to the same flower. If you missed him, focus on the flower and
Protect your knees/elbows/whatever - bring along a sitz pad
If there are no expanses of flowers, choose a small group close together
as a foreground for a wide-angle composition.
Some flowers like the poppy need warmth to open. The best times to get these are
late morning before the wind comes up in the afternoon.
- To get those shots of water droplets with flower images mirrored in them:
- You need equipment that will give a magnification of about 1:1 to 4:1.
- Look for compositions where there is a flower just a few inches behind a droplet.
- Depth of field is very shallow with this high a magnification. Use a small aperture.
To get a focus point that will render both the droplet and the image inside the droplet in
sharp detail, focus on both points, then move the focusing ring to a spot between the two
(biased closer to the surface of the droplet). Use the Depth-of-Field preview button if you
have one to get the focus right.
- The more spherical the droplet, the sharper the image within it will be.
- Odd-shaped droplets will distort the image and produce unusual effects.
- The easiest subject to render sharply is one with simple, symetrical
shapes such as daisies and asters
- Don't be afraid to discreetly alter the scene to enhance composition.
- Feel free to REMOVE trash that someone else left behind.
- Be discreet if you have to move something.
- Pull a branch out of the way and tie it back, then let it fall back in place
when you're through.
- Move rocks into or out of the picture if it won't cause any harm
- If the obstacle is too big to move out of the way without causing harm, either:
- find another viewpoint
- digitally remove the obstacle