Spring is the perfect time to load up your camera and head out looking for flowers to shoot. Let me share some personal experience on how to improve your shots.
Getting that perfect flower shot will take some thought and preparation. And of course some practice. But the good thing is flowers are to be found all around you, so options to shoot them are plentiful!
Choose the right film
The film you use will largely decide how the result will look both in terms of color and graininess.
Grain – It mostly comes down to personal taste, but for flower close-ups and especially macro shots, I prefer a low grain film. I feel like too much grain takes away from the detail. We all know film speed and age go hand in hand with grain, so I usually select a fresh, low ISO film if I want to get all the fine details on film.
Color – If you plan to shoot some very colorful flowers and you want to do the natural colors justice, your best route is to go with a good color negative film. Obviously, if nature doesn’t provide them, there are also plenty of options to put the color shifts of x-pro to your advantage to get some extra color in your shots. If you’re going out on a very gray day, you might even want to opt for a BW film.
Choose the right location
If you’re going out to shoot flowers and you don’t want to end up with 36 shots of the same tree or shrub, you better pick a good location. Go to a park that has a wide diversity of plants and flowers, shape, colors and sizes. That way you will get a more entertaining album to show for your efforts in the end. The wider the variety, the better your chances to find some nice photo opportunities, no matter what time of the year.
Choose the right tools
Obviously you can shoot flowers with every and any camera. The lens on your camera will determine whether you are forced to keep your distance, or have the option to get in closer. Depending on what you want, you might also need some additional equipment. You can make plenty of flower shots free-handed, but the closer you get, the bigger the chance you will benefit from a tripod and cable release. A good tripod is always a good investment! And it will come in handy for long exposures as well.
Cheap macro solutions
Some of the most intriguing flower photos are made with macro lenses. I realize that most macro lenses are fairly expensive. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any cheap solutions around that. The easiest and cheapest solution to use in the field are close-up filters. They usually come in sets of four: +1 +2 +4 and +10 dioptre. You can screw them to the front of any SLR lens, just make sure you have the right size for your specific lens diameter. A second option is a reverse adaptor that lets you mount your lens the other way around. Though cheap, it isn’t quite as handy to use outside, as the focal distance gets extremely short. It is a perfectly viable option for macro shots under controlled conditions though, inside with no wind and extra lighting.
Bottom line, shooting photos of flowers is fun and relaxing and if done right, can be very rewarding. Enjoy the springtime!