Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Macrophotography

Flower Photography

One thing that has become clear from the years of teaching photography is that many, many people want to take pictures of flowers. They are beautiful, colourful, delicate and last only a short time and do not answer back, be difficult, require extensive walking and can be readily available. That said it got to a point on one of our more advanced courses when I realised that half the class were only photographing flowers that I had to ban them as a subject. It was not that I dislike pictures of flowers but just that once the techniques have been mastered the main challenge is finding beautiful blooms to photograph. The impact on the class was initially concern, what were they going to photograph but once they started looking they found many things that captured their interest.

This article on Lightstalking by  Izabela Korwel explains some of the basics of flower photography. Check out Iza’s amazing macro photography on her blog,. 

All of this article is useful, I would add that most zoom lenses  that come as a basic kit with a dslr camera can close focus to about  8 inches and are great for macro/close focus work. If you want to explore this with your zoom lens put it in manual focus and set the focus ring to it’s minimum focus distance (usually when the ring is extended furthest out) then put the camera to your eye and move the camera backwards and forwards until something close comes in focus, this will be about 6 – 8 inches. Using manual focus with macro flower photography is a better way to work that auto focus because you get to decide what is in sharpest focus rather than the camera.

Here is the start of the article:

Flowers are the easy subjects to come by and to photograph, even close to home. You can go to local park or find a flower bed downtown or at the mall. You can visit a botanical garden, there is one in every major city. You can ask the neighbours if you can photograph in their garden. You can also just go the flower shop and buy potted or cut flowers, and set them up in your living room.

The easiest way, as I discovered this year, is to plant small flower garden in front of your house. Even for the sole purpose of having a photographic subject handy, they do not require that much work, especially if you choose the local wild flowers. The diversity in types and colors will help keeping you interested and returning often to add to the collection of images. Each day, the flowers will looks different, some will be already dying, and some will just start to bloom. There are new and different photos to be taken each and every day.

Click Here: How to Take Incredible Photographs of Flowers 

Macro Flower Photography: A Tutorial in Focus Stacking

This tutorial by Harold Davis explains how you can use Photoshop to achieve crisp focus throught a macro image.

“The closer you get in macro flower photography, the fussier focus gets. Since “fussy” is not a technical term, let me explain. Because focus is inherently shallower as you get closer to your subject, slight variations of distance between camera and subject throw you out of focus very quickly, and even fully-stopped down you may not have enough depth-of-field for your entire photo to be in focus.

Certainly, stopping your lens down to its smallest aperture, observing whether you have the in-focus areas you want, and seeing if there is any way to position the camera to improve the amount that is in-focus is a good way to start. But bear in mind that stopping down a lens comes with some downsides: optically your lens may not perform best at its smallest aperture, and when the aperture is small you can’t use a shutter speed fast enough to stop motion.

An approach that often can surmount these obstacles is to use focus stacking: shooting at a number of different focal points and combining the images in Photoshop to create a hyper-focal image that has an extended area that is in focus.”…MORE