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5 Quick Flower Macro Photography Tips.

1. Use Live view to focus. Focusing on a tiny water droplet on a petal is tricky business and often times your camera's Auto focus won't cut it. Use live view to zoom into the exact spot you want, set your focus, and switch back to shooting mode to capture your shot. If you are feeling brave, try Manual focus. Practice makes perfect with manual focus :)

2. Get low. Often the best angle is the one where you have to kneel in a pile of muddy guck. If you have sore knees, buy one of those gardening foam pads to kneel on. Or better yet, bring your flowers indoors and put them on a table top and set up your tripod below pointing upwards.

3. Explore Aperture. A small depth of field (DOF) less than f/4 will blur the background and create a more abstract look like this shot (f/2.8). This method is called selective focus. It is great to use if your background is distracting or you want a more artistic/abstract look. Conversely, if you want all the petals of your flower in focus you will need a larger DOF f/8 or higher.

4. Backlight your subject. For this shot, I placed the rose in front of a large window. The ambient light created a nice soft light from behind the rose. If you want to add more light to the foreground, you can use a foam core board or a reflector to bounce some light from the front.

5. Shoot in RAW. Always. You will get so much more detail, it will amaze you. You can thank me for your amazement later. :D

Please share your macro shots in the comments below!
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204 comments
 
YOU ARE MORE BEAUTIFU THEN THIS
 
Beautiful shot and wonderful tips. Especially using Live View to preview the finer details of the shot before switching back and taking the shot. Great stuff, Lisa.
 
Great shot and tips! I always forget about Live View. ;-P
 
Thank you +Lisa Bettany for the tips, as have being doing lot of close ups of flowers lately. Excellent photo as well.
 
it's really beautyful rose . i like rose.
B&B H
 
so beautiful and soft~
 
Great tips! I'm interested in your RAW comment. I use JPG Fine, as the dimensions are larger than most monitors at 100%, and because these services here at least, strip away data and leave your photo at about 500K in best cases. Does RAW still improve quality if we're talking sharing on a service like G+ or FB. (SmugMug will show the full detail I believe). Like the idea of a macro shot using a long lens.
 
Thanks. A rose photographed by any other way is not as schmick...
 
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge Lisa! Your photographs are awesome.
 
Veryyyyyyyyyyyyyy Nice & Beautiful
 
Thanks for the advice! As for manually focusing, I'm guessing manual focusing is ok when its set to manual? I ask because my user guide said to not touch the focus ring at all. Is that only while the camera is set on auto focus?
 
+Kelly Patrick Dugan
I have just learnt about it, so I could be wrong. But RAW doesn't work like that. If you take a jpg the camera picks a white balance temperature and a colour histogram and applies a limited compression algorithm. If you shoot in RAW it doesn't, and you get to choose various things in post using software that handles RAW and then when you've applied colouring settings you can export jpg's at various compressions. Then you upload the jpgs. 
 
الصوره جميله ورائعة very good and beautiful
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great article Lisa, thanks! I'm shooting RAW now and going to figure out the best software to use it. Despite my romantic notion to the contrary, some post is essential to a quality photo. (while maintaining it's aesthetic authenticity). Now my question is do these sites upload proprietary RAW formats (NEF for me), or do I save the image back to JPG and lose the RAW benefits again after post. So much to learn, it's fun!
 
Thanks for the useful tips... I mean it...^^
 
Wonderful advice! The idea is to experiment with all manual controls and settings, as well as point of view, etc. For beginners, you should have explained what RAW is, which is freedom to experiment with white balance, etc. without losing precious data (process before and not after compression - like making trousers from a piece of cloth instead from a coat). As for autofocus - some of us old guys still remember the time it was something rare and even automatic exposure was not that common (talking about Eastern Europe). And we used to do our Photoshop in the black room - no way avoiding it then, so why should you avoid it now?
 
Thanks for the tips. I've tried this a few times but never managed to capture anything as good as your photo. I'll try again using your tips.
 
hi.... how r uuuuuuuuuuuuuu baby...................
 
hola, como estas?.
me acabo de inscribir en cuenta google, y busco nuevas amistades
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wow..natural beauty..................
 
wow you shoot really well
 
it's too beautiful...............
i love it
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Your pictures and photography is awesome...!
 
+Lisa Bettany hiiiiiiiiiiii Lisa.......please add me in your circles......i saw ur shooted pics n i really dont have any words to say that how magnificent, spectacular, aristocratic, impressive it is......
 
Romantics shot! Beautiful!
 
One of the best pieces of advise I ever got was that after you take the image you wanted, look behind you to your left and right and maybe up or down. You will almost always find another image, maybe a better one!!.. Great advise then your advise is equally as good!!!
 
Simply Superbbbbbbb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Yah....Here Aperture Plays an Important role..... :)
 
Canon 5DMKII is good camer
 
I photograph with a light filter, which is 10 times the light decreases, the diaphragm exhibited a large, 1.4, and that's what the picture will be. This is one shot. The same flower, and the same light, but without the filter, but close to the minimum aperture is obtained by a different flower.https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106898355829847905964/albums/5675564511015323041
 
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106898355829847905964/albums/5675564511015323041
 
Great tips as always, I'm going to try them this week.
 
In this case did you cut out the background using software?
 
I love that photo as much as I love the mark II ♥
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Pink is the symbol of love,and its look so beautiful.
 
I gonna eat a rose like it :p
 
colour and a drop of water, really makes it so natural. bravoo...
 
si, por esos ojos yo estuviera en tu matrimonio, preferia ser el novio, y obtar por la camara. que seria como tu unica distraccion entre tu y yo.:)
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Raz Nf
 
i like it ur mark 97
 
so beautiful nice photography.........!!
 
+Lisa Bettany Thanks for the tips! I've been doing all that except shooting in RAW. I realized this "mistake" only a few weeks ago. Silly me. :)
I have two macro albums if you'd like to have a look: macro insects (*warning*: don't check it if you don't enjoy macro flies 5:1 and more, especially when they chew bubbles lol) - http://goo.gl/Zeumf, and macro droplets (save and nice to the eye) - http://goo.gl/1IJNo.
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rose is my favorat.....................
 
Thx for the tips! I hope they will improve my photography.
 
Make your app available for the Androids also..... now tell me when your gonna do this for Android users.....
 
Thanks for the tips +Lisa Bettany. Even though I'm totally amazed by some totally dreamy macro shots of flowers, I'm not really into this myself. I'm trying to find other ways to explore macro photography. I've just posted this yesterday (90mm f/2.8): http://goo.gl/Nu9Kk
 
Thanks. I finally found something I like in pink!
 
that beautifull like u
hehehe......................
Raaja S
 
Lisa, It's Amazing, and thanks for your Tips,
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روعه بجد يسلم الزوء
 
soooooooooo.............. beautiful.................
 
never seen before such a rose
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wow lovely,nice no words to say.women like u also like this,pretty,decent and beautiful.
 
With flowers, manual is a must. I've never gotten a great shot with auto, unless it's at a distance.
-That being said, macro mode will get the shot some of the time, manual is still best.
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the photo you took are very much additive
by the way what is your proffession
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