Flowers are among photographers’ favorite subjects to shoot—they’re fairly abundant, easy to work with, and naturally stunning. 

If you’re new to photography, starting with flowers can be a fun way to learn the basics and gradually develop your skills. 

Read on to discover everything you need to know about flower photography, what equipment you’ll need, and how to get started. 

Most importantly, we’ll share gorgeous examples of flower photography along the way, so you can see our tips in action. 

Flower Photography Ideas

Before we get into the nitty gritty of flower photography, here are a few beautiful examples to inspire your journey. 

Plant Photography

Photographing an individual plant or bloom allows you to showcase their beauty. 

yellow rose
Admire every petal of this delicate rose.

Macro Flower Photography

Flowers make perfect candidates for macro photography—extreme close-ups of small objects to make them appear larger than they are in real life. 

yellow cornflowers
An up-close shot of a bee and sunflower by Skillshare student Chris Spack.

Black and White Flower Photography

Flowers are known for their vibrant colors, but there’s something special about taking the spotlight off of color and focusing instead on the flower’s shape and intricate details. 

black and white roses
This black and white photo by Skillshare student Scott Oakes helps showcase the intricacy of the rose’s petals.

Where to Photograph Flowers

Depending on where you live, flowers may be harder or easier to come by. Don’t fret – we’re happy to point you in the right direction to see and capture these botanical beauties.

Garden Photography

One of the easiest places to find flowers is, of course, in a garden. This can be in your own front or back yard, a public outdoor garden, or even an indoor botanical garden. The latter is perfect for photographing tropical flowers that you wouldn’t otherwise find in your area. Just be sure to get permission from the garden’s staff.  

pink flowers
A flower photo taken in an Antwerp garden via Skillshare student Alizee CHATENOUD.

Wildflower Photography

Flowers growing out in nature have a sense of freshness and purity about them. Photograph them individually or snap a photo of an entire field.

field of flowers
Source: instagram
A field of wildflowers via @lisa_alexander_photography

Bring Them Inside

Photographing flowers inside is considered still life photography. It can give you more control over lighting and give you a chance to play around with composition and backgrounds. 

bottle with flower in it
A still life photo of a single bloom taken by Skillshare student Donna Crantshaw.

Equipment

All you need to start photographing flowers is a camera. This can be a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or even your smartphone. Capturing stunning photos has more to do with your technique than your equipment, so if you don’t already have a professional camera, your phone can be a great learning tool.  

iphone taking photo of plant
Don’t underestimate the power of your smartphone.

When you’re ready to take your photography to the next level, there are a few other pieces of equipment you can consider getting. They are by no means necessary, but they’ll give you more flexibility and control in how you take your photos. 

Lenses

When choosing which lenses to use flower photography, there are a few things to consider: 

Focal Length

In simple terms, focal length determines how “zoomed in” your photos will appear. For example, telephoto lenses have a focal length of 60 mm or greater and allow you to get a close up shot of something you’re standing far away from. A telephoto lens works great for flower photography, especially if you want to capture detailed photos of insects sitting on flowers, but getting too close may scare them away. 

On the other end of the spectrum are wide angle lenses, which have a focal length of 35 mm or less. These are great if you want to capture an entire field of flowers or add a bit of stylistic distortion to your photos. 

You can choose between zoom lenses, which have variable focal length, or prime lenses, which have a fixed focal length. Prime lenses generally perform better when it comes to photographing flowers because they work faster and produce a sharper image. Plus, flower photography doesn’t generally require the same level of versatility that zoom lenses provide. 

Aperture

Aperture is the size of the opening of the lens and, therefore, a measure of how much light comes through. Aperture affects the depth of field or, in other words, how blurry your background or foreground will be in comparison to your main subject. 

When photographing flowers, you’ll likely want the flower to be the star of the photograph. To make sure everything else is blurred out, choose a lens with a wide aperture, such as f/2.8 or lower. 

Macro Lens

If you’re looking to capture an incredibly detailed photo of a flower, you’ll have to get really close to it. However, most standard lenses aren’t able to focus on the subject at such a short distance. For that, you’ll need a special macro lens. 

Macro lenses can shine a spotlight on details that are hard to see with the naked eye, helping you capture awe-inspiring images. 

Tripod

If you’re shooting in good lighting and with a fast shutter speed, you can usually get away with just holding the camera with your hands. However, sometimes even the steadiest hands can allow a bit of camera shake, which results in photos that aren’t as sharp as they could be. If you’re after incredibly crisp, detailed photos, it’s a good idea to bring along a tripod. 

There may also be times when you need to hold the flower or other pieces of equipment in place, in which case a tripod can come in handy. 

Reflector and Diffuser

A reflector is a white or shiny surface used to bounce light onto the subject. There may be times when only half of the flower is well lit, in which case you’ll want to reflect a bit of light onto the darker side. 

If you’re working with a harsh direct light, a reflector can also help gently bounce it onto your subject in a softer, more evenly spread way. You can achieve a similar effect with a diffuser, which is a translucent white surface that helps diffuse light. 

If you’d like more control over how your flowers are lit, consider getting a 5-in-1 reflector kit. It includes white, gold, and silver reflectors, a black reflector for intensifying shadows, and a diffuser panel. 

Clamps

Clamps can be used to hold your reflectors, diffusers, or any other pieces of equipment you’re using. You can even purchase or make special clamps that can gently hold your flowers in place while you shoot them. 

How to Photograph Flowers

Whether you’re photographing individual flowers or an entire field, take into consideration color theory, your composition, lighting, and focus. These will take your photography to the next level and help you capture photos that truly stand out. 

Color Theory

Flowers come in a wide range of vibrant colors, but in order to help them really pop, you need to consider the colors of other elements in the photo, especially the background. Use color theory to find a background that will compliment rather than distract from the flower. 

For example, red, orange, and yellow flowers look great against blue or green backgrounds, such as a plain sky or grass and leaves. Blue and purple flowers, on the other hand, are often photographed against earthy tones or an orange sky at sunset.

pink flower
This photo by Skillshare student Yiannis Belias shows how purple flowers pop against a dark earthy background. 

Lighting

If you’re photographing flowers outside, try to go out on an overcast day—the clouds will act as a natural diffuser and make sure your photos don’t have any harsh lights and shadows. If this isn’t possible, try to find some shade or bring a reflector and a diffuser to manually control how your flowers are lit.

You can also use the sun to add creative effects to your photos. For example, try shooting your flowers with the sun directly behind them to get a beautiful backlit effect. 

If you’re shooting indoors, make sure to place the flowers by a window to take advantage of natural lighting and use a reflector to get rid of any shadows. 

succulent
In this photo by Skillshare student Martha Millichip, the sun beautifully hits the succulent’s petals.

Focus

Flowers truly shine when photographed with a shallow depth of field. Use a lens with a wide aperture to blur out the background and foreground or even parts of the flower. 

To make sure the parts you want in focus are nice and sharp, use a high shutter speed and set your camera on a tripod. 

Composition

Composition refers to how the different elements of a photo are arranged within the frame. For example, you can photograph a flower up close, so that its edges are hidden beyond the frame. Alternatively, you can photograph a flower in the center or the corner of the frame, with the background filling up the rest of the space. 

If your background is visible, make sure it’s not cluttered. Opt for simple backgrounds like a plain sky or a large leaf. If your background is a bit cluttered, make sure to use a shallow depth of field to blur it out. 

You can also include another plant in the foreground—with a shallow depth of field, this element will be blurred out and add a bit of visual interest to your photo. 

yellow flower
Skillshare student Dávid Virág uses a shallow depth of field to keep the flower in focus while blurring the background and foreground. 

Lastly, think about changing up the angle. The most compelling photos are taken from a perspective that the human eye doesn’t typically see. For example, try photographing your flowers from underneath them—you’ll likely have to get creative and maybe even lay down on the ground, but the end result will be well worth it. 

flower
Skillshare student Lola Masson shot this flower from underneath—not an angle we typically see. 

Consider the Wind

One common issue that photographers run into when shooting out in nature is dealing with the wind. It can cause your subject to move, affecting your composition and resulting in images that aren’t as sharp as they could be. 

If you’re shooting outside, try to avoid going out on a windy day or bring along a prop you can use to block the wind. If it seems like there’s nothing you can do to stop the wind, try using it to your advantage and intentionally taking creative photos of flowers in motion. 

Start Photographing Flowers

Whether you wish to do it professionally or as a hobby, photographing flowers can be incredibly therapeutic and fulfilling. Plus, it’s not hard to get started. Take a class to learn the basics, grab your camera or smartphone, and start shooting! 

Start Photographing Flowers Today

The Ultimate Flower Photography Masterclass

Written By

Sayana Lam

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