Creative Photography Project Ideas: How to set up your own Macro Studio and shoot Beautiful Close Up images of Flowers

Digital Macro photography can be such an adventure – once you start zooming in on familiar everyday subjects such as flowers or plants, you will discover a whole new world and nothing will ever seem the same again. This tutorial covers how you can easily set up a basic Macro Studio in your own kitchen, and lots of tips and tricks on how you can easily capture beautiful flower close up pictures.

Equipment needed

  • Digital SLR camera with a Macro Lens OR
  • Digital compact camera with Macro Setting
  • Tripod – or a stack of books
  • Spray bottle
  • Flowers
  • Window with plenty of day light

Basic Macro Photography Studio
Basic Macro Photography Studio | Source

Macro flower photography Step 1: Find plenty of natural light and position your camera

One of the best things about photographing flowers is that they are very well behaved and patient models. Start off by placing your chosen flowers on a table near a well lit window. It is important that you shoot in day light as the flash is likely to ruin the delicate natural look you can only achieve in the light hours of the day. Having said that, you’re also best off avoiding direct sunlight as it will cast harsh shadows across your subject.

Position your camera on a tripod or a stack of books. It is important that your camera is absolutely still as even the smallest movement will cause blurred images when you’re shooting close ups. For the same reason it’s a lot easier to take macro photos indoors as the smallest gust of wind will cause your subject to move.

Gerbera with water droplets
Gerbera with water droplets | Source
Macro Flowers full view
Macro Flowers full view | Source

Macro flower photography Step Two – Start shooting close ups of your flowers

As soon as you’ve set up your flowers and camera you’re ready to start shooting. The best rule of thumb is to take literally hundreds of photos, you will learn as you go along and chances are higher that you end up with your perfect shot if you take more photos. If you are using a macro lens for the first time you will have to practice getting the focus and depth of field right – it is so incredibly sensitive compared to a normal lens and its very easy to focus on something completely different than you thought you were!

I usually shoot with Aperture priority on my SLR as it gives me full control of depth of field and I can focus on composition rather than fiddling with the manual settings of the camera. If you have a compact camera look for your macro setting – it is usually indicated by a small flower icon.

Now start shooting trying different angles, move around and shoot from below, from above and any other angle you can think of. Try to spray a little water on the flowers and focus on the droplets. Don’t forget about the greenery or torn petals. The idea is to get a feel for how your macro lens behaves.

Rose macro - rule of thirds
Rose macro - rule of thirds | Source
Gerbera macro
Gerbera macro | Source

Macro flower photography Step Three – Plan your compositions

Start by asking yourself some basic questions:

  • Do you want the whole flower or plant in focus, or just a single detail of it?
  • Is the flower going to fill the entire photograph or will the background show?
  • Should the background be sharp or blurred?

Remember that just because you’re shooting close ups, traditional composition and photography techniques don’t go out the window. You can still apply basic composition techniques such as rule of thirds, balance, leading lines, symmetry and patterns, viewpoint, depth and framing. Be creative, take lots of photos and you are likely to bag some fantastic shots that will make your friends green with envy!

Macro flower photography Step Four

Consider sharing your work with a photo group and receive feedback and inspiration from fellow photographers, or why not take up a photo challenge or follow a theme?

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Comments 9 comments

Linda Bliss profile image

Linda Bliss 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks for your comment! Yes a tripod can really improve your close up photos, so it's a good investment.


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

Gorgeous photos, and great tips. I need to get myself a small tripod!


jfay2011 profile image

jfay2011 5 years ago

very good hub. I didn't think to carry along a spray bottle. I used to do that to my dolls before I photographed them, but not flowers. Although I have gotten the natural dewdrop effect after a rainy morning. I love closeup photography


ghiblipg 5 years ago

very nice flowers in deed. great work =)


Linda Bliss profile image

Linda Bliss 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks for the tip! :-)


TheMonk profile image

TheMonk 5 years ago from Brazil

Nice pictures. I would also recomend an external flash, a cardboard and a cable to take the flash out of the camera. I have made great pictures with that setup.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Have been developing more of an interest in photography. Thanks for this!


Linda Bliss profile image

Linda Bliss 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thank you so much Hyphenbird! :o)


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This Hub is a beautiful inspiration to get out my camera. Thanks so much.

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