How to Photograph Flowers: Smartphone and Point and Shoot Macro Photography

Source

At the time of writing this article, I was just starting to branch out from product photography, which had been my primary focus for a number of years. My aim with this measure was to prevent burning out on photography completely. One of the subjects I was working with quite a lot was flowers. At the time I was shooting exclusively with a point and shoot camera, a Canon PowerShot. If you have a point and shoot or have only been taking photos with your phone and have not worked a lot with macro photography, don't get overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time. Before you know it, you will be blown away by your own shots.

I've broken this article down into the following sections:

  • Camera tips. One of the biggest factors for successful photography with any subject is to use the correct camera settings.
  • Editing and effects. Now that you have a bunch of photos, what do you do with them?
  • Other considerations. Take it to the next step with some new techniques and projects.

Basic Flower & Macro Photography

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I shot many of the photos in this article at dusk.  The sun was low in the sky, but there was still a lot of light.If you are shooting on a sunnier day, try to avoid the direct sunlight which may result in a lot of glare.I like how you get a little perspective here of the surrounding flowers and street.Using the macro setting on your camera will allow you to get this type of focus.
I shot many of the photos in this article at dusk.  The sun was low in the sky, but there was still a lot of light.
I shot many of the photos in this article at dusk. The sun was low in the sky, but there was still a lot of light. | Source
If you are shooting on a sunnier day, try to avoid the direct sunlight which may result in a lot of glare.
If you are shooting on a sunnier day, try to avoid the direct sunlight which may result in a lot of glare. | Source
I like how you get a little perspective here of the surrounding flowers and street.
I like how you get a little perspective here of the surrounding flowers and street. | Source
Source
Using the macro setting on your camera will allow you to get this type of focus.
Using the macro setting on your camera will allow you to get this type of focus. | Source
  • Switch to manual mode and learn the settings. I cannot stress that enough. Please don't rely on the auto mode. You will get much better results when you have control over the individual settings.
  • Your lighting setting should reflect the current conditions. Most manual modes have settings such as indoors, sunny, and cloudy or even allow you to choose the specific color temperature. Take time to select the appropriate setting.
  • Keep your ISO setting as low as possible. Unless you are shooting in very low light conditions, keep your ISO setting low to capture as much detail as possible.
  • Turn off the flash if you haven't already. Again, unless you are shooting in low light, you shouldn't need the flash.
  • Use the macro setting. Always focus your shot before shooting it. If you want clear close up shots of your flowers, turn on the macro setting. It's the function that looks like a flower. Then when you take your picture, push the button down halfway to focus the shot first.
  • If you don't have a tripod with you, brace yourself. Sometimes you have a great opportunity to photograph flowers and don't have your tripod with you. That's okay. Brace yourself on something or if all else fails, tuck your arms in to your chest to steady your camera.
  • Use the timer. Even if you're using a tripod, you'll still have clearer photos with the timer. See if your camera has a short setting, such as 2 seconds, so you don't have to wait too long for each shot.

Editing and Effects

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I shot this on a very sunny day with filtered sunlight.I did these photo effects with Picasa.  I used a tint and then the Holga-ish effect.Using a high or low angle can create a very different effect than shooting straight on or at a slight side angle.I am a huge sucker for sepia.  With Picasa, I put this photo in sepia and then added a soft focus.I decided to crop this photo just a little to put more focus on the flower.
I shot this on a very sunny day with filtered sunlight.
I shot this on a very sunny day with filtered sunlight. | Source
I did these photo effects with Picasa.  I used a tint and then the Holga-ish effect.
I did these photo effects with Picasa. I used a tint and then the Holga-ish effect. | Source
Using a high or low angle can create a very different effect than shooting straight on or at a slight side angle.
Using a high or low angle can create a very different effect than shooting straight on or at a slight side angle. | Source
I am a huge sucker for sepia.  With Picasa, I put this photo in sepia and then added a soft focus.
I am a huge sucker for sepia. With Picasa, I put this photo in sepia and then added a soft focus. | Source
I decided to crop this photo just a little to put more focus on the flower.
I decided to crop this photo just a little to put more focus on the flower. | Source
  • Decide when and where to shoot to get optimum results. Picking an ideal setting and time of day can make as much difference as your camera settings. Consider filtered sunlight and dawn or dusk with a light sky but sun low on the horizon.
  • Frame your shot. Consider the rule of thirds, high and low angles, and natural frames (i.e. trees, bushes).
  • Complete basic editing steps. If nothing else, you should consider cropping and completing a simple light level adjustment.
  • Consider more advanced photo editing techniques. There is no end to the possible ways that you can edit your flower photos. I have included just a couple examples.

Other Considerations

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I shot one of these roses against the brick.I shot another one from the other direction so you don't see the bricks.I captured these blooms on the porch, hanging down between two pots.
I shot one of these roses against the brick.
I shot one of these roses against the brick. | Source
I shot another one from the other direction so you don't see the bricks.
I shot another one from the other direction so you don't see the bricks. | Source
Source
Source
I captured these blooms on the porch, hanging down between two pots.
I captured these blooms on the porch, hanging down between two pots. | Source
  • Experiment with different backdrops. There is no single perfect backdrop that will work well for every flower photograph. Try different settings and angles.
  • Consider water effects. You can add water drops to any flower or other plant with a small spray bottle. This is a lot easier than waiting to shoot after it rains.
  • Think about other details that you can include in your photos, such as petals, buds, and leaves. There are so many fascinating components to plants. When you're ready to switch up your routine from focusing in on the flowers, switch it up and consider a different aspect of the plant.
  • Take a lot of pictures. Like many things in life, the best way to improve your skills is to practice. In the digital age of photography, it doesn't cost anything but time to take more pictures. Keep your camera with you and shoot a few flower photos whenever you have the chance.

Beautiful Flower Pictures - 3 Tips for Taking Better Flower Photos

How to Photograph Flowers in the Studio

More by this Author


Comments 50 comments

CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

I LOVE photographing flowers! There is so much detail in every petal! It takes a lot of trial and error to know what works best but you have done great on laying it out nice. Excellent hub :) Voted up and shared with followers and on pintrest!!!


Sethughes profile image

Sethughes 4 years ago

Extraordinarily helpful and beautiful hub.

Thank you!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Cassy! You're right about the petal detail and about the trial and error process. I know that I still have so much to learn, but it's encouraging to keep seeing progress. I appreciate the shares!

Thank you much, Sethughes!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Such a helpful hub. I enjoy continuing to learn about flower photography and you offer new-to-me tips here. I'll be returning to finish those videos.


krsharp05 profile image

krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

You're giving me even more ideas! I love to take photos of flowers. It' not uncommon for my family to be yelling at me to catch up because I'm off taking pictures of a flower somewhere. Your photos are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the information. -K


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

RTalloni, that's great!

krsharp, thanks! I am fortunate that my husband is very patient with my picture taking. I'm sure if we have kids, that will change the whole dynamic of this endeavor (among many other things of course). :)


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

photographing flowers is one of my best de-stress activity on week-ends. I wanna buy high end camera for that.. and this hub really inspired me to do it again this weekend and try your tips.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's awesome, unknown spy! I have gotten the bug for a high end camera, too. Saving my money and researching for now. It will happen one of these months. Best of luck!


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

I read your hub and was inspired to go and figure out how to use my camera! I've been trying to take close up shots of flowers for eons, and have never been able to get just the right shot, but I was also using the auto function. When I started playing around with the aperture (like the first video suggested) my shots became AMAZING!! Too bad it's dark out now, I wanna run outside and take photos of all my trees out back!!

Thank you so much for this hub! I had to share!


SweetbeariesArt profile image

SweetbeariesArt 4 years ago from California

Very beautiful photographs, and good tips for those who want to photograph flowers!


royaneek profile image

royaneek 4 years ago from kolkata,west bengal

i like flowerphotography vry mch....& i think dese wll help me a lot


watergeek profile image

watergeek 4 years ago

OMG, what you did with the photo capsule! I had no idea you could do that. You have better equipment than I do and I love your photos. I just have an Olympus digital point and shoot, but they generally turn out pretty good. Love, love, LOVE taking shots of flowers. I've used many of mine in Sustainable Sue hubs about landscaping.


photostudiosupply profile image

photostudiosupply 4 years ago from Rochester, New York

Very interesting hub with helpful tips & beautiful photographs.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Daughter Of Maat, aperture can make all the difference with detail shots like these. That's awesome that the tips were already helping, even in the dark! Have fun experimenting this weekend and best of luck with it.

SweetbeariesArt and royaneek, that's great!

watergeek, yep, just select the thumbnail option in the photo capsule. In general, even the lowest end Canon and Nikon point and shoots will be better than any other brand. I don't know if you're in the market for a new camera, but I'd recommend Canon or Nikon for your next one. That's great that you've been able to use a lot of flower pictures in your articles.

Thanks, photostudiosupply!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Beautiful pictures. I am having so much fun with my new camera. I treated myself to a really nice one. That way I could use it for hubs, fun, and photography. Your tips are just great. I love the spray bottle idea. I'll do that! Thanks!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Cyndi! That's awesome that you're enjoying your new camera so much. I am hoping to upgrade to a DSLR within the next year. I agree about the versatility. Between Etsy, HubPages, blogging, and vacations, I will definitely get my money's worth.

You'll have to let me know if you try the spray bottle idea. I haven't tried it yet, but it's one of the oldest tricks in the book for flower photography.


kelleyward 4 years ago

Thanks for the tips randomcreative. I just recently started using the Manuel mode because I was having problems with the auto focus. It's forced me to take better pics. I'm bookmarking this for later so I can try your suggestions. Thanks! Kelley


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Kelley! I'm glad that this is helpful for you. It can be frustrating to use the manual mode at first, but it is worth it. You have much better control over the settings for any kind of picture taking.


storybeader 4 years ago

Great info! I don't think I've ever looked at the ISO settings. Good idea about the spray bottle. {:-D


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Deb! I'd never looked at the ISO setting before I started doing product photography. Now I pay attention to it for other photography, too. Thanks. :) I certainly didn't invent that technique; I'm just passing it on to others!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

I love taking photos of flowers and macro photography is so exciting - thank you for these useful tips and the photos are lovely.

voted up and shared.


kikalina profile image

kikalina 4 years ago from Europe

Those are really great photos.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

You have given some really good information here. I love taking macro shots of flowers. If you want really great detail, you are right, a tripod is a must. Very pretty pictures and great information. Voted up and more!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Great tips for photographing flowers! Your tips about using the macro mode, a tripod and timer are right on. I love your use of black and white and sepia to give a different look. Digital cameras and simple photo editing software give us so much flexibility.

Thanks for linking my article on spring flower pictures! I do love photographing flowers. Voted up and shared!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Stephanie! I really appreciate the feedback. You're right about the flexibility that digital camera and simple photo editing software can provide. Techniques that would have taken hours or lots of expertise once upon a time are relatively easy for many people to master now.

You're very welcome! I love your photos, too, and I appreciate the shares.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Movie Master, kikalina, and sgbrown!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

Thanks for these nifty tips! I usually take photos of food and clothing, but I like to photograph flowers sometimes, too. Rated up and useful :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Om! It can be fun to branch out from your usual subjects.


timorous profile image

timorous 4 years ago from Me to You

Nice hub. Your tips are right on. I might add one... I find the image brightness setting to be beneficial, especially under very bright conditions. On the Canon Powershot cameras, it's the 'UP' position on the 4-way button, while in 'Program' mode. The image on the LCD when you press the shutter button halfway, should look pretty much like what you see. Nice pictures by the way.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Some awesome and useful tips. I've been contemplating photographing flowers for some time . This hub is just what I needed to boost my confidence. I have a point and shoot camera but now I'll be looking into the macro settings too.

Thank you for sharing useful and interesting information. Your photographs are immaculately beautiful.

Voted up, useful, awesome and shared too.


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Excellent hub randomcreative, Love your detail and simplicity. Your layout shows great creative use of colour and dividers, well done! I too love flowers and photography so will definitely use your tips and advice! Great shout rajan jolly for sharing!

Voted and shared too!


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

A notebook and my camera are with me at all times. You never know what you will run into. This morning it was a caterpillar and a toad (hub coming) in my plants. I have taken photos of flowers before and now with the tips you have given I can improve them.

Voted up + and shared.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I love all your tips. Your photos are really good! Good tip on adding water drops instead of waiting for rain! I have learned to turn off the flash. I do think i need a better camera though. Canon Powershot--easy to use? User friendly? I might look into it. Is it a certain model? Thanks for the hub. Very useful.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, timorous! When I'm using my light box, I do adjust the exposure pretty frequently. I find that I don't have to as much when I'm shooting outdoors. Depending on the time of day and light conditions, it could make a difference.

rajan jolly, good luck with your flower photos! Experimenting with macro on your point and shoot will have a huge effect on close up work like this. Thanks for the share!

Suzie, thanks! I appreciate your feedback on the article layout as well as the photography content. I'm glad that these tips are helpful for you. Best of luck.

Angelo, you're absolutely right that you never know when you'll have a great opportunity to capture a shot. I keep my camera in my purse so that it's with me a lot of the time.

Victoria, thanks! I have found the Canon PowerShot easy to use. My model didn't come with much of a manual, but if you've used any type of similar point and shoot before, the settings are pretty intuitive. I have an SD1200 IS. It's almost 3 years old, but it's still on the market for a very reasonable price.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

I always photograph our flowers in the spring and summer - I love looking back on our former gardens and the photo saves the beauty of the flower forever! You have gorgeous pictures, Rose!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's awesome, Leah. You're right that the photos preserve that beauty so you can look back on it for many years to come. Thanks so much!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well done Rose! Great pictures and suggestions!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks much, Bill!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

I just had to come back and say that this hub has some fabulous tips. I still love the spray bottle idea. I really think you'll be SO HAPPY when you upgrade to a DSLR - I can't believe how much more I love to take pictures, and between HubPages, blogging, flickr, vacations and practice, my camera gets A LOT of attention. Hehe.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Photographing flowers is one of my favorite hobbies! Sometimes I get funny looks wandering around my apartment complex with a huge camera, but I enjoy it. Your spray bottle idea is fantastic! I will be putting it to use.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Cyndi! I have not tried the spray bottle idea yet myself, but I really need to at some point. I am itching to get a DSLR so badly. I already know so many ways that I'll be able to take my photography to new levels with it. You know how many places I post pictures online, too. I will certainly be able to justify the purchase. I'm socking away my writing money and am hoping to pick up a camera and supplies during the holiday season.

Thanks, Natasha! I'm still using a point and shoot so I typically don't get funny looks, but I know that if/when I upgrade, that will happen to me, too. What can you do? :) Have fun with the spray bottle idea.


joanveronica profile image

joanveronica 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

This is so interesting, but I have so much to learn! Where do I start? I've never really done any photography, and I would like to learn. Voted up, etc. Articles like this one motivate me to continue looking for information. Thank you!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Joan, it can be overwhelming, especially when you're just getting started. My best advice is to get a decent point and shoot (ideally a Canon or Nikon) and start practicing. Take on a new challenge or skill every week or so or as often as you feel is appropriate. Best of luck!


Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

Pavlo Badovskyy 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Well written and informative! Voted up!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Pavlo!


Darrylmdavis profile image

Darrylmdavis 4 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

An easy-to-follow hub with useful tips and reminders...enjoyed it! :-)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much!


viewfinders profile image

viewfinders 3 years ago from God's own country(kerala)

thanks for sharing tips in simplified way,thanks for sharing.


CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 3 years ago from Oregon

Awesome tips, when travelling we love to take pictures of the local flowers on our adventures and these tips will be put to good use.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

viewfinders, I'm glad that you found this article to be accessible!

CZCZCZ, that's great. :)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working