Work inside with bought specimens if you don't fancy shooting spring flowers outdoors.
Use Your Macro mode as many models now allow focusing as close as a few millimetres while offering good overall sharpness. The Macro mode, which has a flower head icon, can be found either on the mode dial if your camera has one, or, in your camera's menu system.
You may think that a tripod's a tool only DSLR users need, however when you're working at close focussing distances the tiniest of movements can cause your shot to go out of focus, plus a tripod will cut down on camera-shake. Tripods also slow you down and allow you to think more about composition. A tripod with a multi-angle central column system, such as those found in Vanguard's Alta Pro range
, are ideal for flower photography as the central column can be moved from zero to 180-degree angles in variable vertical and horizontal positions. This makes getting closer to flowerheads easier, plus the ways the legs splay mean working from low angles in flowerbeds is a breeze.
Try to avoid using your camera's built-in flash as they tend to be too strong. Instead, use a reflector to bounce light into the shadow areas. You can make a small, simple one from a piece of card and some tin foil too so you don't have to spend a fortune to own one. If you want to take cover from the elements then try working in a conservatory or greenhouse where plenty of natural light will still reach your subject. Don't worry if your greenhouse's windows are slightly dirty either as this will help diffuse the light!
Time Of Day
Overcast days are rather good for flower photography as clouds act like a giant softbox and diffuse the light. You don't want to attempt flower photography on a windy day either as the smallest of breezes will blow the flowers and when you're working up close, the blur is more noticeable.
If you're working with just one flower make sure it's in good shape before hitting the shutter and find a position that allows the most distance to be put between the background and flower as this will make it easier for the camera to throw the background out of focus.
Even though the background will be blurred do still try and find an area that's not full of clutter and distracting objects. You should avoid areas with dots of bright colours or objects that cause shine as these areas, even though they're small and out of focus, will pull the eye away from your subject. If you can, use a background that contrasts with the flower so it 'pops' from the frame. You can always create your own plain backdrop from material or a piece of card if needs be.
For a shot that's more pleasing to the eye offset the stamen slightly and try, as you do with a portrait, positioning yourself so the flower sits slightly to the side.
Get In Close
For a more abstract shot, fill the frame with one or a few of the petals or another part of the flower's head, making the shapes and colours the focus of the image. You don't even really need have any part of the image in focus as the flower's colour and shape can produce abstract shapes full of soft colour. Do try changing your shooting distances, though, to alter the overall effect.