Macro photography is a very interesting subject for photographers. People love to shoot small objects like insects, flowers, waterdrops, etc. With macro photography, a photographer can show the tiniest details about the subject – details that are not possible to see with the naked eye. Today, let’s find out how to amaze viewers by taking colorful and razor-sharp macro photos of flowers.
What you’ll need to capture razor-sharp macro photos of flowers
You’ll be taking photographs, which means you will obviously need a camera body. But which camera body is good for macro photography – a full-frame or a crop-sensor camera?
Different photographers have different answers to this question. Each body has advantages over the other. With a crop-sensor camera, you can get a larger focal length with the same lens so that you don’t have to get very close to the subject. A crop sensor also gives you a deeper depth of field as compared to a full-frame body, which means you can keep more of the subject in focus.
On the other hand, a full-frame body reveals more details because of the larger sensor size. It also performs better in low-light conditions. So, ultimately, all bodies are good for macro photography, whether you have a crop-sensor camera or a full-frame camera, or whether it’s a DSLR or mirrorless.
Lens choice is important in macro photography.
A true macro lens gives you 1:1 magnification, which means the size of your subject can be the same as your sensor size. In other words, if you have a full-frame body that has a 36mm x 24mm sensor size, you can fill the entire frame with a subject that is 36mm x 24mm in size. This gives you the opportunity to get really close to the subject and capture all the details.
However, don’t worry if you don’t have a dedicated macro lens. You can use extension tubes or a reverse ring with two lenses. Alternatively, you can use a cheaper option called macro close-up filters.
Flash and diffuser
A flash is a very important piece of equipment in macro photography. It helps you take razor-sharp pictures and capture bright colors. It also helps you avoid blurry images resulting from the shake of the camera.
A flash diffuser is equally as important as the flash. It softens the light and brings out the details and colors. You can use a mini softbox or domes or MagSphere, or you can simply put a diffuser cloth in front of the flash or bounce it with a white card.
You can use the flash on the camera hot-shoe or, if you have wireless flash triggers, you can use the off-camera flash. This will give you better results, but you will need someone to hold it.
Things to remember:
1. Depth of field
The first thing to remember when it comes to getting razor-sharp macro photos of flowers is depth of field (DOF). DOF is very important in macro photography. If you are shooting with a true macro lens with 1:1 magnification and your aperture is f/4, you’ll get only 1-2mm of total DOF. So, chances are, you won’t get everything you want in focus.
The solution is a smaller aperture. With an f/16 aperture, you can easily get 5-6mm total DOF and have everything you want in focus.
However, with such a small aperture, you’ll need lots of light. That’s why a flash is necessary for macro photography.
Many photographers suggest that manual focus is better for macro photography, but I disagree with them.
I always use autofocus when taking macro pictures.
Because it’s easy, it’s fast, and you have fewer chances of taking out-of-focus pictures because both hands are free to hold the camera.
Just make sure that your hands and camera don’t move between focus lock and taking the picture.
To achieve razor-sharp macro photos of flowers, you should always consider the background. In most cases, the background will be blurred, but, still, it should be clean and have contrasting colors.
4. Look from different angles
When we take photos of flowers, we usually take them from the top or the side. However, sometimes a flower can be very beautiful from the back, too.
When you are searching for a subject to shoot, always look it from different angles so that you can see and click something extraordinary – something that others can’t.
5. Dead flowers can be great subjects, too
We always try to take photos of fresh flowers, but sometimes dead flowers can be great subjects, as in the following image. When a flower is dead, and all the petals have fallen, it starts preparing seeds.
Sometimes those seeds look very beautiful and can be good subjects to shoot macro.
6. Shoot in RAW
To achieve razor-sharp macro photos of flowers, always shoot in RAW format because RAW files contain more details. Therefore, when you sharpen the image and enhance the colors in post-processing, you’ll get better results.
When you open a RAW image in post-processing software, it’ll look dull and lack sharpness, colors, and contrast. Don’t lose heart after seeing this. After a little bit of post-processing, it can often be better than a JPG image from the camera.
7. Keep your hands steady
A tripod is not a useful tool in macro photography because you’ll need to click at unusual angles.
If you have a moving subject, like insects, chances are, they’ll go away before you set up your tripod. So, it’s better to take photos with a handheld camera. Keep your elbows inside, which will give you support and lower your chances of camera shake.
8. Practice and be patient
If, after doing everything you have read in this article, you take photos that aren’t coming out sharp, don’t be disheartened. Have patience, and keep practicing. Eventually, you’ll get razor-sharp macro photos of flowers.
Keep clicking and share your pictures here. If you need help, just ask me. I am always here to assist.
Here’s more macro photos to enjoy: