Flower Pictures thumbnails only

Rogue FlashBender Illuminates the Beauty of a Pink Rose Rogue FlashBender Illuminates the Beauty of a Pink Rose

Roses are arguably one of the most beautiful flowers on the face of this planet. They don't smell so bad either, which makes working around them even more pleasant. Buy the wife (or yourself) a bouquet of roses and you have days' worth of photo subject for your macro lens (and presumably a happy spouse).
For this image, I attached a Rogue FlashBender softbox to a forward-facing Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite. With this setup, I was free to shoot handheld as I worked on finding pleasing compositions – with deep-reaching soft light following me. This turned out to be my favorite image from this shoot. A nearly centered rose's petals curve outward into and subsequently out of the frame in a balanced manner.
Later, print one of your rose pictures to gain even more return on your small investment.

105mm  f/11.0  1/100s  ISO 100
Telephoto Lenses are for Flowers Too Telephoto Lenses are for Flowers Too

Sure, telephoto lenses are great for wildlife, sports and many other uses, but they are also great for flowers! I've had my eye on a small field of wildflowers and, after spending a large number of contiguous hours of work putting the Lens MTF Comparison tool into place, I gave myself the freedom to go after some summer color in the form of flower pics.
I knew that making an image worth sharing from this field was going to be a challenge. The location was not well-suited for a grand landscape image incorporating the flower color in the foreground. The flowers were beautiful, but they were intermixed with other vegetation, were very random in position and most were imperfect including a random state of bloom (some were well-beyond peak).
I was biking to this location (2 cars - 4 drivers = a problem) and, since I wasn't sure what the best opportunity was going to be, I put lenses ranging from 16 to 300mm in focal length along with a Canon EOS 5Ds R in a Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Pro backpack and was on my way. After riding past and then walking back along the edge of the field, I found few standout subjects calling for emphasis. Sometimes, flowers look best when blurred out of focus, becoming blobs of color and this was what I determined the case to be for much of this field.
This pair of cosmos did appear to be a cut above the rest and I focused on them for a period of time. By using a 300mm telephoto focal length with a relatively short focus distance, a nice blur was created, making full use of the imperfect blooms in the background.
While simply setting up such a blur is easy and can be good enough, taking the shot to the next level requires some attention to detail. In this case, I oriented the tripod-mounted camera and lens so that the background of the in-focus flower was only green, making the flower pop. This perspective also placed a complementary same-color cosmos just out of focus with a matching pair more-strongly blurred above. An intermittent light breeze made this alignment a bit more challenging, but ... patience was the answer to that issue.
I used manual focus aided by the 5Ds R's 16x Live View, allowing precise focusing on the center of the flower (preventing AF from picking the petals just in front). While an f/5.6 aperture would have given an even stronger background blur and would also have created a nice image, I opted for f/8 in this case. F/8 kept more of the flower in focus and reduced vignetting to even out the background brightness. Lighting is courtesy of a bright cloudy sky.
Then, right on cue, the bee landed on my primary subject. I was shooting the scene in vertical orientation at that moment (creating a nearly identical image), but I wanted to post the horizontal format picture as it fits better on computer monitors. So, I simply copied the bee out of the vertical photo and pasted it into this one.
Go get some summer color (in your photos, not your skin). Mount your telephoto lens and go flower hunting!

300mm  f/8.0  1/30s  ISO 100
Daisy 5 Daisy 5

The yellow petals on this Daisy flower look like flames leaping up from the edges of the center. The contrast is strikingly beautiful!

180mm  f/16  1/2s  ISO 100
Isolated Red and White Poppy Isolated Red and White Poppy

I recently mountain biked to a nearby wildflower field and spent a very enjoyable end of day with the Samyang 135mm f/2 ED UMC Lens (and a large black bear that also showed up). The Samyang 135 is not a macro lens (it's not a good bear lens either), but this lens is great at creating a strong background blur and that is precisely what I wanted this evening.
The sun had set, giving me even, low contrast lighting, and the wind had practically stopped, allowing sharp images to be made without clamping the flower stems in place. I worked along the edge of the field (to avoid damaging the flowers), looking for compositions that could work. This white-trimmed brilliant red poppy caught my attention and I found an angle and background combination that I liked.
When photographing people and wildlife with shallow depth of field, the eye(s) are nearly always the right focus point. When there are no eyes, more difficult decisions sometimes need to be made. In this case, I set the lens to its minimum focus distance and moved in so that the front edge of the upper set of petals was in sharp focus. I later second-guessed my decision and focused on the top edge of the closer flower petal, but ... in the end, I liked the first choice best. The very shallow depth of field covers more of the flower and the stem (also known as a leading line) is more prominent in this version.
The Samyang 135mm f/2 ED UMC Lens performed excellently for me this evening. This lens holds lots of creativity-unleashing potential (and it is a very good value).

135mm  f/2.0  1/25s  ISO 100
Pink Coneflower Pink Coneflower

A solitary Pink Conflower hangs in the dim evening light.

300mm  f/8  1/80s  ISO 200
Hydrangea Picture Hydrangea Picture

This is a closeup picture of a young purple Hydrangea. Extremely soft lighting was provided by a Chimera Softbox.

180mm  f/16  2s  ISO 100
Lily Picture Lily Picture

The elegant Lily - close-up.

180mm  f/13  1/250s  ISO 250
Daffodil Picture Daffodil Picture

The back of this Yellow Daffodil is softly lit and in high contrast to the black background.

180mm  f/16  1/200s  ISO 100
Flower 3 Flower 3

A beautiful pink and white flower picture.

180mm  f/16  1/125s  ISO 200
The Power of f/1.4: Bee on Orange Sunflower The Power of f/1.4: Bee on Orange Sunflower

Sunflowers, with their large size and bright colors, make great photo subjects. Add a bee to take the overall composition one step further.
For this image, I moved in close to the foreground flower, keeping it completely in the frame which places the center about 1/3 into the frame. I then moved to position a similar flower in the background. Again, that flower is fully contained in the frame and the green leaves anchor the bottom of the composition.
The shallow depth of field created by the combination of an 85mm focal length and f/1.4 aperture draws a viewer's eye directly to the bee and to the sharp flower petals (with strong contrast also pulling the viewer's eye to this location).
This image is razor sharp across the back of the bee (thanks to the Zeiss Otus 85), but details quickly soften in front of and behind that plane of sharp focus.

85mm  f/1.4  1/640s  ISO 100
Crocus Crocus

Strikingly beautiful, the Crocus ushers in Spring!

180mm  f/16  1/200s  ISO 100
Blue Flower Picture 2 Blue Flower Picture 2

Six symmetrical petals adorn this beautiful blue flower.

180mm  f/19  1/200s  ISO 100
Christmas Cactus Close-up Picture Christmas Cactus Close-up Picture

The typically-annual winter bloom of the Christmas Cactus is beautiful. This flower was lit by a large softbox and a studio monolight. I used a small black towel for the background.

150mm  f/11.0  1/200s  ISO 100
Tulip Garden Picture Tulip Garden Picture

A garden of red and white tulips glows in the late day sun.

85mm  f/1.2  1/800s  ISO 100
Pair of Black-Eyed Susans Pair of Black-Eyed Susans

A bright pair of Black-Eyed Susans positioned above/below each other are sharply contrasted against the black background. Lighting is from a Chimera Softbox.

180mm  f/22.0  1/250s  ISO 250
Crocus Picture Crocus Picture

A purple and white crocus forms a beautiful artistic shape.

180mm  f/16.0  1/200s  ISO 100
Purple Flower Picture Purple Flower Picture

A ring of bright yellow is surrounded by beautiful purple petals in on this flower.

180mm  f/19  1/200s  ISO 100
Black-Eyed Susan Flower Picture Black-Eyed Susan Flower Picture

300mm  f/5.6?  1/125?s  ISO 100
Iris 2 Iris 2

180mm  f/16  1/200s  ISO 100
Bee Close with the Canon RF 24mm F1.8 Macro IS STM Lens Bee Close with the Canon RF 24mm F1.8 Macro IS STM Lens

Adding close focusing capabilities to an otherwise useful focal length and max aperture combination adds versatility — and fun. The Canon RF 24mm F1.8 Macro IS STM Lens is one such lens.

Here, the RF 28 gets close to a honeybee, with a bright cloudy sky creating a high key background.

From a composition perspective, besides getting close, an overall balance was the goal for this (and most) images. The sunflower was itself worthy of being photographed, but the honeybee added another point of interest to the composition.

Bees will often work their way around the flower. Figure out their plan and make yours accordingly. While the bee was farther back on the flower, I positioned the lens for what seemed the optimal composition and timed the shot when the bee arrived.

24mm  f/1.8  1/400s  ISO 100
Pink Lily 2 Pink Lily 2

300mm  f/4.0  1/180s  ISO 100
Lady Slipper with Blurred Woods Background Lady Slipper with Blurred Woods Background

Lady Slippers are one of my favorite local plants, and this one's blooming cooincided with the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens Review.

The woods is full of photographic distractions, but getting in close with a wide aperture takes care of those problems. Aligning a tree behind the plant helped make it stand out.

30mm  f/2.8  1/20s  ISO 100
Tulip Picture Tulip Picture

The picture opportunities are endless when you have a subject as beautiful as the Yellow Tulip flower! This one is backlit by the sun.

100mm  f/4.5  1/350s  ISO 100
Clematis Flower Picture Clematis Flower Picture

300mm  f/5.6  1/180s  ISO 100
Water Droplets on Chrysanthemum Water Droplets on Chrysanthemum

I was shooting this Chrysanthemum early one morning. It was just wet enough that I wasn't completely satisfied with the results. So, using a small, empty eyeglass cleaner spray bottle, I applied a light mist of water to the mum until the image results were more exciting. This shot was taken handheld.

100mm  f/5.6  1/80s  ISO 200
Fall Crocus Fall Crocus

This naturally-lit fall crocus was captured handheld. For macro shots, a narrow aperture is needed to keep a significant portion of the subject in focus.

100mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 200
Daisy 2 Daisy 2

300mm  f/5.6  1/125s  ISO 100
Crocus 2 Crocus 2

180mm  f/22  1/200s  ISO 100
Black-Eyed Susan 5 Black-Eyed Susan 5

Black-Eyed Susans make great subjects - and the Chimera Super Pro Plus XXS Softbox delivers great soft light from a Canon Speedlite.

180mm  f/13.0  1/250s  ISO 250
Black-Eyed Susan 2 Black-Eyed Susan 2

A beautiful Black-Eyed Susan closeup picture.

300mm  f/5.6  1/180s  ISO 100
Lily Picture 6 Lily Picture 6

100mm  f/4.0  1/180s  ISO 100
Sunflower Picture Sunflower Picture

Moving in close and using a wide aperture is a technique that I love to use - creating a diffusely-blurred background. Just because your background is blurred does not mean that you can ignore what is in it. Here I attempted to place background sunflowers in composition-enhancing positions in the frame.
A circular polarizer filter was used to create the deeply-saturated colors - and to obtain a shutter speed within the cameras capabilites (by reducing some light).

35mm  f/1.4  1/4000s  ISO 100
Clematis 2 Clematis 2

100mm  f/11  1/200s  ISO 100
White and Yellow Tulip White and Yellow Tulip

100mm  f/4.0  1/180s  ISO 100
Softly-Lit Many-Petaled Purple Flower Softly-Lit Many-Petaled Purple Flower

Creating a soft, even light on a close subject such as this one is a challenge that is often best-met by a small softbox positioned just outside of the frame. Creating this light with an on-camera Speedlite is a challenge that is perhaps best-met with a Rogue FlashBender Softbox.
For this photo, a Canon 600EX-RT was mounted with its head in the forward position. In this position, the attached FlashBender Softbox protruded out over the end of the lens to provide a broad overhead light on the flower, creating nice soft lighting without harsh shadows.
From a compositional standpoint, I positioned the flower so that the lines of the petals would radiate into the picture from a point about 1/3 of the way into the frame from both the bottom and right. The purple color borders/frames the cream/white color.

100mm  f/11.0  1/60s  ISO 100
Coreopsis Sterntaler Flower Picture Coreopsis Sterntaler Flower Picture

The Coreopsis Sterntaler is a very brightly colored flower.

100mm  f/16  1/200s  ISO 100
Wildflower Picture Wildflower Picture

100mm  f/3.5  1/250s  ISO 100
Flower Petals Flower Petals

The soft lighting for this flower petal picture came from a large softbox. Manual focusing was used for this handheld (with IS) shot.

100mm  f/11.0  1/200s  ISO 100
Pink Flower Pink Flower

Shooting flowers almost feels like cheating. They are so beautiful that if you get the shot basics (lighting, composition, exposure and focus) right, the photo is always great. When shooting smooth colors at narrow apertures, sensor dust becomes very noticeable. Clean your sensor before shooting - and/or clone out the spots during post processing.
AI Servo focus mode and IS were used for this handheld shot. Lighting is from one studio strobe in a large softbox.

100mm  f/11.0  1/200s  ISO 100
Indian Hyacinths at Sunset Indian Hyacinths at Sunset

When creating this much background blur, it doesn't matter what the background really is - just the shape and colors of it.

200mm  f/2.8  1/80s  ISO 100
The RF 135 F1.8 Blurs the Background Away from a Poppy Flower The RF 135 F1.8 Blurs the Background Away from a Poppy Flower

Move in close with the Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens set to f/1.8, and watch the background melt away.

Flower photography does not jump to the front of my mind when thinking of uses for this lens, but this lens rocks the flower photos.

135mm  f/1.8  1/1600s  ISO 100
Columbine Picture Columbine Picture

100mm  f/4.0  1/180s  ISO 100
Pink Rose Picture Pink Rose Picture

100mm  f/2.8  1/180s  ISO 100
Tulip in a Vase Picture Tulip in a Vase Picture

It almost feels like cheating when photographing flowers. They are so beautiful that a great picture is easy to create.
To create the white background, the tulip and vase were placed on a white sweep (an Elinchrom Shooting Table in this case) and a strobe in a softbox was fired into it from behind the subject. The main subject was lit by a strobe in a large softbox positioned to camera right. Having this setup readily available means I can capture subjects such as this tulip with little time expenditure - which is extremely important to me.
This picture also shows that you do not need a macro lens to photograph flowers.

85mm  f/11.0  1/160s  ISO 100
Pink Flower 3 Pink Flower 3

Standing alone on a bed of greens, this beatiful pink flower invites picking!

100mm  f/4  1/200s  ISO 100
Daylily Picture Daylily Picture

100mm  f/4.5  1/180s  ISO 100
Flowering Crab Apple Tree Picture Flowering Crab Apple Tree Picture

Flowering trees are amazingly beautiful, but capturing a quality picture of just them (not them as part of a larger landscape) can be challenging. Isolating a small part of the tree and letting the rest of the tree become blurred is one option - at least when using this lens or one similar to it.

85mm  f/1.4  1/800s  ISO 100
Pink Wildflower Pink Wildflower

These pink wildflowers were found growing in the woods.

180mm  f/22  1/200s  ISO 100
Bleeding Hearts Picture Bleeding Hearts Picture

A row of Bleeding Hearts blooms line the curving stem of this plant. The even lighting is from a cloudy sky.

169mm  f/5.6  1/40s  ISO 100
Partially Opened Botanical Tulip Partially Opened Botanical Tulip

Botanical Tulips are amazingly beautiful. The biggest problem I have with them is that they immediate close when I cut them and bring them into my studio.
My studio strobes apparently cause them to open slightly - making them ideal macro subjects. Note the various color transitions within the flower petals. A macro ring flash tends to hide textures in subjects, but the variety of colors in this subject takes over the image.
To hold cut flowers in the studio (or anywhere else), I use a water tube commonly found on flowers purchased from a florist. I attach a flexible clamp to this tube for positioning.

65mm  f/14.0  1/200s  ISO 100
Yellow Daffodil Bud Picture Yellow Daffodil Bud Picture

A yellow daffodil is ready to burst into a beautiful flower. The close focus distance coupled with a 100mm focal length and an f/2 aperture results in a shallow DOF (Depth of Field) and a strongly blurred background.
I positioned the camera so that the flower and its stem form a smoothly curving line through the image. That line's intersection with the border occurs at the point of its strongest blur.

100mm  f/2.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Botanical Tulip Picture Botanical Tulip Picture

The Botanical Tulip is a great subject - except for the fact that it promptly closes tightly when cut and brought into the studio (even when immediate placed in a water tube). Upon shooting some images of the still-beautiful closed tulip, the studio strobes apparently caused it to open somewhat - exposing the amazing color inside.

100mm  f/13.0  1/160s  ISO 100
Getting Creative with the RF 135, Poppy Bud and Blurred Background Getting Creative with the RF 135, Poppy Bud and Blurred Background

The Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens's background blur capability opens up vast creative opportunities.

135mm  f/1.8  1/1000s  ISO 100
Red and Yellow Rose Picture Red and Yellow Rose Picture

In stark contrast to its black background, this Red and Yellow Rose is full of color.

180mm  f/16  1/3s  ISO 100
Creeping Phlox Picture Creeping Phlox Picture

What a beautiful ground cover Creeping Phlox is!

100mm  f/13  1/200s  ISO 100
Pink Coneflower with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Pink Coneflower with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

One of my favorite flowers bloomed while I was reviewing the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM Lens. I browsed the selection in the garden and clipped my favorite.

You have a Delta 1 Grip-It Single Arm with 1" Clamp in your kit, right? This flower's stem is clamped into the Delta Grip-It and the stand (with added adhesive rubber feet added) is positioned on a large rock in the shade with a distant, nicely-colored background. The dark green color is from trees and the brighter green color in the center of the frame is from grasses and weeds. Moving in to this lens's very short minimum focus distance, zooming to 200mm, and opening the aperture to f/5.6 (chosen over f/4 for slightly more depth of field) produced this attractive result.

200mm  f/5.6  1/60s  ISO 100
Blue Flower Picture 3 Blue Flower Picture 3

Growing from a bulb in the Spring, this blue flower forms and artistic arch and contrasts its black background.

180mm  f/22  1/180s  ISO 100
Pink Wildflower Picture Pink Wildflower Picture

A bud on this pink wildflower artistically hangs on its stem.

180mm  f/14  1/200s  ISO 100
Red Zinnia Picture Red Zinnia Picture

Red, green and blue - a Zinnia framed by the sky.

24mm  f/8  1/400s  ISO 100
Rain Drops on Pansy Rain Drops on Pansy

After the rain, rain drops create a beautiful pattern on this purple Pansy.

60mm  f/3.2  1/125s  ISO 400
Amaryllis Flower Picture Amaryllis Flower Picture

This beautiful red Amaryllis Flower was lit by a bracket-mounted flash.

150mm  f/11.0  1/250s  ISO 100
White Crocus Close-up Picture White Crocus Close-up Picture

This white Crocus is lit by a late-day sun. A wide open aperture was used to create a strongly-blurred foreground annd background.

150mm  f/2.8  1/320s  ISO 100
Pink Zinnia Picture Pink Zinnia Picture

A bright pink Zinnia flower from a close-up perspective.

150mm  f/6.3  1/125s  ISO 200
Botanical Tulip Close-up Botanical Tulip Close-up

When your lens can focus close enough to completely fill the frame with the subject, there is no longer a concern about what the background looks like. In this particular composition, I was attempting to make the lines of the tulip curve through the frame.

65mm  f/10.0  1/200s  ISO 100
Yellow Rose Super Close-up Yellow Rose Super Close-up

Give me a rose, the Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens and a flash and I can get lost for hours. At this super-close focus distance, the DOF (Depth of Field) becomes extremely shallow. I chose to keep the edge of a petal in focus and to allow the rest of the rose to smoothly blur into transitions of color.
At this focus distance, even a macro flash results in some shading. Here, I used this shading to my advantage.

65mm  f/10.0  1/200s  ISO 100
Tulip Stamen Picture Tulip Stamen Picture

A lens having up to 5x magnification available takes you into another world of compositions. Here, I cut part of a tulip flower away to gain a perspective seldom seen. A macro flash makes lighting in tight spots easy.
EXIF information does not tell me what magnification was specifically used for this shot, but 3x is my guess.

65mm  f/11.0  1/160s  ISO 100
Tulip Underside Picture Tulip Underside Picture

When working with your subjects, do not leave any perspective untried. The back of flowers is often very beautiful - as is the case with this tulip.
One of the huge advantages for shooting flowers in the studio or indoors in general is the lack of wind. Wind can be the cause of poor framing, inaccurate focusing and motion blur.

180mm  f/11.0  1/160s  ISO 100
Spider on a Helleborus Spider on a Helleborus

I was shooting this Helleborus flower in my studio when the spider climbed out of its hiding spot and raced across the leaf. I immediately went into action-photography mode and timed the shutter to include the spider in a balanced composition.

100mm  f/16.0  1/160s  ISO 100
Focus-Stacked Christmas Cactus Image Focus-Stacked Christmas Cactus Image

The Christmas cactus that spends most of the year looking rather mundane, essentially green foliage in a pot, finally opened a single bloom. These blooms last only a couple of days, they are irresistibly-beautiful, and I decided that testing the Canon EOS RP's focus stacking feature was a good excuse to photograph this one.

The details of this image, including 100% crops, are now included on the Canon Focus Bracketing page.

Basically, the RP and DPP make creating a high-quality focus stacked image really simple.

100mm  f/11.0  0.5s  ISO 100
Telephoto Purple Iris Image Telephoto Purple Iris Image

Sports and other action get most of the wide aperture telephoto lens attention, but flowers are also great subjects for these lenses. With the narrow angle of view, a telephoto lenses does not need an expansive attractive background. And with a wide aperture creating a shallow depth of field, that background just needs good color and reasonable texture.

300mm  f/2.8  1/1250s  ISO 100
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