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

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.


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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Another fantastic flower photography resource from the author.


Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 04, 2013:

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

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CZCZCZ, that's great. :)

CZCZCZ from Oregon on February 04, 2013:

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.

viewfinders from India on February 04, 2013:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 29, 2012:

Thanks so much!

Darrylmdavis from Brussels, Belgium on August 29, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 28, 2012:

Thanks so much, Pavlo!

Pavlo Badovskyi from Kyiv, Ukraine on August 28, 2012:

Well written and informative! Voted up!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 28, 2012:

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!

Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on August 28, 2012:

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!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 28, 2012:

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.

Natasha from Hawaii on August 28, 2012:

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.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on August 28, 2012:

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.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 12, 2012:

Thanks much, Bill!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 12, 2012:

Well done Rose! Great pictures and suggestions!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 11, 2012:

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!

Leah Lefler from Western New York on July 11, 2012:

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!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 08, 2012:

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.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on July 08, 2012:

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.

Angelo52 on July 08, 2012:

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.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on July 08, 2012:

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!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 08, 2012:

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.

Tim Nichol from Me to You on July 07, 2012:

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.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 07, 2012:

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

Om Paramapoonya on July 07, 2012:

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 :)

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 07, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 07, 2012:

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.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on July 07, 2012:

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!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on July 07, 2012:

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!

kikalina from Europe on July 07, 2012:

Those are really great photos.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on July 07, 2012:

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.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 06, 2012:

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!

storybeader on July 06, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 06, 2012:

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.

kelleyward on July 06, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 06, 2012:

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.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on July 06, 2012:

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!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 06, 2012:

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!

photostudiosupply from Rochester, New York on July 06, 2012:

Very interesting hub with helpful tips & beautiful photographs.

Susette Horspool from Pasadena CA on July 05, 2012:

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.

royaneek from kolkata,west bengal on July 05, 2012:

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

SweetbeariesArt from California on July 05, 2012:

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

Mel Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on July 05, 2012:

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!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 05, 2012:

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!

DragonBallSuper on July 05, 2012:

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.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 05, 2012:

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). :)

Kristi Sharp from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

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

RTalloni on July 05, 2012:

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.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 05, 2012:

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!

Sethughes on July 05, 2012:

Extraordinarily helpful and beautiful hub.

Thank you!

CassyLu1981 from Wilmington, NC on July 05, 2012:

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!!!

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