Shooting Flowers with Your Kit Lens

The Joy of Flower Photography

Most often than not having shot a great many ‘excellent’ photos on your nature walks, you come home content, that you have some good exposures to share. Maybe even a few that you could hope to sell. But it turns out that they have not been that ‘excellent’ as you had hoped they would be. The compositions have been, at the best, only average. What really happened? Why did the images turn out the way they did?

This may just be a hindsight, but nevertheless, this would prepare you for the next time you head out to the woods.

Shoot on an Overcast Day

Flower Photography with Your Kit Lens
photo credit: Rajib Mukherjee Copyright Reserved

Harsh light is not your friend when it comes to flower photography. You cannot hope to capture great contrasts and beautiful patterns, which are the hallmarks of good flower photography if you shoot under the harsh light of a bright sunny day.

If you read the first pointer, you would be quickly looking at your photos, reminiscing whether they were shot on an overcast day, and then realizing most of them were shot on bright sunny days and with the sun beating down. The result is completing washed out patterns and contrasts.

Check the White Balance

Flower Photography with Your Kit Lens
photo credit: Rajib Mukherjee Copyright Reserved

Most often than not you have the white balance set to auto. It is a good way to guess what should be the ideal white balance setting for a given lighting condition. It is, however, not the ideal way to go. You must at least use the correct white balance preset that your DSLR comes with. If you are shooting on an overcast day set the white balance to cloudy. If you are shooting in the shade set it to shade and so on.

If you have an 18% gray card, by all means, carry it with you at all times. Shoot a picture of the gray card before shooting the flowers. Make sure that you fill the frame when taking the picture. This should be set as the white balance when you start post-processing the pictures later on your computer.

Rule of Thirds

Flower Photography with Your Kit Lens
photo credit: Rajib Mukherjee Copyright Reserved

Sometimes it is good to break the rules of photography. At other times it is a great idea to follow them. The rule of thirds is a very popular rule in photography. It can be used quite effectively in flower photography.

Bokeh

Flower Photography with Your Kit Lens
photo credit: Rajib Mukherjee Copyright Reserved

Use a faster lens if you want to capture great Bokeh. Else you can shoot from a distance (ensure there is a considerable gap between the flower and the background as well) and use the fastest aperture that your lens can do. The above picture was shot with a 18-105mm kit lens with reasonable bokeh. With faster lenses, you can completely blur out the background.

Get Down to the Level of your Subjects

Flower Photography with Your Kit Lens
photo credit: Rajib Mukherjee Copyright Reserved

Get down and get your pants dirty. Some of the most beautiful flowers can only be shot when you are prepared to shoot from a very low angle. These small flowers growing in the grass have been shot by almost lying down on the ground and holding the camera in hand.

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