How to photograph Wildflowers (Top Tips) | Flower Photography

Hello, in today’s video I’ll be giving
you some great top tips on How to photograph wildflowers. So for my first
tip, which is more of a rule really, is never pick wildflowers. Now this is
extremely important because as soon as you pick them they’ll start to die and
even in a vase at home they’re only going to last a few hours, maybe a few
days but if you leave them on the plant they’ll live a lot longer and they’ll
set seed and they’ll be able to reproduce and it will give all the
wildlife and things like that a chance and also the beauty isn’t there just for
you it’s so everyone else can see as well. It’s really good to get right down
and change your perspective when photographing wildflowers. We generally
see them when we’re standing up so about five or six foot off the ground but if
you get really low down and get it from the same point of view as the flower
itself you get some amazing viewpoints and you can get some detail in there and
different angles that you wouldn’t see normally to your eye and it would look a
lot better and that should give you a different photograph than ones you would
normally think of. However, there is one word of caution when you’re getting down
low to these plants be very careful because one, you don’t want a kneel on
them and kill them and two, you don’t want to kneel in any dog poo either. I
found these really beautiful little flowers down here they look and smell
like wild garlic but they’re slightly different so normally while garlic is
more of a umbrellifer type shape and it, it just spreads out where these are
generally quite singular flowers so I’m not entirely sure what they are but they
do smell like garlic so it might be part of the Allium family some
somewhere along the line, but these these flowers are really beautiful. I’ve found
a lovely one down here and it’s quite a graphical image because it’s the stem
goes up and then it just shoots off at to quite strong angles so I’ve got that
as close as I can to the plane of the film to get as much of it in focus
and then I’ve got shallow depth of field to try and blur out the background and
then I think that should look really stunning. As beautiful as flowers are, a
photograph will really be enhanced by adding something extra like an insect or
something like that I’ve found probably one of the most annoying weeds or wild
flowers I should say in the UK which is a dandelion it can be quite pretty
it’s very bright yellow and you get masses of them in fields and things and
then you get lovely seed heads after the flowers die but they just seem to
get everywhere so if you own a garden you’ll know that these are right pain.
But I’ve just come across this one so as you can see I’m right in close with a 70
to 300 lens I’ve got two extension tubes and I’m zooming right in I’m probably
about 5 inches maybe 6 inches away from this plant but what spectacular about
this is this tiny little bee that’s sitting on one of the petals it’s
holding on is just the petals drop down and it just seems to be hanging on to
this little petal it looks beautiful it’s so tiny the actual bee itself is
probably that sort of size so it’s really difficult to get the depth of
field every time I’m trying to to get it close to it and focus just tapping the
focus ring blows it right out of focus so automatic is completely out so I’ll
just do manual focus and each turn if I could just tap it it will go through the
whole width of this bee but it looks so brilliant I’ve taken a number of
different photos change these the focus slightly on each time and then hopefully
I’ve got one that’s in focus so for the sharp-eyed people you might
have noticed in that last clip I had a little bug that landed on my head and
took a big chunk bite out the top of my head and that really hurt it was they’re
probably still there now and that’s a week ago so I have said it before and
I’ll say it again wildflower photography can be extremely
dangerous so when out photographing wildflowers
always take precautions and remember that safety is very important. So for my
next photograph I’ve found this lovely clump of white flowers next to me and
what I want to do is try and get it really close and get a picture of one
flower which is perfectly in focus and then all the other flowers and foliage
behind it really blurred. So down here we’ve got some lovely little Greater Stitchwort and just here is this beautiful little spider so I focus right in on
this little spider and because the depth of field is very narrow it’s put the
petals out of focus so the one at the front hopefully will be in focus enough
so you can see the stamen and things in there but the other one behind it where
the behind actual spider will be really blurred so that will really help to make
the spider stand out against these petals when photographing flowers it isn’t
always the best time to photograph them in flower now dandelions aren’t my
favorite flower and I must admit they’re not very pretty
however if you photograph them a later time or find some that have seed heads
on them they look a lot more spectacular and I find the seed heads of the
dandelion look far more beautiful than the actual flowers. So if you can get up
early enough to catch some dew on the flowers you get these little droplets
which can look at absolutely spectacular however if you are a bit too late, like
today, it’s in the middle of the day I’ve just bought a little misting bottle and
just filled it full of water and then just spray the flowers with a couple of
sprays and then you get some tiny little water droplets and that will help to
make the flower even more interesting. So when using a macro lens you’re very
close to the subject and everything is magnified to a great deal so any slight
movement or breeze that knocks the flower will just completely blur the
image. One thing that I found essential for photographing wildflowers is this
little windbreak I’ve made and this is just four pieces of perspex stuck
together with some duct tape so you’ve got three sides and the roof and what
that does that creates a really bright environment to photograph the flowers in
and the front is open and it lets all the light in but it stops the wind so I
think this is probably the most useful thing that I’ve used for photographing
wildflowers. I’ve made another video on how I made this perspex windbreak and
I’ll put a link to that above so you can see how I’ve made it in case you want to
make one of your own. One thing that I find extremely important when
photographing wildflowers is the type of lens you use now in this case this is a
telephoto lens which is 70 to 300 but unfortunately this isn’t very good for
photographing wildflowers and that is because the minimum focusing distance of
this lens is probably one and a half two meters something like that so you have
to go so far away from the flower that the flower itself will be miniscule so
what you need is a macro lens the macro lens is essentially very similar to a
telephoto lens however the point of focus is a lot closer to the lens than
with a normal telephoto so what that allows you to do is get up extremely
close to a flower so a few inches away from that flower so you can get it
really big enough in the frame one of the disadvantages of a macro lens is
this is only really useful for photographing things that are close up
if you want to photograph a landscape or something a long way away the depth of
field is so small because of the way the focus is created on it so I don’t
find them very practical to most of the time but the second point and most
important for me is that they are expensive and the amount of use that I
would get out of it is very minimal so it’s not something I actually own so
instead of having a macro lens what I use are extension tubes and what you do
with these is you place these between the camera body and the lens and in this
case we’ve got three different ones and these just come apart so you can stack
them up and have them as many as you like so the more you have of these the
further it pushes the lens away from the sensor so the closer that the lens will
focus but the depth of field will get dramatically short so what I’ll do is
just usually a couple of these is good enough so just take off your lens pop it
on and then pop that back on and that distance there just pushes your lens
away from the sensor and you can get really close in on your subjects at a
fraction of the price. When you’ve got these stacked up your depth of field is
probably a millimeter if you’re lucky if you’re really close up to that subject
so what I’ll do is I’ll just on the back of the camera just click on the
magnifying glass a couple of times and then so it’s zoomed in on that your
subjects and then just slowly turn the the ring manually and then focus on the
exact bit that you want to focus on. Even if you have a smartphone such as this
this has a lovely camera on it you can get it really close with these because
the way the the lens is and everything’s built into the phone you can get really
close to your subject and if that’s not even close enough you can buy these
little lenses here and this is a little macro lens that you just clip onto the
back of the the phone and that will enable you to get even closer again
to your subject so don’t worry about the cost is not overly expensive to do macro
photography I think this thing cost me one pound eighty something like that
phones a bit more expensive but I didn’t buy it for that reason I already had the
phone so if you’ve got a camera on your phone
then just get a little macro lens like this from ebay or somewhere like that
which is really cheap and that will make all the difference. One channel I can
really recommend on YouTube is Liesl huddleston and what she does she’s got
a smartphone and one of these and she takes absolutely amazing photographs of
flowers and all things really close at macro photographs and her videos are
stunning so I’ll put a link to her at the end and I do urge you to watch those
because those are amazing. I found one of our most delicate flowers and this is a
forget-me-not and these are probably some of the most or some of the smallest
flowers that we have and to put into perspective I’ll show you it against my
thumb even with having a windbreak around them the slightest breeze makes them
move. They are so tiny and fragile. We’ve got a 300 got a 300mm lens with three stacked extension tube so I can get
very close to these flowers here and I’m so close the depth of field is almost
well pretty much non-existent so I’ve been using f-16 to try and really get
some depth of field between the top and the bottom of those so it’s been
extremely difficult to get it all in focus but looking at the image on the
back of the camera that looks really stunning.
They are so perfect these little flowers. So my next tip is that when you are out
photographing wildflowers don’t miss any opportunities
this isn’t wild this is been planted by the farmer but this is rape and this is
used for well the seed oil is used to make vegetable oil and this has become
quite a popular site now in the UK over the last decade or two it’s been quite
controversial some people like it some people don’t
but it’s got this really pungent smell and it’s got this unnatural color but
there’s so many opportunities for taking photographs here one good tip is just to
get a long lens zoom in on a flower a distance away and try and capture all
this beautiful yellow in the background and try and blur it all out so you just
have one flower in focus and just a mass of yellow around it. How beautiful
is that? For my next tip I’ll be talking about
sunlight and what you’ll get is different opinions on whether you should
have sunlight directly on the flower when taking close up at macro photographs.
Now from a personal point of view I generally tend not to have the Sun in
the photograph and what this does is when the Sun is hitting something so our
photograph from these lovely fronds here and these are Bracken fronds and they’ll
like un-swirl as they grow and they’ve got a lovely pattern in them but earlier the
sunlight was directly on them so the top of these, I don’t know, the brown kind of
stuff, if they’re flaking up as soon as if Sun was hitting that it was just
blowing out the highlights so to stop that happening I have to really reduce
the exposure and then you get some highlights and blocked up everything
else will be really dark so there’s too much contrast to really get a nice
photograph so what I did instead was to get this this umbrella which is one that
I purchased for a studio light and this was about 1 pound 50 so it’s really
cheap so what I’ll do is to hold that over the flowers just to in front of the
Sun so that creates a really nice big soft box so you get really soft light
down on the actual flowers themselves and that way you don’t get a massive
contrast so you can get pick up some really beautiful detail and some really
vibrant colors in that photograph. That being said sometimes when you’re
photographing flowers a little bit of sunlight on it as well creating some rim
lights or catch lights on the actual flower could look spectacular so it does pay to
experiment with the photograph you’re taking at that time. Another useful tip
that I have is to get a field guide for the flowers in your area or nationally I
just go for quite simple beginners guide and that is ideal for picking out the
type of flowers that you want to photograph now it’s useful for telling
that these aren’t Daffodils but also it will tell you when particular flowers
are going to be in flower and where they are located around your area so you can
always go and look for them if you haven’t seen them before or you want a
specific flower that you want to photograph. Thank you so much for
watching, I really do hope you’ve enjoyed this video if you have please get a
thumbs up and leave me a comment and I’ll see you next time thank you

33 Replies to “How to photograph Wildflowers (Top Tips) | Flower Photography”

  1. Hello Friends, I really hope you enjoy my video on photographing wildflowers. Thank you so much for watching.

  2. Hi John. Great vid. I have been thinking about photographing the wild flowers this year so thanks very much for the fantastic tips. I will definitely be having a go at making one of your perspex wind breaks, what a brilliant idea. Love the rapeseed image. Seeing you with all your wild flower armor on made me laugh out loud. I didn't realise photographing flowers was so dangerous 😀 great stuff 👍

  3. Great video, John! So peaceful there, I kept rewatching parts of the video staring at everything in the background and wishing I was there, the scenery and buildings are so charming – very different than here. Thank you for the awesome shoutout, so kind of you. I loved all of the photos and tips, especially the one at 16:28, incredible! I'd love to get similar wildflower armor, but it's too hot here for that kind of gear, I'll just have to keep suffering the dangers haha! That was so funny, I showed my kids, they had a good laugh too.

  4. Flowers are my go to photographic subject….thumbs up for the info i ll keep it in mind for my channel 👍👍

  5. Not so good advice on the macro lens being only for close uos. For instance the canon f2.8 is known as a great portrait lens.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyable vlog John, thank you. Some lovely images and really useful tips. Not too sure about your ‘protective gear’ though! Lol. Atb

  7. Your growing mate. I have just done a bluebell video out this Sunday a two part video. Macro work is cool. Will have to meet up again over summer

  8. What a lovely video, full of information which we can easily follow with many tips, your videos are always first class, always look forward to watching, and this was something different from your usual format, look forward to more, Regards.

  9. Another tip or two: Take an establishing shot along with closeups. That helps with identification later. I sometimes get back home with a closeup of flower parts and can't identify the actual flower. For maximizing insect opportunity, going out early in the morning when it is cooler and damper helps a lot. Insects are less active and will stay still long enough to get good shots. I shoot primarily handheld and shoot bursts while slowly moving my body in and out to focus on the insect. These can later be focus stacked if the insect didn't move to increase the area in focus. Lastly, a good light helps a lot with maximizing DOF. LED banks are cheap and are great to allow use of Fstops from F16-22 or so for insects.

  10. Hi john have just come across your utube video verry good I have a tamron macro 90mm lens but struggle with
    looking at thw way you do is good. I also have a canon 70.200 2.8 very good would that that work okay keep up
    the good work.

  11. Nice video John! To be honest flower photography is something I've never ever tried but you've certainly opened my eyes somewhat to the potential. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Really enjoyed your video. It's amazing how many wonderful things there are when you get up CLOSE!

  13. Great video – thank you! I've just started photographing wild flowers with my Olympus EM10 MkII, some extension tubes and a 40-150mm lens. It's handy cos the kit is quite small.

  14. Hi, the windbreak is an inspired idea – which can be expanded upon. I would have a frosted piece of perspex with me as a diffusor to use instead of or on top of the lid…

  15. Excellent video!! About fell off the chair when I saw your Protection Gear and face net!!!!! Hahahahaha

  16. Right, John. I'm going to watch the rest of the video in a minute when I've just said what I need to say, because I'm sure it's very good. However I've just reached 'Tip No.2' and there is already a problem here. Allow me to explain. You (rightly) suggest that getting down on the ground at the same eye level as the flower is a brilliant way to photograph them. However, I'm disabled, and cannot do this. Basically if I were to do this, I would never get back up again! LOL. Can you suggest a way of getting on the same level as the flower, without actually getting down on the ground, as myself, and I'm sure many others, would find this very hard, if not impossible to do. Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not having a go at you. But thinking 'outside the box' is something I've become somewhat of an expert in.

  17. If you pick and put in a glass of water and wite until getting good shape put in place with a good background you can get a very good photo. See flickr:

  18. 10:00 rubbish.

    I do in fact use most of my macro lenses for landscapes and the occasional portrait.

    Macro lenses have one special ability, the ability to focus close the the sensor. That's it. They can focus at any further distance out to infinity and are absolutely fine for landscape photography.

    If you use extension tubes, then you lost the ability to focus at any decent distance.

    The one exception is Canon's MP-E 65 which has no ability to focus at all. You chose your magnification (one to five), place the camera into position, and <click>. Ask google how to photograph peacock spiders (and jumping spiders).

    It's nothing about the technique, but those are not wildflowers. They are domestic plants gone wild, and would not be accepted into any respectable wildflower or nature competition.

  19. Thank you for the first tip! So many people need to hear this, especially with social media causing more and more people to lay on top of wildflowers for selfies.

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