March 5th, 2016 by Brendan Wiltse

Five Wildflower Photography Tips

1. Use A Tripod

This is a central tenant of most photography, unless you need to react or move quickly. Fortunately, flowers don't move too much so it makes perfect sense to use a tripod. Stabilizing your camera will lead to sharper images, the same holds true for landscape photography. If you want to get a little more serious about your wildflower photography you might consider a horizontal extension arm. Manfrotto makes some very nice tripods with horizontal extension arms built in. 

2. Shoot At A Fast Shutter Speed

Flowers aren't going to run away on you but that doesn't mean they aren't going to move. The slightest breeze will often make a flower move. The lighter or smaller the plant the more prone it will be to swaying around. To combat this you will want to use a fast shutter speed. 1/200th of a second is a good start, but you will want to adjust your shutter speed based on the amount of plant movement. 

3. Shoot On The Same Plane As The Flower

When shooting flowers you often have a very shallow depth of field, making it difficult to get the entire flower in focus. If you shoot the flower straight on you will maximize the use of that narrow depth of field and put more of the flower in the in-focus area. If you want to get more creative and shoot at off angles, like the photo below, you will need to use a technique called focus stacking. 

4. Shoot On Cloudy Days

Harsh light can cast unwanted shadows across a flower. The best way to combat this is to shoot on overcast or cloudy days. Don't count out the days with light rain either. Water droplets on a flower can create a beautiful effect and make the image more dynamic. If you want to cheat, you can always spritz the flower, but don't overdo it. 

5. Use A Telephoto Or Macro Lens

Traditionally, you want to use a longer telephoto or macro specific lens when shooting wildflowers. This will allow you to fill the frame with the flower and maintain focus. You can also take beautiful wildflower shots with a wide-angle lens. Many of these lenses have short focusing distances and will allow you to capture not only the flower but also its surrounding environment. 

Alpine Goldenrod on Wright Peak

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