Make flowers great again – a photographic tutorial on flowers

 When you hear the word “flower,” what comes to mind?

As a male, I think of the Women’s Association, the church fete, and Mrs. Agnes Smithington who arranges flowers for weddings and funerals. I think of my aging mother, who hates lilies because they remind her of death. That’s my preconditioning.

I grew up in a little town in the Midlands of Zimbabwe. In that town, men were “real” men and women, well, they were found in the kitchen arranging flowers.

Many people think of flowers in that kind of way. They are the pretty objects you pick when you are out in the fields. And that’s all really, they are not powerful, they are temporary and fragile, seasonal symbols to be owned by the picking. That’s how many photographers see flowers.

I have seen this with some of my colleagues. Take an image of a landscape and you become famous overnight; take a picture of a flower and you probably need to “man-up and get with the programme”. If you’re a woman, taking photos of flowers is just silly.

This is absolute nonsense, of course.

To understand this, you should draw back a little and see this planet for what it is. Life is a miracle beyond our understanding. Nature is brimming with beauty, the grasses, the trees, insects and of course, flowers.

Flowers are nature’s crown and glory.

Tips when photographing flowers:

  • Wind is your enemy – bump up the ISO and this will enable your shutter to speed up and freeze the image
  • If you haven’t got a macro lens, use a long focal length
  • Wait for the right light even if it takes all day
  • Use a diffuser if the light is too harsh
  • Say thank you to the plants you photograph.

If you leave a pleasant or constructive comment below, I will send you a FREE booklet on “Photographing Nature.” I would also need your email address for that. This will not be used for spam. 

My very best wishes


ISO 2500 88mm f/9,0 1/400 sec
Yes I know, the ISO on this was far too high and taking out the resultant noise meant a softening of the overall effect. It worked here though, because of the large expanses of the white petal.

ISO 1600 400mm f/5,6 1/500 sec
This image of a strelitzia was taken at a focal length of 400mm. I wanted the minimalism to accentuate the amazing structure of the plant.

ISO 1600 400mm f/5,6 1/640 sec
In order to contain the group of flowers that were sharpest, I applied a heavy vignette. This, in turn, brought out the bluey-greens on the edges

ISO 800 105mm f/5,6 1/400 sec
I wanted to isolate a flower from the others. To achieve that, I set one focus point, focused on the flower, locked the focus, and recomposed

ISO 1000 330mm f/5,6 1/500 sec
You can probably tell that Strelitzias are my favourite flower. The structures never cease to amaze me.

ISO 400 400mm f/5,6 1/800 sec
Whenever I see a bee these days, I am overcome with joy. Bees are on the endangered list and it’s time for us to wake up to the fact

ISO 250 105mm f/4,5 1/200 sec
This is a Protea Pincushion. Don’t you love the name?

ISO 250 105mm f/4,5 1/200 sec
Another Strelitzia. What is it about this plant that I love so much?


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