Shooting Clean Flower Backgrounds

September 5th, 2010 by Mike Moats

If you’ve ever studied some of the better macro images out there, you’ll see those nice clean solid color backgrounds that allow a subject to stand out, with no distractions to pull your eye away.  This presentation just doesn’t happen by accident, it’s carefully planned, and not all that hard to do.  Most people that sign up for my Macro Boot Camps tend to be flower shooters, so we'll use flowers as our subject matter for this post.

In the image below you see a nice patch of Dame’s Rocket flowers.  When approaching a patch like this, I see so many photographers that head right to the middle of the patch to find a flower to shoot.  With all the congestion of flowers, stems, leaves, this approach will only lead to a distracting background and make it impossible to get that clean shot.

For a clean shot, you'll need to concentrate your attention to the flowers at the perimeter of the patch. By finding those isolated flowers at the edges, and shooting at an angle where the background is the farthest away, you'll be able to get those nice solid color backgrounds.

In the image below you see the small cluster of flowers on the far right. That,s what you should be looking for–an isolated group that will allow you to shoot without all the distractions behind it.

Find an angle where your background is the farthest away, as this will make it easier for the camera to blur the background.   Use a smaller f/stop in the f3.5 to f/8 range to center your depth of field and to help soften the background into a solid color.

Here is the small cluster that we identified in the previous image.  This image was shot using the Tamron 90mm at f5/6.  

If you can’t find that perfect flower at the edges and have to shoot into the clutter, go tight to eliminate the clutter!


You can visit Mike's blog and learn about his workshops here:  Tiny Landscapes

Mike's eBooks are available in the OPG store here:  Mike Moats



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2 Responses to “Shooting Clean Flower Backgrounds”

  1. Brian Carey says:

    Good advice!

  2. Mike Moats says:

    Thanks Brian

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