Nature Macro Photography: Capturing Blooms

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If you’re shooting all your images of flowers at maximum depth of field to fill the frame with blooms, you may be missing out on some gorgeous imagery. In this session, you’ll see how nature macro photography, using a macro lens at maximum closeness and maximum aperture, can turn a tiny focal point into the focus of your photo while making everything else a gorgeous backdrop.

If you’ve always wanted to capture gorgeous images that pinpoint one tiny subject while allowing the rest of the shot to provide a rich, out-of-focus backdrop, you’re in luck. Photographer Layne Kennedy takes aim at a single bud on a single floral branch of an eastern redbud with his macro lens. This small, colorful tree boasts delicate purplish flowers that Layne uses to illustrate how to capture blooms with nature macro photography.

Macro Photography Avoids Visual Chaos

Many amateur photographers make the mistake of always shooting for maximum focus, but that can create an unappealing visual chaos in which no real focal point exists and nothing stands out. Instead, for this shot, Layne uses a macro lens to isolate the subject and turn the chaos into a rich background of soft colors.

Using a macro lens and coming in to maximum closeness on his bloom, which is smaller than a dime, Layne gets the same effect as a telephoto lens, except with a very shallow depth of field. He illustrates how important depth of field is in nature macro photography by using a tripod and a cable release so he doesn’t have to touch the camera and can get a good, clean, crisp shot.

Layne shows two images to explain the difference between shooting at maximum depth of field, dialing the aperture way down for one shot, and shooting wide open at the maximum aperture for the nature macro photography shot. The results are a pretty, but unspectacular grouping of flowers versus a tiny beautiful bud that pops out in stunning fashion amid a beautiful backdrop of color.

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