Home Photography Ideas: Full Frame Flower Photos with a Zoom Lens

Watch Video: Home Photography Ideas – Flowers that fill the frame with zoom

When shooting close-up flowers, you usually reach for a macro lens. In this project, however, we’ll show that sometimes all you need is a zoom lens, which will allow you to focus close enough for frame-filling shots of flowers.

A zoom is great for other images of your garden, as we demonstrate in our project on using long lenses for flower shots, but here we’re specifically looking for great close-ups that fill your frame. .

We’re using the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens at its telephoto end, and mounted it on a Canon EOS 7D. So with the camera’s 1.6x APS-C crop factor, the 105mm focal length becomes an effective focal length of almost 170mm. The longer the focal length, the more the flower will pop in your frame – and combined with the wide f/5.6 aperture we used, creates a shallower depth of field to blur the background and bring out the image even more. flower.

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Before (left) and after using this technique!

We headed out to the garden before breakfast to take advantage of the low, soft morning light. We shot in light, although backlit shots are best for more interesting, artistic and evocative flower shots.

Find a colorful flower in full bloom to focus on – a single flower provides a brighter focal point – and position yourself so the flower has a dark, clean background to contrast its colors. We also used a reflector, to subtly fill in the shadows.

Finally, compose your shot according to your subject – for this tall flower, a vertical composition worked best, but for a large sunflower head, you might prefer to use a horizontal composition to fill the frame. Here’s how to approach the plan step by step…

01 Go to telephoto

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At 24mm there is too much background clutter…

At 24mm there is too much background clutter…
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… but at 105mm we have a well isolated subject

… but at 105mm we have a well isolated subject

Avoid wide-angle focal lengths, as you’ll fill the frame with a distracting background; instead, zoom in to isolate the plant and blur the background. If you’re using a crop sensor system, like Micro Four Thirds or APS-C, the crop factor will come into its own because it multiplies your focal length.

02 Grand Opening

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At f/22, we don't have much separation between subjects...

At f/22, we don’t have much separation between subjects…
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…but at f/5.6 we have a shallow depth of field while maintaining sharpness

…but at f/5.6 we have a shallow depth of field while maintaining sharpness

We shot in aperture priority at f/5.6, which produces a shallow depth of field but has enough of a sharp image that the majority of the flower head is in focus. Combined with a longer focal length, this creates background blur so your flowers stand out proudly from their surroundings.

03 Using Tripods and Live View

It is good practice to use a tripod. For close-ups of flowers, it not only keeps your camera steady for sharper images, it also helps you compose with more precision, especially when using Live View, for easier focus accuracy. and better. Expand the view to zoom in and make sure you’re sharp where you want to be!

Best tripods

04 Backlight is best

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Our subject, sunny…

Our subject, sunny…
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… then backlit

… then backlit

Take photos in the morning sun to backlight the flower head and bring it to life, and use a sunshade to reduce stray light. You can also try shooting with your back to the sun for a more traditional flower shot. Which do you prefer?

5 ways to improve your close-ups

01 Beat the wind

Wind can ruin your close-up photos, as blown flowers can cause unwanted blur. We used the Kids Dinosaur Clip, which held the flower steady while we captured motion blur-free photos.

02 Use a reflector

The reflected light illuminates the flowers! As the flower got lighter with the reflected light, our exposure went from 1/160s to 1/250s, which gave a darker background to help it stand out even more .

Photo tip: make your own reflector out of aluminum foil and cardboard!

03 Clean backgrounds

The key to great close-up flower photos is making sure there’s a good distance between the subject and the background, and avoiding messy distractions. Position yourself so that the background contrasts and complements each other.

04 Sharper Shots

Narrow apertures not only create too much depth of field for close-ups, but also lead to slower shutter speeds and potentially blurrier shots. Use a wider aperture and increase the ISO sensitivity to 400 or 800 for faster shutter speeds.

05 Three is not the crowd

Get creative with your focus, using shallow depth of field as a friend. And instead of just one flower, try composing photos with three flowers – but not two. Odd numbers generally work best for a more balanced composition.

Read more:

Best telephoto lens in 2020: the best zooms for your camera
The best reflectors for photography in 2020: control your lighting with ease!
The best macro lenses in 2020: Get closer to your subjects like never before!

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