If you want to get the best flower photos possible you need the right flower photography equipment. This is all well and good, but what is the best flower photography equipment? What do you actually need to capture stunning flower photos? Check out below and see for yourself……..
Flower photography equipment – Camera
Arguably you can use any camera for flower photography, however I would only use an interchangeable lens camera. Personally, I would use a dslr as there is a particular lens I like to use for taking photos of flowers, and this lens doesn’t fit my Sony A7 inter changeable lens mirror less camera.
The dlsr camera I use for flower photography is the Canon 6d (rather than the Canon 7d I own – which I use for photographing other subjects) because it is small and light (i.e. the perfect size for the tripod I use) and the full frame sensor ensures the highest quality flower photos. You don’t need a fast camera, i.e. on with quick auto focus, for flower photography and the Canon 6d’s processor (which many argue is slow – and I can’t argue against this) is plenty fast enough for this type of photography.
Flower photography equipment – Lens
Many photographers would argue there is only one lens you need for flower photography, and that is a macro lens. I agree a macro lens is a great lens for flower photography, however there are times when a macro lens is not suitable for flower photography.
If the flower is in perfect condition, i.e. the petals are colourful and fully intact, a macro lens is ideal for flower photography. If the flower is in less than perfect condition (there are brown/dead spots, there is evidence an insect or two has had a munch on it, parts of the petals are ripped etc.) a macro lens is not suitable. Macro lenses record levels of detail you can’t see with the naked eye, and a macro lens would pick up every single blemish and imperfection, which is not good. Where the flowers are less than perfect you need an alternative to a macro lens, and a fast wide angle prime is just the ticket.
When I use a macro lens for flower photography I use the Canon 60mm f2.8 macro lens. This lens is small, light, has excellent image quality and is also cheap. The build quality isn’t at the same standard as an L series lens, but it is tough and durable, and will provide years of trouble free service. The Canon 60mm f2.8 macro lens is a great lens for flower photography (when the flowers are in perfect condition of course) and is the only lens I use in this situation.
When the flowers are less than perfect I leave the 60mm macro lens alone and use a Canon 35mm f2 IS lens instead. This lens is not as sharp as a macro lens but it is plenty sharp enough – besides, there are times when a slightly softer lens is best. This 35mm prime lens is small, light and allows you to get in nice and close for some quality flower photos. The Canon 35mm f2 IS lens is a cracking lens, that I think is underrated by many photographers, and I struggle to see why.
Flower photography equipment – Tripod
A tripod is an essential bit of flower photography equipment, and whilst many people take handheld shots of flowers I have to admit that I will use a tripod more than ninety nine percent of the time. Composing the shot and focusing is so much easier using a tripod, and what I do is load the camera on the tripod, switch on live view and then move the tripod around the flower until I find a composition I am happy with. Once I find the best composition I zoom in and then manually focus the lens until the part of the frame I need is in sharp focus. Many people seem to think that a tripod is only useful to keep the camera steady, but as you can see a tripod is useful for much more than that.
The tripod in my flower photography equipment is the Manfrotto Befree, which is a travel tripod. This tripod is small, light and very portable making it perfect for moving around flowers looking for the perfect composition. Even though this tripod is light weight it is plenty man enough to securely hold my Canon 6d/60mm macro lens or Canon 6d/35mm f2 lens combinations to stop camera shake being an issue. The Manfrotto Befree travel tripod is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best tripod of flower photography and I wouldn’t use any other.
Flower photography equipment – Ring flash
There are many photographers who only use natural light to photograph flowers, however I am not one of them. A bit of artificial light will lift the shadows and make sure every part of the flower is correctly lit, however it is important to balance the artificial and ambient light sources.
In my experience speed lights are too powerful, even when dialled right down and trying to balance with ambient light is difficult. Rather than using speed lights the best way to add a burst of artificial light is to use a ring flash attached to the end of the lens. Ring flashes are not only less powerful, which is crucial when adding artificial light at such close quarters, but also eliminate any chance of the lens casting shadows over the flowers.
The ring light I use is the Yongnuo YN14 ring flash, and I have to say it is great. This ring flash, which is identical to the Canon MR14-EX. This ring flash has full manual mode, allowing you to take full control over the power of the light, the direction of the light and also the ratios of the light. This ring flash also has ETTL mode, which you can tweak using flash exposure compensation. The build quality of this ring flash may not be as good as the Canon MR14-EX but given it is a fraction of the cost this is to be expected. Even though the build quality is lower than that of the Canon ring flash it is still good, and more than good enough for the job. I have had my Yongnuo YN14 ring flash for a few years now, it is still going strong, and it is as good today as the day it was first delivered.
Flower photography equipment – Remote shutter release
Some photographers use the camera’s self-timer to fire the shutter when using a camera on a tripod, however I am not one of them. Self-timers are all well and good but once the timer is set there is nothing you can do and if something moves after the timer is set and the shutter fires you are going to have to take the shot again, which is very frustrating. A remote shutter release sorts this issue and I make sure I always have one when I am taking photos of flowers.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a top end remote shutter release because there is no benefit in shelling out loads of cash. For a few quid you can buy a remote shutter release that will not only do the job but also last.
Flower photography equipment – Reflectors
A reflector is another essential bit of flower photography equipment you should have with you. You can use a reflector to bounce the light back towards the subject flower, but if you use a blast of artificial light there is no point. I use a reflector to shield the subject flower from wind.
So there we have it, all the flower photography equipment you need to capture stunning photos of flowers.
A few flower images for you to enjoy:-
All of the above flower photos are available to buy on postcards, posters, canvases and wall art. Click on the flower photo you like to go to Zazzle where they can be bought.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.