3 tips for flower and bee photography

As a photographer, I haven’t quite defined my personal style just yet. I often go through experienced photographer’s websites and social media profiles to find inspiration. Many photographers use warmer or cooler shades, some edit their photos more than others, and some attempt to find the cinematic look. While all those are appealing, I cannot copy their styles.
Instead of focusing on creating new content that has a unique consistent style, I retreated to some of my older photos. I strongly believe that a style cannot be forced but comes naturally. I believed I could find some trends or similarities in my photos. And I was right. As a matter of fact, I found several similarities and one of those being closeups of bees and flowers. While it is nothing groundbreaking or new, the images I found stood out. I decided to reflect on these images and help others take quality closeups. I find it that there are 3 important steps or factors when I take my closeups and those being: light, aperture and shutter speed

1. Light

Light is one of the core elements to take a picture. However, finding the right light differs per subject, its surroundings and the photographer’s goal. When taking bee photos, you need to show the bright colors and the small details – pollen and the bee’s hair. I always look for a day with soft light and no wind which occurs with white or light grey clouds. Typically, this is not a day with direct sun. This light will in return avoid over exposing the flowers and will let you have the right contrast on your subject.

2. Aperture

To get those details, contrast and lighting, a small aperture is ideal, and it gives you a nice bokeh. Whenever I go shooting flowers and bees, I set my settings to the smallest aperture possible. For the photos featured in this article, I picked my Canon 50mm f1.8 lens and set it to f1.8. However, I have to be careful to watch out for chromatic aberration which in brighter photos shows up as a purple outline of photographed subjects. I would recommend taking the aperture down a bit, around f2.2 or f2.8, which helps minimize the aberration, depending on the quality of your lens.

3. Shutter speed

Lastly, shutter speed is an important setting. To be able to change it, I typically shoot on manual and try to get the fastest shutter speed possible. With flowers and bees, it can be challenging to get a sharp photo. The smallest wind moves your flowers and bees can be too quick for your reflexes. Here, I can also recommend continuous shooting to get several shots before your bee decides to fly away. For the featured shots, I used shutter speed 1/640 and 1/200 seconds. Those are quick enough to freeze the moment but still let enough light into your camera to get the right exposure.

Those are my three main considerations to get the best closeups of bees and flowers. If you enjoy my recommendations and photos, please follow me on Instagram and Facebook page for regular updates and new articles! Make sure to check out my 4 tips for animal photography as well.

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