Shooting tips > Give a Soft Touch to Flower Shots

    Level: Beginner

    LESSON 2Give a Soft Touch to Flower Shots

    Focal length: 100 mm / F-number: 2.8 / Shutter speed: 1/400 sec

    To give a gentle feel and soft touch to flower shots, backgrounds and their level of defocus are important.
    To increase the defocus level, set the camera to the A-mode and open the aperture as much as possible.

    Creating background defocus

    To capture the softness and beautiful colors of flowers, the rendering of the background is important. Following the instructions on Factors of Defocus, get close to the subject, and shoot on the telephoto side (with longer focal lengths) of the lens. This simple process increases the amount of defocus and highlights the flowers, allowing you to shoot photographs that are different than usual.

    [1] Focal length: 55 mm[2] Focal length: 210 mm

    The above photographs were shot with different focal lengths: 55 mm for [1] and 210 mm for [2]. You can see that the shot with the longer focal length creates greater background defocus and emphasizes the freshness of the flower. If you have a telephoto lens, use it to render backgrounds more effectively.
    Also, photograph [2] is more creative with the background colors. Because the entire background consists of the green colors contrasting with the red, the vividness of the flower is enhanced.
    Try shooting from different angles with different backgrounds, and find your favorite shot.

    Adjusting the brightness

    Slightly brightening the image will enhance the softness of the flowers. In the example below, photograph [1] was shot with exposure automatically adjusted by the camera. Because the background is bright, the flowers are rendered relatively dark. This photograph manages to convey the color and shape of the flowers, but the pink looks a little dull. Slightly brightened by exposure compensation, photograph [2] has a softer and gentler atmosphere.

    [1] Exposure compensation: 0[2] Exposure compensation: +1.3

    Also, when shooting at home or in other places where you can control the angle of light, try to place the flowers so that they can be illuminated by back light. If possible, use light coming through a curtain instead of direct sunlight, or shoot on a cloudy day. These are the best shooting conditions to create soft lighting.

    Trying macro lenses

    If you are shooting flowers or small items, you may feel like getting closer to the subject and shooting the close-up details. However, a lens has a minimum focusing distance which limits how close you can get to the subject. “Macro lenses” are dedicated lenses for such scenes, allowing you to get extremely close to the subject and take close-up shots.

    Focal length: 30 mm / F-number: 2.8 / Shutter speed: 1/80 sec Exposure compensation: +1.3

    SAL30M28

    This lens allows you to move in as close as 2 cm from your subject to capture macro images with up to 1:1 magnification. The details you focus on will be astonishingly sharp, while the out-of-focus background dissolves into a creamy blur that can really make the details stand out.

    Focal length: 30 mm / F-number: 3.5 / Shutter speed: 1/15 sec Exposure compensation: +2.0

    SEL30M35

    This lens offers versatile, high-performance macro capabilities in a compact, lightweight body. It is a true 1:1 macro lens with a 2.4 cm minimum working distance that allows tiny subjects and details to be rendered with excellent resolution and contrast.