Tiger Lilly with clean background

Shoot like a Pro: Make that background work for you!

If you are into Photographing Flowers and wonder how do Pros make their subjects pop-out, here are couple of tips for you:

  • Avoid distractions: The idea behind this is pretty simple – when someone looks at your image, your main subject should draw the attention right away. Less things you have in your frame the better!
  • ??Change your perspective: Don’t take that shot right away. Just walk around the subject and view the subject in different angles to find a better background! You will be surprised how much improvement you can make by changing the angle just a bit!
  • ??Use a shallow Depth of Field: Shallow Depth-Of-Field (e.g. f1.4, f1.8 etc.) will help make the background and Foreground blur more. Most of the consumer zoom lenses range from f3.5-f5.6. This may or may not be good enough depending on the background.?? For e.g. if you are taking a picture of a flower with sky as the background, you should be fine. But if there are other plants or flowers near by that you cannot avoid from your frame, you will probably end up with an image with lot of clutter in the background. Your best bet in these cases would be to use a long Macro lens such as Nikon 200mm f4 Macro lens. When you are using Macro lenses like these, even an aperture like f8 or f9 will still yield a nice blurry background if you are close to the subject.
  • ??Use a long lens and get close: Using longer lenses and getting as close as possible to the subject will help isolate the subject and also make the background blur. But make sure to use a shallow depth-of-field to make additional impact!

Here is Photo of a Lilly plant in our front yard. I wanted to take some nice shots of the Lilly. But as you can see there are lot of distractions around my subject. Let’s see how we can get the best out of this situation!

If you look around in the above image, you will see that the green lawn will make a nice background for the Lilly. Using a Nikon 200mm f4 Macro lens and changing my point of view so that the the frame is filled with nothing but the Lilly and green lawn, this is what I was able to get – Lilly with a nice clean background!


Here is another image of the same Lilly. The background is blurred and the image looks nice for the most part but there are multiple shades in the background and the leaves from right side of the frame are interfering with the flower as well. It’s still a nice image but can this be made better?

With a little change in the perspective, I was able to avoid the road and the leaves to bring out only green background of the lawn! Here is how it looks now!

Here is another example. If you are a clean-background freak like me, you will notice the Lavender bunch is behind the Lilly bud and a couple of minor leaves peeking from the left bottom of the frame! :)

Getting a little closer, avoiding the Lavender bunch and spraying a bit of water on the bud makes a lot difference!