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The Art of Flower Photography

Lesson 13 of 16

Flower Photography Tips

Kathleen Clemons

The Art of Flower Photography

Kathleen Clemons

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Lesson Info

13. Flower Photography Tips
Sometimes, it's the little things that make the biggest differences in macro photography. In this lesson, Kathleen shares flower and macro photography tips along with other tidbits to consider as you are out photographing flowers. From experimenting to knowing your gear, gain quick tips for better flower photography.

Lesson Info

Flower Photography Tips

Kathleenisms, these are things that my students always tell me that they hear me saying in their heads when they're out photographing. And the first one is clone, don't crop. Keep your pixels if there's just something on the edge that needs to go, clone it out, don't crop all, slice off. It'll also, if you know that you're not gonna crop, you're going to work harder at your composition and you're gonna be more careful. Work your subjects. You wouldn't go to the Grand Canyon and take one photo. So you need to be really looking at your subjects and shooting and examining them from all different angles. Simplify. A simple composition is going to be a stronger composition. You want to keep the attention on your subject. You don't want distracting elements. Check your edges, do that border patrol. Remember my little photo bomber or those leaves sneaking into the edge of the frame? If that happens you have clothespins and pull them out of the way. Sometimes you can just choose a different an...

gle, move a little to the side, move up, move down, and eliminate the distractions or just gently tuck them behind another stem if they're yours. The other thing that I say a lot is, if it doesn't add it needs to go. Look at your composition. Everything in that frame should be because you want it there. Don't say, "well it was there and I couldn't help it." No, it was there because you chose to include it. So you need to really really be looking that to be sure that everything in there has a purpose or it needs to go. The strongest focus area needs to have the best light. So important, remember that. And the last one is ask yourself, "What would happen if ..." What would happen if I tried this? What would ... and try it, because that's how you're going to grow as a photographer and your work is going to get stronger. So, my summary. I want you to slow down. If that means using a tripod, use your tripod. And that also might mean putting your camera away for a little while when you first get to a garden or to a subject. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down with students going, "I just, I don't see anything." And we put the camera down, we sit together and we look. And we talk about what drew your eye, how do you want to capture this, what are you gonna need for gear to capture this, what about the backgrounds, and start from there. But sometimes if it gets you get overwhelmed, you just need to put that camera away and just look because it has to start with your vision for the subject. I want you to get to know your equipment. You need to know your minimum focus distance, you need to know how much you can fill the frame with any particular lens, you need to know if maybe you should add extension tubes. If you don't want to buy a new lens, you need to work your compositions, shoot that horizontal, shoot that vertical. Shoot from low, shoot from high. Pay attention to your backgrounds. Your background is as important as your subject. And you need to give it a lot of thought and care, simplify. Your compositions are gonna be stronger if they're simpler. And check for distractions, that's part of the border patrol, eliminate them. And try and capture the essence of your subject. If I captured a calla lily and I didn't capture the curves, I wouldn't have captured the essence of it. So if you study the subject, and really see what it's about, and what it's strengths are and try and emphasize that with your compositions and your focus and your aperture selection, the image is going to be stronger. And sing your own song. Don't try and shoot images just like me, don't shoot for camera clubs, for groups who want a cookie cutter picture, shoot for yourself. If it makes your heart sing and it makes you happy, that's what counts and shoot and shoot and shoot.

Class Description


  • Choose the right macro lenses
  • Build the ideal photography gear kit
  • Find (or create) the best light for macro shots
  • Know where to place small objects in the frame
  • Set the correct aperture and exposure
  • Master close focusing with depth of field
  • Confidently capture macro work of any type of flower


Flowers are the perfect subjects for both beginning and professional photographers alike. Not only can they be found almost anywhere, but they offer a wide range of colors, textures, and shapes to explore and experiment with. But as perfect as flowers are for photography, the dominance of similar pictures makes it hard to capture a unique image.

This course takes you on an in-depth journey into the glories of flower photography, with expert photographer Kathleen Clemons as your guide. You’ll learn everything you need to know to take captivating shots that will wow your audience and celebrate the beauty of nature. Learn how to take flower photographs that stand out.

In this class, you'll learn how to spot the best flower to photograph with your naked eye, whether you want to capture artistic or documentary images. The flower will become the star of the shot as you learn to eliminate distractions in the background. At the end of the class, work confidently with fields of flowers and single flowers, at each stage in their life cycle.

Whether you have a Nikon, Canon, Sony, or mirrorless camera body, Kathleen will show you all the essential tools of flower photography, from macro lenses to plant clamps to extension tubes. She’ll cover technical details such as aperture settings and your depth of field, as well as stylistic issues such as composition, backgrounds, and close-up or macro shots. The course ends with a demonstration of a real shoot in a garden so you can see Kathleen in action as she takes different angles and close-up images of different flowers and flower petals.


  • All levels of photographers interested in macro photography.
  • Photographers who want to learn how to shoot close-up images of small subjects.
  • Photographers who want to better understand special equipment for shooting macro and how to deal with difficult lighting situations.


Kathleen Clemons is a nature photographer known for her painting-like images of flowers. The Maine-based photographer works with Corbis and Getty images. While she's known for her photography, Kathleen also has a degree in education, which she mixes with her passion for flower to teach other macro photographers.



What a fantastic class! Kathleen Clemons' presentation was well-organized and offered exceptional how-to advice along with actual gear and beautiful slides which demonstrated her points. I felt as though she were talking to me personally and truly wanting me to be successful. Her explanations of technique, accompanied with video of her in the gardens using the camera was very helpful. In addition, I found her critiques most enlightening, and I learned a great deal about how to improve my own images from them. In short--this was an exceptional class, and Kathleen Clemons is an amazing teacher. I have watched the class twice and plan to purchase it for continued review and reflection. Anyone who wants to photograph flowers artistically needs this class. Thank you, CreativeLive, for this wonderful presentation by Kathleen Clemons.

Julianne Carlson

Thank you Kathleen for taking the time to share your wonderful knowledge and technique's with us through this 5 star course. Your breathtaking ethereal images are a true inspiration and I can't wait to get out there and practice with my new Lensbaby velvet. Not only was this course a wonderful tutorial for photographing flower subject but much of your instruction can be used when photographing all of nature. This is the best Creative Live class I have taken yet!

a Creativelive Student

Kathleen Clemons is a wonderful teacher who communicates a powerful passion for flower photography. I learned so much from her about how to see and capture the beauty of a flower using macro lenses. As I launched into this new area of photography, I felt equipped and free to experiment and learn and grow. As I looked through the viewfinder of my camera, it's almost as though Kathleen was right there with me - I saw how to focus in on one area of the flower, then another, and change aperture settings to impact the depth of field, and experiencing the intricate beauty of God's creation. The ultimate moments for me were the images captured as a result of everything I learned. I highly recommend Kathleen Clemons as a teacher and this amazing class, The Art Of Flower Photography. Review by Catherine Martin