We Simplify The Technical!

Flower photography with a twist is Julie Lee’s passion. Julie is a passionate educator that breaks down flower photography into what you need to do and learn about in order to create images with impact. We talk about using different lenses, different effects, focus stacking, creativitiy, backgrounds and more!

*Please scroll to the bottom of the post for more images from our guest.*

Episode 153

Flower Photography from Shooting to Editing

with Julie Lee

“Creativity comes from finding ways to work around the problem.”

Tips and Techniques

  1. Learn your camera’s settings and buttons.  Learn how changes in aperture and exposure affect your image.


  2. Get out of automatic modes – learn to shoot in manual.  (Sign up for our class!)


  3. Open wide for a great blurred background.  A wider aperture gives a shallower depth of field.
    – f/2.8 to f/5.6 using a telephoto lens
    – f/8 to f/11 using a macro lens

**TIP** Look in your manual or online to find the minimum focusing distance for your lens to help determine how far you need to be from your subject.

4.  Find your subject.

    – Start with a landscape of the whole area.

    – Move into the garden and search out your “leading ladies”.

    – Move around your subject to find the best angle and background.  Look for a background with complimentary or contrasting colors that help your subject stand out.
     -Sometimes you want perfection, most times you want to look for the oddball in the group. Find something that sets that flower apart from the others, a bend in the stem, a curl of a petal, something that creates interest.  It could also be something that resembles a human gesture.

5.  Lighting

     – An overcast sky creates diffused light with vibrant colors.  Not an option?  Shoot for early morning or late afternoon.

     – Side lighting increases texture and contrast and adds drama to the image.

     – Backlighting can highlight petals and is great when used in combination with a reflector to bounce light onto the front of the flower.

6.  Backgrounds

     – Shoot your own blurred images with the colors and light you want.

     – Print the images on MATTE paper and use a spray adhesive to mount onto foam core.  Take this with you to cover distracting backgrounds in the field or use it for indoor shoots.

     – OR – Use the background file as a layer in PhotoShop during post-processing.

     – Black velvet also makes a great non-reflective background for studio work.

7.  Settings

     – Learn to use the histogram and expose to the right (see link for ETTR at the bottom of this post).

     – Gather as much information from your sensor as possible.  It’s easier to darken the image later than to try to add more light.

     – Spot-metering reduces the interference of background light.

8.  Focus

     – Use single point focusing.  Compose your image, then move the focus point on your screen to the part of the flower that drew your interest.

     – Take multiple shots from the same position focused on different parts of the flower to allow for more manipulation and layering options in post-processing.

“The weight of too much gear on my back kills my creativity and takes away the joy of photography.”



One camera, one lens.  

-Helps to boost creativity.

-Makes you learn the minimum and maximum capabilities of what you’re carrying with you.

Need to carry gear?  Airport Navigator from ThinkTank 

A good “walkabout lens” 

Diffuser/Reflector with handle


You don’t need much space for a mini-studio.

  • A good window, some LEDs or small studio lights
  • Light Pad for high-key backlighting

Finding Julie

JulieLeePhoto.com      Episode 65  Infrared Photography



Mentioned on the show

Quick Key-wording in Lightroom

Episode 139  Satesh Ramjattan Explains ETTR


Listen to the Understand Photography Show on iTunes:
To leave us a review (we’d REALLY appreciate it!), click on LISTEN ON APPLE PODCASTS, then OPEN IN iTUNES.  

Understand Photography

General Notes

What you need to learn for a solid photography education.  Watch our free video:


Upcoming Trips:

Tuscany Ladies Photo Workshop and Tour – 
Sept 28 – Oct 5, 2019 

Ladies Luxury African Photo Safari and Tour
Sept. 19-30, 2020 

Understand Photography is a member of the Amazon Associates Program.

I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you  information about photography.

Gear Recommendation of the Week

Gary Fong Collapsible Diffuser The Gary Fong Lightsphere diffuses the light from your on-camera shoe-mounted flash unit. It features a strap with hook-and-loop fasteners for quickly attaching and removing the diffuser. Also, its collapsible design means that it can be easily stored for travel. This diffuser comes with a White Dome for extra diffusion which can be inverted for a different effect. This dome can be removed or replaced with additional colors. The Lightsphere can also use an optional gel system for even more creative options.

Florida’s Best Photo Spots!

Florida Photo Spots: Naples and Collier County by [Farren, Peggy, Fitzpatrick, Joe]

Understand Photography is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.






Julie Lee Azalea
Julie Lee Hummer-on-Hosta
Julie Lee Dahlia
Julie Lee Iris
Julie Lee Crabapple-1
Julie Lee poppies

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This