Hand-held Macro Flower Images

I brought my Olympus TG-5 with me during our recent trip to Ireland, as a bit of an insurance policy against rainy weather. While it did come in handy a number of times in this regard, I also used it for some hand-held macro flower images. This article shares a selection of hand-held macro flower images captured at the Irish National Stud & Gardens.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus TG-5 @ 13 mm, efov 72.2 mm, f/4, 1/125, ISO-200, microscopic mode

The Japanese Gardens situated adjacent to the Irish National Stud provided a wealth of hand-held macro flower image opportunities.

Olympus TG-5 @ 6 mm, efov 33.3 mm, f/2.3, 1/125, ISO-500, microscopic mode

I specifically looked for blossoms, or groups of blossoms, that were in good light, but preferably not in harsh, direct sunlight. You can see how quickly some blossoms in a tight grouping can go out of focus.

Olympus TG-5 @ 10 mm, efov 55.6 mm, f/4.5, 1/200, ISO-100, microscopic mode

When photographing blossoms with long stamen I usually try to capture my image at an angle. This increases the chances of getting the centre elements of the blossom in focus.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/100, ISO-800, microscopic mode

Finding water droplets on blossoms, leaves or needles, always adds some detail interest to a photograph.

Olympus TG-5 @ 6 mm, efov 33.3 mm, f/3.2, 1/250, ISO-100, microscopic mode

When photographing a group of blossoms it is important to carefully select which blossom to use as a focusing point.

Olympus TG-5 @ 10 mm, efov 55.6 mm, f/3.4, 1/200, ISO-640, microscopic mode

Single blossoms or groups of three often make the best subjects.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/400, ISO-640, microscopic mode

Sometimes some interesting angles will catch my eye.

Olympus TG-5 @ 11 mm, efov 61.1 mm, f/3.6, 1/100, ISO-200, microscopic mode

The lighting, as well as the nature and distance of the background, help me determine whether to photograph a blossom in centre frame…

Olympus TG-5 @ 11 mm, efov 61.1 mm, f/3.6, 1/250, ISO-400, microscopic mode

Or off to one side of the composition.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/160, ISO-800, microscopic mode

Using a longer focal length can help blur out backgrounds. This can be especially important when using fixed lens small sensor cameras that incorporate wider angle zoom lenses like the Olympus TG-5.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/250, ISO-800, microscopic mode

Positioning a blossom against a reasonably smooth and clear background is always my preference.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/200, ISO-800, microscopic mode

When choosing a blossom with a busy background, it can be important to place my auto focus point on an area of higher contrast. This helps draw a viewer’s eye into the composition.

There are many gear options when creating hand-held macro flower images. Using a small, easy-to-handle camera like the Olympus TG-5 with its microscopic mode can be a lot of fun! Given its sensor size, it also produces quite good quality hand-held macro flower images.

Technical Note:
All photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.

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4 thoughts on “Hand-held Macro Flower Images”

    1. Always a pleasure to help a reader Sean!

      Setting an AF point is important with any photograph… and even more critical when doing hand-held macro-type work. Even slightest shift in body position (especially forward or backward movements) can throw off the precise focusing needed in a macro-type image. That’s one of the reasons why I’d never use ‘focus and recompose’ technique with this type of photography. I’ve found its also important to work quickly with hand-held macro work so there is as little lag as possible between achieving focus and shutter release.


  1. I purchased my TG-5 partly on your recommendation and seeing what you were able to do with it. What a fun camera. I enjoy that it’s both kid-proof and can shoot RAW. I used it at our local botanical gardens recently for some bugs and it was a great tool.

    Did you only use microscope mode for these shots? Or both microscope and normal? I find moving the AF point to be difficult, so do you focus and recompose, or do you move the AF point?

    1. Hi Sean,

      I’m happy to read that you are enjoying your TG-5… it is quite a fun camera to use! Even though it only has 1/2.3″ sensor in it the image quality is pretty decent. Being a BSI sensor certainly helps with image quality.

      I captured these images a number of months ago… I’m almost 100% certain that they would have all been captured using the TG-5 microscopic mode. Otherwise I would have shot some of the flower images with my Nikon 1 J5 and the 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 zoom. Moving the AF point is a bit restricted with the TG-5 as it only has 25 AF points. I always move the AF focus point and do not focus and recompose. I try to avoid doing focus and recompose with all of my cameras.


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