Photography Tips: Bad Light, Long Lens & Flowers
Photography Tips: Bad Light, Long Lens & Flowers

great Jimmy turn an ich bin de put
sprout I see any German I know so I’m here in Switzerland has been running the
Zurich masterclass and it’s been brilliant you may have been thinking
that doesn’t look like England so let’s pose something let’s suppose the muses
are upon you you want to go out with your camera the
sun shining you want to take some pictures but look at the light on my
face the sun’s way up there that means it’s not very good lighted it
nonetheless you’ve got the muses upon you you’re
feeling creative you want to take pictures so how about this over here
we’re just walking down the road and just sort of saw this little nursery
here where they’ve got you know there’s some flowers there’s some poppies and
stuff like that they’re not in the best condition that they are pretty colors
the light isn’t in the right place but we still might be able to make a picture
with them I just could go and ask these guys if they mind if I took some
pictures so I’ll see you in a minute it’s amazing what you can get if you
just ask if you got the balls it’s got someone say hey guys do you mind if I
take some pictures of your flowers it’s amazing how helpful people can be
in fact we’re just in time but just fitted or don’t be too long though
because we’re coming out to cut the remaining flower heads off these poppies
are not in the best condition many of them have gone to seed but there is some
color and I think that by really looking by searching we can find a shot this is
about using your eyes looking around now the light isn’t that brilliant it’s very
very hot as I said earlier so let’s do a little bit of exploring let’s see what
happens but the Sun is kind of over here so my first thought is let’s see what
they look like backlit with the light coming behind them so I’ve already got
my 55 to 200 millimeter lens on I think I’m going to need that why would I need
that and not as wide angle lens for example well look at all the stuff
that’s around here so exactly the most pretty background is it we may want to
lose that think what are the properties of a long lens they have a narrow field
of view don’t they what else can you do with them I’m not telling you you’re
going to think about it I’ll tell you in a minute first let’s see if I can find a
flower that works so they’re pretty thin on the ground because most of them are
gone to see luckily they’ve just been watered so if
we’re quick we might get a few little sparkly raindrops but the thing is if
you’re not down here at these you may see that there’s mostly oranges but
there’s a few pale colored ones they’re going to stand out in amongst the others
so I’m going to see if I can do a pale colored one this is gonna be more
difficult because they’re sitting there mostly eyes let me try shooting this
pale one here looking that way see what happens I’m going to get down here I’ll
show you through this camera what I’m looking at if I can find it there it is
bear with me while I get this focused up all right I’ve got it on the wrong focus
mode preparation is everything right that’s focused let’s just roll a bit of
video and it’s now chained to the focus the trials and tribulations of high tech
right that should now be in the right place roll video good okay so there’s
our pale colored poppy now as you can see with the lens shorter we’ve got a
load of that polytunnel over there we don’t really want that do we so what
happens are we start to zoom it in now it’s going to go a bit out of focus
possibly because I can’t focus and zoom right but you can see the flower we want
now there’s some nice orange bits here and stop the video and refocus so it’s a
bit better for you focus and we video that looks better doesn’t it see playing
around with your focus with your depth of field starts get interesting I think
I want to go this way a bit and go a bit lower and maybe zoom in a bit now it’s
better it’s going out of focus again okay we focus also you see with the long
lens and the shallow depth of field you’re going to move a tiny bit and
suddenly you move your own shots out of focus so it’s going to be something like
that sorry about the blurriness I’m not
focusing and redoing it again let’s take a test shot and see what happens but
you’ve seen why I wanted to use the longer focal length longer focal length
narrow depth of field it also has sorry narrower field of view but it also had
a shallow depth-of-field one app to do we want think on it what aperture gives
you a shallow depth of field a wide one so let’s focus on the flower this is
gonna be tricky because they’re moving in the breeze so I’m actually going to
pop it on to continuous focus mode so if I hold the single point dot on to the
flowers the flower moves hopefully it’ll hold it nicely in focus
the problem is Ross the Fuji is a stunningly good little camera I find the
autofocus is a little bit ponderous and slow that’s not bad how’s that that’s
not bad but a little bit of color let’s come around here and down see if we get
a bit more come on focus up we Don that breeze now what I am seeing is yeah it’s
not a bad picture it looks quite nice but I think the light is not great let’s have a look see what we can find from the other end it’s all about trying things
out I’m only really trying one test because I do on the video to be too long
look I’ve wet my trousers can you see that
no I’ve wet my trousers my mum told me I wasn’t that out in public because to wet
my trousers right about this one here look we’ve got a little pale one just
here and it’s facing into the light almost that might if we’re lucky just
work now we’ve got to get low I want to see if I can sandwich it depth of field
sandwich you may have seen that video because we got orange here and we got
orange there so let’s see if I can line it up with the composition to get this
soft pale one sharp soft in the background big challenge this is one for
you to try at home viewers so it’s from another little go this shot if I can get
myself lined up so forgive me I expect the focus will go all over the place
well I’m trying to get myself set up you can see this is all real
world because you’re having to wait for me to do things right video are you
swine you see that the focus moved again right good sorry viewers I’ll be back in
a minute I’ve got a tech issue there we go take issue sold right so you can see
here’s our little poppy now now if I make the lens shorter it’s getting too
messy isn’t it it’s like we’ve got bits of glass house bits of wall something at
the end there it’s not really what we want we want to keep that tight so let’s
just zooming in on to are chosen poppy now I think there’s a couple of kind of
ways we can go I can’t like the sort of getting it in close so we got it’s
really sort of to the side of it with the orange strong in the foreground
could even move to the right a bit and spread it out and put it in the middle
either one kind of works notice these little tiny movements I’m making that is
called controlling your composition composition is a function of arms and
legs hands and knees and moving a body around it’s about using your brain it’s
about thinking it’s about using the seven building blocks of photography I
know I bang on about it the cameras don’t take pictures you do and it’s the
way you think about your pictures and think each shot through that will tell
you your camera settings I’m going to display my camera settings on this video
but there are no real value to you whatsoever because if you put those
settings on your camera trying to shoot the same picture the chances are they’re
not going to work they probably won’t work for me if I shoot the same picture
in five minutes time you need to visualize and find the picture use your
seven building blocks think the shots through and that will tell you the
settings you need to use you have to learn what the settings do first so
let’s take our shot right pop that back on to continuous focus mode so hopefully
if there’s a wobble it will track my little plan right of course the moment I
spoke we got a wobble didn’t we the breeze has just picked up right come on
you get in focus that’s of course the flowers turned its
back to me if you have a look that see hopeless
come on breeze stopped blowing I may even go move the pot round let’s just
see let’s just see move this way a little no genuinely I think there’s
moved the flowers so I’m going to cheat bear with me I’m going to go to that
particular pot just rotate it just a bit that looks better that looks better now
let’s try I’m being impatient get in right let’s focus on our there that’s
quite nice look that’s quite a nice little shot let’s just get our depth of
field sandwich a little tighter like that there’s a couple of quite nice
shots even though we’re not in the perfect time of day with perfect plants
in perfect life so he goes just a little thing you know use your blocks use your
brain think about your pictures think about how to execute them how to compose
them look at the whole thing don’t go crazy go and click click click click
click click click think about what lens you’re using use
the appropriate appropriate fit so I hope that was useful guys if you enjoyed
the video please click in a couple of likes share it with other photographers
it’s incredibly valuable to mix it helps me make more free videos if you’d like
to never miss a video pop over to my website photography courses there’s a
forward slash video where you can sign up to my newsletter we will tell you
each time a new video goes live and some other cool stuff too so meanwhile
wherever you are whatever you’re doing have a brilliant time get out there get
practicing and have fun see you later guys

100 thoughts on “Photography Tips: Bad Light, Long Lens & Flowers”

  1. Ruggiero Manente says:

    Hard not to press the "like" button. Just great stuff.

  2. Tomas S says:

    As always a very informative video from Mr. Mike!

  3. xmeda says:

    That FUJI hardware does not look overly ergonomic… try Pentax .)

  4. Christina BS says:

    hi Mike, thank you so much for all your very helpful and inspiring videos!
    I really love this one. Flowers are probably my prefered subject and I like, how you demonstrate, how great pictures can be made in situations that to not seem to be ideal at first sight.

  5. Kerry B says:

    I am probably in the minority, but I prefer flowers taken in this sort of light. I find the ones taken in 'perfect' light to be rather deadpan and uninteresting. Great video as always!

  6. Jürgen Zarske says:

    Still remembering your first reaction on this proposal 😀

  7. David Glew says:

    Great video mike as always.

  8. tectorama says:

    Nice one Mike,
    I was in a similar situation today. I was at the RSPB nature reserve at Rainham Marshes. I had my 200-500 lens fitted, and
    couldn't keep changing lenses to take pictures of insects and flowers. You learn to be flexible, and use what you have to hand.

  9. jesuisravi says:

    it doesn't look like Switzerland either. Looks a bit like southern Cal

  10. SirSilverFox says:

    You could make the light better and softer if you had a willing friend who could hold a diffuser over the top of the subject, just thought it was worth mentioning.

  11. profdody says:

    Your video has been a confirm for me. Changin perspective it's all in there. Get down and you'll see another world……..and sometime get wet.

  12. Dessy Krasteva says:

    Simple and still….absolutely amazing!!!! Your videos are a real inspiration for me! Great job, Mike!

  13. Joao Carlos says:

    What about the light? Isn't it too harsh? What about a polarizer?

  14. Gold Disc says:

    Why not post clips of your workshops????People could see what you're really about!

  15. BadMedWTF says:

    Always a pleasure to watch ur vids. Thanks Mike! Been watching for years.

  16. Frank Amez says:

    Great video, Mike. I also try to take picture of flowers like this video.
    Thank you for the tips you give with the video.
    Greetings from Belgium.

  17. Tony Turner says:

    Excellent video, Mike, and very informative. One question, at 9.23 minutes your settings appeared to be 1/2900 with ISO 250. Why did you not use a lower ISO as you would still have achieved a fast shutter speed? No doubt I'm overlooking something! Thank you.

  18. Call Me Mom says:

    "It's amazing what you can get if you just ask…" Yes. Yes it is.

  19. Woody1029 says:

    Do you have a janitress? 🙂

  20. Peter Abbott says:

    Hi Mike. Great video. As someone who has an X-T2 and and various other Fujifilm cameras I was really surprised at the tech fail comments. Why do you think it struggled? I have used my old X_T10 in similar situations and never had a problem. In the rare situations that I had a problem in auto I just flipped back to manual.

  21. Jan A says:

    Mike , I just love your work. Thank you.

  22. Kathleen Hart says:

    Have just purchased Mike's 7 Building Blocks photography course. Over last two years I have benefitted greatly from Mike's free videos, just like this one. Such a good teacher. I am looking forward to progressing through the course and putting into practice my learnings on my upcoming trip to New Zealand in August. Thank you, Mike.

  23. Anthony Hedger says:

    I rather liked that last photo Mike. Another great video, thank you. It just goes to show you that there are things waiting to be shot if we just look for them eh? Tony

  24. Lau Bjerno says:

    "Click in a couple of likes"? Gladly. I've already clicked in one. How do I go about clicking in the next one?

  25. David Pinder says:

    Mick, out of all the photography I subscribe to on YouTube, you are by far the best. Great video about making the best of a bad situation. Thanks.

  26. Michael Flick Photography says:

    Grüezi, Mike 🙂 good to see you've been back to Switzerland and your Swiss German improved 🙂 take care and watch your jeans 🙂

  27. Noah Ronquillo says:

    As always nice educational video. Mike, however you mention a photographer must go through building blocks, you lost me there. What are the building blocks?

  28. John P says:

    I was thinking about carrot cake and coffee for some reason…. oh well, I guessed the widest aperture you had, thanks as usual Master Mike!

  29. Alan Mc Crum says:

    Mick what is the brand of the backpack ur using?

  30. John Matthias says:

    That was very good. It's disturbing that I wanted to put up my hand when you asked questions.

  31. Vernon Nash says:

    Thanks Mike for more entertaining goodness.

  32. Martin Finnerty says:

    Was that your knees clicking every time you knelt down Mike?

    Despite that, great photos and great advice. I love the way that you simplify things.

  33. Larry Tam says:

    Bad light + Long lens + Flowers + Mike = Great pictures !

  34. Simon O'Shea says:

    I love your enthusiasm about photography and been a fan of your videos for some time now. Cannot wait for the next one.

  35. Roland Rick says:

    Which lens you had stuck to camera?

  36. Gilbert Lennox says:

    Very helpful. Thank you.

  37. Piero Serra says:

    I really like your vids, Mike, but for me it's a complete myth that one can't take good landscape photographs outside between 10am and 4pm. It's not bad light, it just requires thought. Boring landscapes taken at sunset or sunrise are to my mind much worse than good photos taken at midday, it's just easier to mask a dull photograph if the light is low.

  38. Tony Duke says:

    Hi Mike. Awesome video. Just proves once again that there are good images to be had in the most unexpected places.I'm having a whip round to get you a set of knee pads to save your trousers!

  39. Christopher Martin says:

    Nice one guys love it. This video was basically showing people how to practice which we all need to do to be ready for when those special moments come and the flower is a wedding flower on someones wedding day in the perfect condition and not just a flower in a garden shop. It's an important lesson. I actually took an hour during my work this week and did the same thing and went to a beach in the not so perfect conditions and forced myself to come up with some shots.

  40. Stephen Morgan says:

    Great video Mike. Just been shooting with the XT-2 with the 55-200mm and tried similar images as yours and am pleased with the results. Didn't think of using this lens to try these images. I don't know if you have tried the Samyang 100mm Macro on the XT-2 i find it to give great results also I tried my Nikon mount Sigma 150mm Macro on the camera and find it great when using focus peaking. Thank you for this video, really got me thinking through my image taking more.

  41. Gerard Kuzawa says:

    Something you said prompted this thought. Once I purchased my current camera, and held it, it made a world of difference. Grip is important… at least for me it was and is. My fingers are no longer jammed in between the lens and the grip. I enjoy holding this camera. However…

    The specs on this camera are not the top of the line Canon or Nikon or Sony or Fuji or Olympus. But what I want is to take stills, and this camera suits that well for me. And that is what I always have wanted. I have always wanted, like my original OM-1, is to just take pictures.

    Along the way there has been people like you. I have learned for having learned that of which I knew but of which I needed another to say… it seems.

    I previously used a Sony that I struggled with for the tight and small grip (though the specs were good). I have used my daughter's camera, a Canon 6D. I have been in stores and held other camera bodies.

    So it is that the Sigma SD Quattro H is now my camera of choice… solely for the fact that I want to hold it in my grip and take pictures. That Sigma has the Art lenses made the decision a fair amount easier. I am enjoying the images (that I get right) from this camera. And it is all attributed to how it feels in my grip.

    Just saying. I am enjoying photography more now that I had been for admitting that I hated holding the other cameras. This camera is not a struggle, but an extension…. a part of me.

  42. mluppi says:

    I'm glad to know Im not the only one struggling with wind + flowers. 🙂

  43. Mike-Boohaka says:

    Been watching your vids for years now. I love how you find a good image wherever you are, that's always been a very consistent thing in your vids. I find the Fuji combination you're using here very useful and it's my main set up for flowers and isolating relatively small subjects. Thank you from one Mike to another!

  44. Howard Allen says:

    To me your shots of flowers in this light look great: it is confusing though. If I post a landscape, including intimate landscapes of a tree or flower, on a website that I use for critique people will pounce on the exif data and say “wrong time of day”. Sometimes I feel that they are not looking at the shot itself but just reading from a text book. It would be interesting if you were to compare your flower shots taken in bright sunlight with the same shots taken under some sort of shade such as a translucent diffuser, then give us your thoughts?

  45. Peter Tollan says:

    Correction: "That's the only Swiss German I know"

  46. Richard Tétreault says:

    Hello Mike, I discovered your channel a couple of weeks ago. Your videos are great and I like how you focus on thinking about the picture taking process and image composition. I shared the link with all the members of our photo club and got very positive comments: we appreciate your enthusiasm, your explanations are concise and clear.Cheers from Canada

  47. John Summerfield says:

    I quite like photographing flowers with strong light full in their face. I've even taken studio lights into the wilds with me when I didn't reckon the sun was up to it.

  48. Gary Clayton says:

    Once again a very good video . Thanks Mike

  49. InTheNameOfJustice says:

    Yet another excellent and informative video. Plenty of food for thought there.

  50. Derek Gillan says:

    moin moin Mike. Good to see you active.

  51. Sonia Riaz says:

    Hey mike! Which lens did u use?

  52. Straight says:

    Another easy to absorb video thanks Mike.

  53. Sketchmee5 says:


  54. johan bauwens says:

    Which shutter speeds did you use ? It says 2900 sec, seems a bit long 🙂

  55. street photo hunt says:

    make a video about photographing chandeliers. I think it's very tough and no videos about the same anywhere else. good day

  56. hansie claassen says:

    Best tutorials ever!

  57. Paul Game says:

    just started your 7 blocks course, got in trouble with the wife for emptying the fridge contents onto the table to practise exercise 1. really good content in the first weeks course. thanks

  58. Catweazle 01 says:

    Ohh… Souds more than german, spoken in switzerland…
    Many greetings from near the border of switzerland 😉

  59. max factor says:

    i cant believe they sell poppy in England. here it is literally garbage

  60. Paul Michael says:

    I never grow tired of watching your videos. I've learned so much about composition from you Mike.

  61. Jackie Connell says:

    Yet another excellent and informative video mike,you make photography look easy,and I love your enthusiasm about photography,i think it is rubbing of on me i think you may need a set of knee-pads thank you

  62. Stephen Bray says:

    another cool vid, it all helps with the learning, you make everything easy to understand. I think I might be ready to start the 7 building blocks course thanks mike

  63. Jack says:

    Mike, you remain an inspirational teacher. Great job mate…………..

  64. Josep Caselles Fontanet says:

    How it is that it has changed of camera, can tell me virtues and defects of the new material, greetings.

  65. Richard Revett says:

    priceless information yet again Mike
    thank you 🙂

  66. Rafa Vera says:

    Great video, Mike! A greetings from Spain!

  67. Nightmare Gaming says:

    Awesome as always!!! Can't get enough… keep them coming. LOL

  68. A Oates says:

    Another excellent tutorial , couple of beautiful photos there from nothing 🙂

  69. igor822605 says:

    спасибо, смотрю Ваши уроки с удовольствием.

  70. Eric George says:

    Great vid from Mike as per usual. Very informative and useful. Thank you.

  71. Jeremiah Dauphinais says:

    Please excuse the question but why is Mike using a camera that has focus issues? Awesome video. Loved the content because I don't generally go out to shoot during bad lighting much and it I should do it more often!

  72. Chris Hunt says:

    Thanks Mike. That was just what I needed. Getting a shot in an very ordinary setting. I love taking pictures of flowers. I would have moved that pot a lot sooner and possibly some others too without being too cheeky. I love your style of teaching. I’m going to learn lots from you.

  73. Fly Rider says:

    Fell out of my chair when you started talking in German. Very good though 😀

  74. Tim Kitchen says:

    Mike, notice you are using your Fuji more and more on these great videos of yours. Is this because of the light weight of the camera compared to your SLR's? . I'm in my seventieth year, and am finding SLR's now pretty heavy. Keep up the good work which is much appreciated. All the best, Tim

  75. MrSjeupie says:

    I see you held on to the XT1 after borrowing it from Fuji a couple of years ago. I just watched your review of it again and all the 'negatives' you mentioned are addressed in the XT2, as you probably know. Focus is better as well and (but do not pin me down on it) I believe focus during zoom in video mode is now possible as well. So that should greatly reduce the 'fiddling around' you did with it in this video. Lovely little camera it is though.
    The 55-200 is not a lens I am super excited about though; it's a fine lens but by no means as sharp as my other fujinon lenses. I bought it second hand so perhaps there's a history to it that I do not know. I'll try to reproduce the shot you took here and see if I can match the sharpness you achieved.

    In either case, thank you for this video which was well done as usual. Keep up the good work 🙂

  76. Karsten says:

    That is so great! Very logically explained. Right now it´s in the middle of the night and I want to go out into the sun and take some pictures 🙂

  77. Jessica B says:

    Realy great Vid! any garden at any season is a perfect setting from now on 🙂

  78. Jeff Nielsen says:

    Sounds like Russian. This guy is a brain surgeon of photography.

  79. DavidTR Williams says:

    I always pick up something from your 'How to…" videos. Cheers.:))

  80. Adventurous Eater says:

    You NEVER disappoint and I always learn………Danke!

  81. peter kay says:

    Another entertaining video and the first one to cause me to regret an action. I use Pentax cameras. One of my first lenses was a weather resistant 50-200mm lens. I never got stellar results so I sold it in a recent consolidation exercise. My photography has since moved on a step, thanks in no small part to these videos, and I am wondering if I would now find the lens more rewarding. This video certainly demonstrated the value of a nice, compact, mid range zoom and I have a horrible feeling I may shortly be buying another copy of the lens. The moral is to know your kit. I suspect I didn’t really know what I had before I let it go and that is such a shame. Thanks again Mike. I love these Mike Browne shorts 🙂 they are just packed full of great stuff 🙂

  82. Colin Gill says:

    Yet again your video has hit the mark. Im just a bit older than yourself , so getting down on a shot does present a problem, however a mono pod comes in handy. As regards wet knees were you sent home and told to sit in a dark room, as punishment??
    My sense of humour

  83. Shawn Samson says:

    Thank you Mike for such awesome tips. I feel inspired by your videos!

  84. changedNikiWin says:

    grüezi xdddd

  85. Daniel Medley says:

    Great video. Also, TIL don't buy a fujifilm

  86. Benson Stein says:

    Very good video.

  87. Don Jones says:

    I shot some pictures of some flowers. The problem is that some red and some white flowers bleed. A friend of mine was suggesting a polarizing filter. I remember you did a video on ND filter. What would you suggest?

  88. LMH JGSeuk says:

    Darn i already bought a short lens for bokeh. Gonna have to buy that long lens. Should've seen this much earlier. Anyhow, thanks Mike for your great videos, cheers!

  89. Rick Kirkham says:

    A very interesting video Mike

  90. Juan Carlos Lopez says:

    Please leave the settings on the video a bit longer!

  91. Tom C says:

    A big thank you from New York! Appreciate all the effort and
    work put into your videos.

  92. MyKonaRC says:

    If anyone could sum up Mike Browne it would be " Uhffff" (inhaling)   "That's betta!"  the "tks" sound and the famous "Pose a question / or fact and walk off scene"  🙂 I've watched too many lol

  93. KARORIWAL's PHOTOGRAPHY says: plzzz like and subscribe my channel

  94. sleepy_cat says:

    1:29 we ain’t used to that light in the uk

  95. buster colin says:

    Great video. Been there a number of times. Nothing should be easy, to think and use your brain and never give up you will get that shot and when you do, that's what it is all about. And a lovely shot you got Mike👌

  96. ivar dahl larsen says:

    Thank you Mike, I'll pop you down to my niece in Trinidad & Tobago, with your tutoring. She'll love you. Good work man.

  97. B H says:

    very helpful video and very enjoyable Mike

  98. Hisham El Batawi says:

    Wonderful… thank you so much 🌹

  99. Shawn Grant says:

    I use a cream when I get a case of the muses.

  100. Miz April says:

    Great info on why to use a zoom lens for flower photography. However, I couldn’t help wondering why you didn’t shoot in manual focus mode. Manually focusing removes the lens from hunting alternative focus points, whilst allowing the opportunity to experiment with multiple composition options. Just a thought anyhows…cheers

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