A good way to make your subject stand out is to create an even background with no distracting colours or patterns. This can be done in a few different ways. Perhaps the simplest way is to use the physics of the lens you have to blur the background behind your subject. Telephoto lenses and macro lens when focused close can achieve this. Alternatively, you can create a white or black background to add some contrast and drama to your image. This can be done by over-exposing or under-exposing your background, or by using a prop in the background (such as a white sheet of paper or a black object).
Here, I will go through some of the options using an absolutely gorgeous Alpine Sunray flower bud I came across while at Mt Franklin earlier in the week. Although the flowers themselves are white and yellow when fully open, the buds often have pinkish tones to the undersides of the petals while opening.
For the image below, I focused as close as possible with my half macro lens (Zeiss 50mm f2). Although it is not a telephoto macro lens, it is still capable of blurring the background a little.
However, I wanted to create something more abstract. Using my hat, I cast some shade over the flower while keeping the background sunlit. Thus, by exposing for something in the shade, the background was essentially too light to be exposed properly and appears almost white. In this particular scenario I liked how the white parts of the flower almost blended in with the background, so I used a wide aperture to create a shallow depth of field to make it feel like the petals were just appearing out of nowhere.
I wasn't entirely convinced with the image above, but liked the plain background, so I tried a black background. To do this, I placed my camera pack (black in colour) behind the flower, making sure that the pack was shaded (with direct sunlight on a black pack, the background would not appear very dark).
This image was my favourite of the lot, as I think it really emphasises the movement and colour of the petals. Which is your favourite?