That's a good question, and it really depends on what you're going after. With photos of slipper orchids, there's a remarkable interest in the shape of the staminode (which is the little cap in the center of the bloom) which tends to stick out from the dorsal sepal a bit. With a point and shoot, the small sensor size (coupled with a smallish aperture) usually gives me the entire bloom in focus if I start there. With an SLR, that usually gives me the staminode, the dorsal sepal, and the two petals in focus, but the front of the pouch is usually a bit soft.
In either case, the distance from camera to subject depends on the lens. With the point and shoot, I'd say that I was typically about 3 feet away, with an SLR, usually a bit further... 5 to 6 feet.
However, there are no hard and fast rules that I know of, and I've tried other angles and focal points with varied success. Sometimes, I've focused on the tips of the petals and shot at an angle that throws the rest of the bloom out of focus (not very successful), sometimes I've used a true macro lens (1:1) and focused in on the hairs that line the pouch and staminode (which can be cool).
Hope you enjoy experimenting, too!
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