Here at Picture Frames Express we pride ourselves on being used by artists, printers and photographers alike however our frames are also a great alter…
Capturing Flowers - Blooming Great Photography
Summer is nearly here! And that means the arrival of some beautiful buds blooming in our gardens and surroundings. With the lighter days and fresh flowers, there is no better time to grab your camera and take some photos of the floral landscape.
We’ve pulled together some of our top tips for capturing flowers this season…
Picking your camera/lens
A macro lens is a great thing to have for flower close up photography. With it you can fill your whole frame with your subject making an amazing life size or larger capture. Scratching that you don’t need a big camera (DSLR) to make flower photography work for you, compact cameras work well too, in particular with their focusing, close-up abilities. It’s the photographer that makes a shot work no matter the gear.
When capturing flowers, you don’t need to necessarily get in the whole of your subject, zooming in and focusing selectively on the details of your chosen flower creates a great dramatic close-up that demands attention. Shooting outside of the box, a petal, stamen etc can help draw the viewer in as they try to imagine the rest of what you saw.
*Underexpose on a bright day to bring out textures and details.
Don’t look for the perfect blooms
Another thing is you don’t need to capture a flower in full bloom, flowers go through a visually beautiful life cycle so why not photograph your favourite flower day by day from bud to bloom to get a full story. Equally, flowers with distorted petals make for a more interesting/dynamic picture so don’t rule them out.
Add a ‘Splash’ of Colour
One thing you will notice in a lot of flower photography is the presence of dew drops/water on petals. Just adding water can add a lot to a shot. If you haven’t got a crisp morning to take advantage of, add your own by carrying around a small water bottle to spray your petals. A sprinkle of water will help your flower to appear more vibrant; cleaning it off and adding light reflection. Water beading also helps to add more texture and depth to your shot making it more interesting.
Photographing outside, you will come across many different weather conditions; from golden mornings to wet wintery days, so it’s important to get a handle on your lighting for a shot. As a general rule, the golden hours (right before sunset and shortly after sunrise) are the best times for lighting. You will always find shadows in a shot so it’s worthwhile taking a white reflective material to get some more light into your shot, or if a lot of fill-in light is required utilise your flash. Alternatively, for a warmer tone look for golden reflective surfaces to place around your subject and manipulate the light. Silver tones also work for bouncing light.
Often as photographers we seek to minimise movement of objects we are looking to photograph, this practice is often also used in flower photography however sometimes capturing that passing breeze of a petal, the fluttering of buds in fields is what makes the shot. So experiment with slower shutter speeds to show movement in your shots to see what effects you can achieve.
Isolate your subject
Flowers make an amazing subject, however at times, we can overshadow their individual beauty and uniqueness by cluttering up a capture with un-needed background. Using your aperture/focus to throw your background out of focus is a great way to get your desired clean shot. Alternatively, look to set your flower against a contrasting background can help neutralise the effects of a busy background.
*Try a shallow depth of field (f/4- f/8) to put your background out of focus.
Equally don’t forget to look at the bigger picture incase you wish to provide context for your photo and provide a story.
Think about your perspective, everyone can capture a bloom from above, but getting down on your knees level to your subject, allowing you to really get up close to them and discover things you may have missed from above, after all, you’re not in a rush. Take the time to find your view and have a play around with angles.
Mix it Up
The important thing with floral photography is there is no ‘right’ way to do it, have a play around with lenses, perspectives, lighting, backgrounds, everything until you find the recipe that you want to continue with and what you feel is the technique that brings out the best in your work.
Looking for more photography tips and tricks? Take a look at all of our Basics of Photography Series on our blog here.