Flower Photography

Published by David on

Flowers are both easy to photograph and hard to photograph.

Easy –

  • They don’t move (except when the wind blows).
  • They’re easy to find.
  • They come in a great variety of colors and shapes.
  • They don’t blink

Hard –

  • They do move when the wind blows
  • Frequently occur in a “cluttered” space
  • Have a fixed life-span, frequently leaving dead parts attached or near the pretty part.
  • Often have cluttered backgrounds.
  • Can be low to the ground – an issue for us older folks.

So, what to do.

Let’s examine some of those problems. We have options.

First of all, you can take flower pictures with or without using a tripod. If you do want to use a tripod (I frequently do), buy one without a center column and with adjustable angle legs so that you can get really low if you need.

If the wind is blowing the flowers, you have a few options. You can increase your shutter speed (actually it is decreasing the amount of time your shutter is open) but you may also have to open your aperture wider and/or increase your ISO setting in order to get a good exposure without too much movement of the subject flower. Or, you could take a long handled “alligator” clip to hold the flower steadier while you make your exposure. Or, you could use a flash with a short shutter speed (at your sync limit or slower) so that you can keep your aperture and ISO settings that you prefer.

If there are dead parts detracting from your subject, pick a different subject, or pull off the dead parts. If there are other parts of the plant that are detracting from your subject, you can try a different angle or a different subject. If those fail, you can always try moving the offending leaves, stems, whatever out of the way. BUT, you shouldn’t pull anything off the plant unless it is dead. Let’s be respectful photographers.

For those really ugly backgrounds, use a wide, large aperture to blur the background. Sometimes, if you are really close to the plant there is still too much depth of field to blur out the background. In this case, you can switch to a longer focal length and move back from the subject. This will have the effect of putting the background further away and a bit easier to blur with a wide aperture. You can also try using a technique in which you set your shutter and aperture such that you get a black picture with only ambient light, then adding flash back in at reduced strength to illuminate only the flower. Sometimes this can yield really nice results. Lastly, you can bring along a cardboard or cloth backdrop to put between the flower and the ugly background. Just make sure that it is non-reflective and indistinct. Otherwise, it may detract from your picture as much as the original background.

Finally, for that close to the ground flower. All I can recommend is using knee-pads or a gardening kneeling pad to comfort your knees. I also keep a large plastic bag in the trunk of my car if I need to kneel or lie down on a wet area. Take a buddy along to help you get back up.

Hope this gives you some ideas. A gallery of my flower pictures will be up soon.

Thanks for reading.


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