More on Flower Photography

Published by David on

Thanks to one of the vlogs/blogs that I visit, I learned an new technique for dealing with unattractive backgrounds in flower photography – or when you just want a black or nearly black background for your flower images.

You can see that these were taken during the day so this technique works well to isolate the subject from an unattractive background.  So here’s how it works.

Camera is on a tripod to leave both hands free.  Shutter release is either by remote or with a 2 second timer.  After composing and focusing the shot, I change the camera and focus mode to Manual, shutter speed to a fast speed – in this case and usually, the maximum flash sync speed of 1/250th of a second, and the aperture to a small aperture – in this case f/14.  This should turn the exposure nearly black without the use of flash.

The flash unit must have a manual mode and will be set from 1/16th power to 1/32nd power.  I start at 1/32nd power and vary around those values until I have what looks like a decent exposure.  You can’t really tell from the histogram because there is so much black in the image.

I have radio transmitters which give me more flexibility in placing the flash unit, but you could also do it with a long flash cord if your camera supports one.  So with this setup, I place the off-camera flash about 12″ to 18″ away from the subject and take several images changing the position and direction of the flash until I get one I think I like.   For this image, I think I took 10 to 15 shots before I felt confident I had something to work with. 

I shoot in RAW so that I can further edit the image to darken any background that does sneak through into the final image.  I’ve also tried stacking images in Photoshop and you can get some interesting effects that way.

Here are some more examples:

Try it out.


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