Flowers are beautiful and attractive. They can bring us inspiration, peace, and stir many other powerful emotions.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture great flower pictures, whether you want to show off the splendor of a rose in your garden or shoot pictures of flowers during your travels. Flower photos allow you to create vividly colorful images that will grab the attention of everyone! And best of all, you can shoot great-looking flower photos with almost any kind of camera. Here are some secrets.
It can be tempting to wait for the brightest midday sun to take your flower pictures. That’s actually one of the worst times, because the powerful sunlight will wash out your image, and can create harsh shadows.
Instead, take flower pictures when it’s overcast, or in the morning, afternoon or evening when the sun isn’t as bright and overpowering. This will result in more saturated colors in the blooms of the flowers.
Take photos of flowers on overcast days. Clouds are mother nature’s diffuser, they cut out direct light and diffuse it into a softer, more gentle lighting that will make your flower photography look great.
2: Blur the Background
Blurring the background allows you to isolate your subject from the background, making it stand out in your picture. The best way you can blur the background is to use a Macro Lens or a standard lens on the largest aperture you can to achieve a small depth of field. Use Aperture priority mode; set to the lowest DOF (depth of field) and go from there. Although Macro lenses are expensive they really are worth it, you can get really close to the flower and fill the frame or if you have the background included it will be softly blurred.
If your subject is pin sharp against a blurred background, it allows the eye to concentrate on what you want it to see, without the background distractions and produces better images.
3: Avoid Windy Days
Windy days are your worst enemy for close up flower photography, so avoid it at all costs to prevent motion blur. Even the slightest gust of wind is a disaster when you are trying to take pin sharp photographs of flowers.
Wind also changes the level of cloud quickly meaning you are always needing to change your set up to race to the light levels you have. An overcast day with full bright cloud is what you are looking for with no wind at all!
4: Check your Composition
Check your composition and then check again. Have you correctly framed your subject? Is it in the best place in the frame? Use the ‘thirds rule’ and avoid always placing the flower in the center of the picture. Change it up and take photos with the flower in different compositions. You can always delete photos later!
5: Level with the Flowers
To get unique and beautiful flower pictures, move around. Don’t just stand and shoot. Try getting on the same level with it, standing above it, or even shooting underneath it. Try all kinds of angles to achieve the best possible composition. Play with distances of how close or far away you are.
6: Experiment in Adverse Weather Conditions
Get out and about in adverse weather conditions. Frost, rain and dew add extra impact to your photos. Some of the best flower photography moments are after a shower of rain.
Overcast skies and raindrops on flowers are a perfect set up for your flower photos. If you don’t get rain, get a water sprayer!
Frost, especially hoar frost, is great for producing interesting close up images. The moisture level needs to be high and the temperature cold to form this type of frost.
7: Use a Low ISO
Use the lowest ISO setting on your camera (usually 100 on and SLR) – A low ISO will result in less grain on your photos and therefore, finer detail. You may not feel this is that important, but you never know when you are going to take a great flower shot that you will want to blow up and put on your wall. If you always use a low ISO; you will have as much detail as you can get without any noise.
A low ISO will give a greater quality to your image.
8: Use a Tripod
Always use a tripod if you can. It is the best way to obtain pin sharp photographs. Not only do you get more stability, therefore less camera shake, but it will also slow you down. Flower photography demands that you to sit and take stock, to really look at the flower and study it. The slower you are when you are taking flower pictures, the better the images.
9: Make the Flower the Focal Point
Make the flower the focal point in your photo. Filling the frame with the flower, having no background showing is a great way to showcase the flower. A flower is very detailed and beautiful, doesn’t it deserve to be the star of the show without any competition?
10: Pay Attention to the Background
Study the background of your photo and really look at what is there. You don’t want to have a plant label in your picture. If there is a stray twig that is getting in the way, do a little “gardening”, but be careful what you remove, if you are not in your own garden! If there are some bright red flowers in the background they may be out of focus due to a shallow depth of field, but even a red blur may be an unsightly distraction.
11: Odd Numbers Work
If you take a photo of more than one flower, make it an odd number. As with planting, odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing, that’s why garden designers will pant in 3’s, 5’s etc. Make one flower the focus and the others the supporting act. Odd numbers look best!
12: Be Creative with your Lighting
Ignore old traditions. The old advice was to take photos with the sun behind you and your subject front lit. However, this doesn’t provide very exciting lighting and can produce lackluster images. Go against the lighting rules and getting creative with lighting. It will make your flower photos really shine out. Experiment to see what lighting works best for each shot. Try backlit shots, with the sun behind the flower. Back lighting can really show up features of the flower. If the flower or plant has furry stems or foliage, back lighting can really look great.
Side lighting also produces good images and will show up the textures on flowers well, but use a reflector to bounce light back into the image.
Remember that lighting is the make or break to every photo. The best lighting will be found at the beginning and the end of each day. There is a short time after sunrise and before sunset that the light is prime, this is often referred to as the “Golden Hour”. At these times, the sun is very low in the sky and casts a soft, diffused glow.
13: Look out for Insects
In the summer months, there are plenty of insects in a flower garden and they make great subjects for your photography. Take a flower photo with an insect on it; it adds that extra something to your image. Close up images of bees and other insects are difficult to get pin sharp, but it can be a great fun trying!
If you want to get a good photo of a butterfly, get up early and you will be well rewarded. Butterflies need the sun to recharge their batteries, so the earlier in the day you are out, the less active they are and the more likely you are to get a great shot. They are also less active on overcast days. Insects add an extra dimension to your flower photography.
14: Try Different Backgrounds
Experiment with different backgrounds, it can produce different results in your flower photos. A flower can be set off by a contrasting color, try a purple background behind an orange flower, it will make the orange sing out! Use the color wheel to choose the best color combinations. Contrasting and complimentary colors work best.
You can also lay flowers on tiles or wooden surfaces to get a rustic feel to your image.
15: Be inspired!
The last tip, and this is very important so don’t skip over this, go have fun. Be inspired! Photography is a craft like painting, drawing, sketching, and other mediums of art.
It takes practice. Keep that in mind and go find your inspiration!