MY 5 BEST TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR FLOWER PHOTOGRAPHY

The promise of warm summer days brings us hope as we leave behind the soggy and cool days of this year’s spring.  Yes, we did have one of the coldest spring’s here on the West Coast. The warm summer days translate into an abundance of flowers.

Every season has its signature flowers. Their stunning colours, intricate details and amazing variety mean you’ll never get bored of photographing these natural beauties.

 

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT FLOWERS?

There is no doubt that most of us find flowers beautiful, but what makes them so pleasing to the eye? Is it the colour? Is it the patterns? Is it the smell? This might be a surprise to you but what truly catches our eye is the symmetry.  Several studies found that in the overall assessment of beauty, shape was more important than colour. Symmetrical flowers with lower complexity were rated as the most beautiful. Symmetry is a sense of proportion and balance.

 

WHY PHOTOGRAPH FLOWERS?

I personally find capturing flowers very enjoyable and rewarding.  They do make a beautiful subject and are very accessible.  You don’t need to travel to exotic locations to take beautiful flower photos, whether stepping outside your doorstep into your garden or simply purchasing a bouquet at your local farmers market. During the summer months, flowers are very easy to come by. Flowers come in so many different colours, shapes, and patterns which give us the opportunity to showcase the beauty of the natural world that surrounds us. So grab your camera gear and head outside! 

Wait,  before you do that I have put together a simple guide that will improve your photography skills. Taking photos of flowers sounds simple, yet it can be surprisingly difficult, even for some seasoned photographers.   

 

TIPS FOR CREATIVE FLORAL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

1. LIGHT

Every photographer knows that light can be their best friend or worst enemy.  I personally try to go out and take photos during cloudy overcast days to eliminate harsh shadows. One of my favorite times to photograph flowers is right after a light rain when their colours get more intense and the plants still have water droplets on them to add some additional interest. 

Another suggestion is to get out early in the day when the sun isn’t as strong and the blossoms are still covered in the morning dew or late afternoon when the sun is starting to go down. If you have no choice and your flower subject is in the harsh afternoon sun, you can either use a diffuser to soften the light or do as I do and block the sun with your body while photographing it. 

2. BACKGROUND 

The background in your photo is very important.  It can make or break your photo. This is one of the biggest mistakes many photographers make.  Trust me, at times I am also guilty of making that exact same mistake.  Ultimately,  you are trying to have a background without any major distractions. The easiest way to control your background is to move around your subject and find the best possible angle without background distractions.

3. APERTURE

If you are after creating interesting photos I strongly suggest photographing with a shallow depth of field.  Set your f-stop or aperture to the lowest number you can.  This will make the background in your photo blend in and become softer.  This technique will make the flower subject pop out in your composition. Most of my photos are taken with a wide-open aperture in order to isolate my subject.  I truly love the feel of a soft, dreamy photo.        

4. SELECT 

Select what you will focus on. Whether it is the center of the flower, the petal, or perhaps the back of the bloom. Look at your subject closely and explore what is interesting about it. Take several photos from multiple angles. Always remember that the best compositions are often the simplest ones. 

5. GET CLOSER

Get as close as you can to the flower you are photographing. This will allow you to capture the beautiful details that are evident the closer you get.  

Don’t have a macro lens? There are a couple of inexpensive solutions.  You can use extension tubes,  which mount onto your camera or you can use close-up filters, which attach to the end of your lens. 

But what if you can’t get as close to your subject as you’d like? A telephoto lens is great for capturing flowers!

Whenever I am going out to photograph flowers, I carry several lenses in my bag, including a macro, a close-focusing telephoto, and Lensbaby. These three lenses offer me a range that covers it all.   

CONCLUSION

Like most things in life,  it takes practice to get better at using your lens for close-up flower shooting. The great thing is that most of the year there are countless subjects everywhere around you. Your backyard, local gardens, or neighborhood parks are filled with flowers. Don’t forget that flowers will not fly or run away from you so take your time and take as many photos as you want. 

Every photographer has a different approach and individual vision.  You have to see what works for you.  I would suggest browsing through photo-sharing sites and looking at the work of others. There are so many talented photographers out there. When you come across some outstanding flower photos, study the composition and get ideas. 

Play and have fun with your flower subjects, and do whatever you need to do to achieve your artistic vision. And always remember to “stop and smell the roses”!