Flowers are wonderful subjects to photograph and can provide stunning, colourful images. The great thing about photographing flowers is that it is so readily accessible to anyone. Regardless of where you live there will always be flowers near you that you can photograph. The other great thing about flower photography is that you can take your time and won’t have to be under pressure to capture something in an instant. If done right photographs of flowers can look stunning. To get you started here are 5 tips for on how to photograph flowers.
What’s the best time?
Like any type of photography, light is a crucial part of flower photography. Early or late in the day on a bright sunny day will provide much better light than at midday. The harsh light in the middle of the day will often wash away colours and shadows leaving a flat looking image. Another good time to photograph flowers is on a cloudy day. The clouds will act like a diffuser and give an even light across the flower. If you are going to be photographing in harsh lighting conditions pay attention to the contrast of the image. It might be that you have to move around the flower to catch an angle that utilises the light better than if photographing straight on.
Wait for rain or better still make your own
Flowers are usually at their most beautiful just after rainfall. So if you are brave enough to risk getting wet then head out at times that will allow you to capture shots when the rain has stopped. But if you prefer to keep dry you can re-create the effect of rainfall by spraying the flowers with water using a spray bottle. Not only will this enhance the colours but also give you an opportunity to capture some water droplets which can add that extra element to your photo.
Make sure your settings are right
Sharpness is essential for any photographs of flowers to work. If the image is blurred it simply will not work. So to maximise your chances of capturing sharp photos you should use a tripod. But simply using a tripod will not guarantee you sharp photos. You also need to ensure that you have got the right settings. The big problem when photographing flowers is the potential for movement from say a gust of wind. Even a slight breeze will usually be enough to move what you are focusing on. The shutter speed at which you will need to freeze the action will depend on how windy that day is. But as a general rule, aim for a shutter speed of 1/250 sec or faster. If there is little or no wind you will be able to shoot at much slower shutter speeds. Aim to shoot using aperture priority mode and manually focus the shot so that you can be sure that you are focusing on the right part of the image.
Get close and far
Flowers look great up close so that those small details that are usually not seen come alive. To get really close-up shots of flowers you will need a macro lens. But even with a regular zoom lens, you should be able to get some nice close-up shots. Look for patterns and especially symmetrical compositions that will give really abstract images. These are often the things that people miss when they look at flowers.
But it’s also worth photographing wider shots of flowers. That could either be something like a single flower isolated against a background or a whole field of flowers. To isolate a flower you need to make sure that you remove distracting elements from the background. The best way to do this is to use a large aperture so that the background is blurred. For wider views of fields of flowers, you will need a greater depth of field. Start at around f/8 and go from there.
Capture different angles
Don’t forget that there are many sides to a flower. So spend some time capturing different angles and views. Get low and photograph the flower against a sky. Or try to capture it from an over the top view to give you a different look. The key is to always ensure that you have a clear point of interest in your composition. So don’t afraid to experiment with different angles until you find what works best.
Flower photography is a rewarding entry topic into macro photography. We are instantly attracted to bright colours of flowers and if captured well these images can look stunning. The great thing about flower photography is that is it very easy and accessible and there are thousands of photo opportunities everywhere. You can even simply buy some flowers from your local florist and photograph them at home.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.