Flower Photography Tips
20 ways to improve your flower photography and plant pictures
The following pointers are tips that I have picked up over the years and have helped me improve my flower pictures. I hope you find them useful.
1. Use a diffuser to block out the harsh light on sunny days. Diffusers help to soften the light and take away some of the high contrast shadows that you will find on bright sunny days.
2. 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 makes your flower photography look great.
3. Blur the background to allow your subject to stand out in your picture. Use a macro lens or the largest aperture you can to achieve a small depth of field.If you subject is pin sharp against a blurred image, it allows the eye to concentrate on what you want it to.
4. Avoid windy days to prevent motion blur - Even the slightest wind is a disaster when you are trying to take pin sharp photographs of flowers. It really is worth checking the weather forecast and if it is likely to be a windless day, plan to spend it out in your garden! I also find that it seems to be much less windy earlier in the day, it pays to get up early!
5. Look at composition- Have you correctly framed your subject? Try the thirds rule and avoid always placing the flower in the centre of the picture. Really study what you are taking a photo of and think about what you want it to look like.
6. Experiment in adverse weather conditions - Frost and dew add extra impact to your photos. Some of the best flower photography moments are after shower of rain, you will find the overcast sky and the raindrops on the the flowers a perfect set up. Frost, especially hoar frost are great for close up images. The moisture level needs to be high and the temperature cold to form this type of frost.
7. Make sure you use the lowest ISO setting on your camera - This will give you a finer grain to your photos and therefore finer detail.
8. Use a tripod 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 needs for you to sit and take stock, really look at the flower, is it the best flower? What is the best viewpoint? Is there a more exciting and unusual way to look at the flower. The slower you are when you are taking flower pictures, the better the images.
9. Make the flower the focal point in the photo. Try filling the frame with the flower and have no background showing. Sometimes less is more - you know the saying. 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 - you don't want to have a label in your picture, do a little "gardening", but be careful if you are not in your own garden. Really look at what is behind the flower, if there are some bright red flowers in the background they may be out of focus but even a red blur may become an unsightly distraction.
11. If you take a photo of more than one flower, try and make it an odd number. As with planting, odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing.
12. Look for flowers that are perfect examples - You really want to get the best flower you can, a nibbled petal looks tatty and although you can probably photoshop it out, why give yourself the extra work, when you could choose a perfect specimen that doesn't need touching up. If you are taking flower photos in your garden, you be better picking flowers in bud and bringing them indoors to open. I have on numerous occasions waited for a flower to open, only to find a snail has beaten me to it!
13. Try for a different perspective - Flower photography is quite limited to how adventurous you can be, but make sure you experiment and take photographs from from different angles, from below, from above, in profile. Get downon your back and look up under the flower!
14. Use the histogram on your camera to ensure that you have no clipping - This is your friend and if you pay close attention to it, there should be no reason to miss a shot - unless you have forgotten to put a memory card in! (not admitting to it!)
15. Be creative with your lighting. Try back lit shots, they can really show up features of the flower, if they have hairy stems of foliage, back lighting can look great.
16. Use a reflector - Just a small handheld reflector can really make a difference to you flower photography. I prefer the mixed gold and silver reflectors ( aka softsun or softgold)
17. Try to get a flower shot with an insect - close ups of bees are hard to get pin sharp, but it can be a great challenge. If you want to get a good photo of a butterflies, get up early, they need the sun to recharge their batteries, so the earlier it is the less active they are.
18. Try black and white - Flower photography is usually in full colour, after all flowers have wonderful colour spectrums, so why not? Because a black and white flower image can have much more impact and really show the structure of the flower. Try changing your image to black and white whilst post processing, you may be pleasantly surprised.
19. Try different backgrounds - A flower can be really set off by a contrasting colour, try putting a purple background behind an orange flower, it will make the orange sing out!
20. Stage some shots - get a sprayer filled with water and fake dew, try glycerine to make fake dewdrops, place another flower behind to get a flower within the "raindrop".