Our Top Five Tips for Photographing Flowers
- What’s your main subject?
The general rules of composition still apply when photographing flowers. When you come across bunches of flowers it can be tempting to simply fill the frame with colour, however this can often lead to images that do not have as much impact as they could of.
Try to have a main subject or focal point. This could be the single flower in a lawn of green or the red flower surrounded by yellow. Look carefully, you’ll find there is lots to see.
Also, don’t be afraid to open up your aperture to reduce depth of field and isolate the subject. While that background of other flowers and plants may be attractive it can also be distracting in an image. Using correct focus and limited depth of field can often create a much more pleasing result.
- Try to be different
Give consideration to the angle you shoot from or your ‘point of view’.
Shooting from a high viewpoint across the tops of flowers can be beautiful, but how do they look if you lie on the ground and photograph from below? Or, how about getting in close and isolating a single flower from the rest.
Think outside of the box, be creative and have some fun. You’ll be surprised at how different the same subject can appear when photographed from different angles.
- Lens choice
Many people forget to think about lens choice when they take images of smaller things, such as flowers. But, like any photography the choice of focal length will have a big impact of the look of the image.
Let’s say we are taking an image of a single flower. Getting in close with a wide angle lens will give us a lot of the background in the image. Taking the same image of the flower but from further away and using a telephoto lens will show us very little of the background.
As with any photography lighting can be tricky.
Having light behind the flower will often enhance the colours and texture of the plant. The downside is that the front of the plant or flower will become underexposed and a little dull. If your camera has a built-in flash it can be ideal for adding that extra bit of light and improving the overall exposure and colour of the image.
Also choose the time of day you want to use. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon will be a warmer and softer light, creating fewer harsh and contrasty shadows. If you are early enough you may also find there is still dew on the plants giving them that sparkling, glittery look.
Midday, especially if it’s a sunny clear sky will produce harsh shadows. As most flowers do not face straight up this can create problems in trying to get correct expose. If you need to photograph around the middle of the day, try to choose a day when it is overcast. The clouds will reduce the contrast and make it far easier to get good images.
While there is no special equipment necessary for taking images of flowers, but there are a few things that will make it easier and give you better results.
Tripods can make life a whole lot easier when taking images, especially if you are on your own. By setting the camera up on a tripod it leaves you free to do other things such as keeping the flowers still if there is a breeze or hold reflectors to get some extra light into the image. And of course it lets you use a much slower shutter speed than you could if holding the camera by hand.
Close-up filters or extension tubes
Often you will find yourself wanting to isolate that single flower or bud, but the lens on your camera simply cannot focus that close. You could look at buying a macro lens however these are expensive and are something that you may not use all that often. This is where close-up filters and extension tubes come in. These accessories allow the lens to focus closer than it normally would, allowing you to get beautiful close-up images.