How to Take Pictures of Flowers
Taking pictures of flowers is relatively easy: Flowers don’t jump around, hide from the camera or complain about the need for “just one shot.” However, just because flowers make willing photography subjects doesn’t mean taking pictures of flowers is without its own challenges.
Taking Pictures of Flowers
Determining how to take pictures of flowers depends on the photographer’s subject matter. Flower photos can vary from photos of a single bloom in a vase to panoramic photos of a field of wildflowers. The type of flower pictures you choose to take influences the photography techniques you’ll use.
Flower Pictures and Light
Sunlight is not your friend when taking pictures of flowers. Sunlight shining off leaves and petals obscures the details of flower photos and causes problems with over exposure. The first rule of how to take pictures of flowers is to avoid direct sunlight.
Overcast days are ideal for taking pictures of flowers: The softer, more diffuse light lets the petals of the flower stand out and become the focus of the picture. If you can’t avoid sunlight, opt for the warm light of early morning or evening, rather than the harsh light of noon.
If you have to take pictures of flowers in sunlight, try using something as a light filter. Hold a translucent material between the sun and the flower, so the light that hits the flower is softer.
Possible filtering tools include white sheers, wax paper or even a shirt. You may find it useful to have someone hold the filtering material while you take the flower pictures.
Another way to use sunlight when taking pictures of flowers is to use backlight. A standard method of including backlighting in pictures is to have the sun (or bright light source) directly behind the photographer.
You can also experiment with backlighting by placing the light source behind your subject. While some flower petals almost glow when backlit, others become translucent. Keep in mind that too much backlight produces a glare that can ruin the photo.
Focus and Backgrounds
Objects in the background can overwhelm flower pictures, especially those of individual blooms. A rose bud, for instance, may appear lost if there is too much material, such as other foliage, in the background.
Photographers taking flower pictures have several tricks to make flowers stand out in clear focus. One is to use a low f-stop or wide aperture. These settings produce pictures with the flower in focus and the background out of focus. Flower photos taken in this manner can be extremely striking.
Another option is to replace the background with one of your own choosing. A piece of mat board usually works best. Aim for background colors that contrast with the flower: A dark background would work well for pictures of white lilies, for example, while a neutral color would work better for very colorful flowers.
Another option when taking pictures of flowers is to take the photos at night using a flash. The flash lights the flowers while producing a dark background.
Macro Flower Pictures
Macro flower photos are pictures of parts of a flower taken at extreme close up. While traditional film cameras require a special macro lens to capture extreme close ups, many digital cameras have a macro setting.
Macro flower pictures may focus on the texture of a petal, dew clinging to the flower or other interesting parts of the flower.
To take macro pictures, a tripod is essential. Even slight hand movements can throw a macro picture out of focus. Flowers swaying in a gentle wind can also appear out of focus with macro photography, so many photographers take close-up flower pictures indoors, where they can control light and wind.
Composing Pictures of Flowers
Good flower pictures offer something more than “just” the flower. A field of wildflowers blowing in the wind can look enchanting in reality but boring and static in a photo unless the flowers are contrasted with something. Try to include people, animals, buildings or landmarks in pictures that contain flower fields or flower beds that are primarily a single color.
The same rule applies to taking pictures of flowers up close. Flower pictures that include insects (a bee pollinating the flower or a green caterpillar on a red rose) are usually more interesting than pictures of flowers alone.
The angle of a shot also influences flower photos. A picture of a sunflower field isn’t very interesting on its own. What if you took the picture lying down, looking up through the sunflowers? Or what if you took a macro photo of the sunflower seeds ripening in the flower head?
Look for different ways to shoot pictures of flowers. A little experimentation can greatly intensify your flower pictures.
Uses for Flower Pictures
Flower pictures can be used in many different ways. A good flower picture makes a stunning computer wallpaper, for instance. Many people use flower pictures to produce greeting or birthday cards.
Similarly, pictures of flowers can add some texture and flair in scrap booking. Flower pictures may be used as borders or as the focal point of a page. Combining dry flowers with pictures of flowers in bloom is another possible use of flower photos.
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