Whether we are in summer or winter there are always photography opportunities at every corner. Sometimes you only have to look as far as your garden to be able to capture some beautiful flower photography.
We have come up with some great ideas to help you prepare and shoot some amazing flower scenes.
Get Up Close
Most great flower photography shots are highly detailed images. The best way to display detail is to get as close as your lens allows. Ideally you are going to be able to get your hands on a macro specific lens but if budgets are tight do not worry. That is not a necessity.
A close up shot appears more detailed if you can get a great contrasting background that is hardly in focus at all.
Learn your lens minimum focus point
One great thing to learn is your lens’ minimum focus distances. This is the closest distance you can get to your subject before the lens and camera simply cannot focus on it. Most lenses display the figure in points of a meter (e.g. 0.28m) but it is always recommended to get a muscle memory feel for this.
You may find that your 300mm lens performs better, when fully zoomed in, than your 50mm lens. It all depends on the kit you have. This is why it is great to have a lens you are comfortable using in close up flower photography shots. In fact, that is the case for any close up shot.
Bokeh is derived from the Japanese word boke, which literally means “blur” or “haze”.
In relation to photography and in this particular case flower photography, Bokeh refers to the soft, out-of-focus and blurry background. This outcome can be achieved by shooting a subject using a fast lens that is set at a wide aperture (low f/stop) and/or shooting with a shallow depth of field.
The sun is the greatest natural Bokeh and can make flower photography look even more striking. The golden colours always work well against a flower and can create a great summery vibe.
Another option is to get some sun bursts coming through the back of the flower to create some great light and shadows.
Just make sure to keep your exposure right and keep your flower in focus. The sun can easily ruin a shot as much as it can make it. The brightness can often overpower images and cause over exposure.
The sunlight is always more vivid and less powerful at sunrise and sunset.
If your mood drops a bit when it rains this may just do the trick for you! Rain and in particular, water drops, can do wonders for your flower photography. The rain can bounce light in creative ways and the drops of water can add really unique perspectives to shots.
You will find that some flowers produce almost ball like water drops that reflect the surroundings. A drooping flower may have running water falling off the edge which can create a more dramatic scene.
Top Tip: If it has not rained fill a spray bottle with water and go and spray some flowers with it.
Animals and Insects
As the year progresses you will notice different wildlife appearing. If you have patience and a bit of knowledge you may be able to work out their favourite stopping places. If you want to add some truly unique images to your flower photography portfolio then try to capture some wildlife enjoying the blooms. Bees soaking up pollen, butterflies fluttering around bright flowers, birds sitting on branches etc.
Make sure to get your shutter speed right to match what you want to achieve. A bee moves fast, so to get those sharp details you may need to close that shutter faster than normal. This is especially important when shooting things like animals as you may only get one chance to get that shot.
Make sure you understand the exposure triangle fully so you can capitalise when the time is right and get your settings perfect.
High and Low key
On the subject of “perfect settings” you may want to shoot your flower images in a low or high key. This technique shows a deep understanding of exposure values and purposely over/under exposing images to force the eyes to look at certain parts of the image.
Notice how the image on the left is purposely shot too dark and the image on the right is too light. A large portion of the detail remains in the flowers but the exposures offer different perspectives and force the eyes to the subject more.
Read a lot more about how to use this this photography technique to your advantage here
Another great technique to apply is selective colour. Again, we cover this in great detail in another blog but the idea behind the technique is to really only focus on one colour in the whole frame. To really draw the eyes to one subject only.
A plain and contrasting background needs to be the first thing you look for. If you can draw the viewers eyes away from noise and other things going on with a plain background you immediately pull their focus to where you want.
Do not forget. You can always change everything but your main colour in editing!
Widen Your Angle
The other end of the spectrum to close ups is to really open up your angles and shoot more of a landscape type image. You may find that your flowers become a secondary subject but they can be a great addition into your landscape images and offer new perspectives on things.
You should always make your flower photography shots look how you want them to look. Like everything in photography it is a very personal thing. The main thing is getting your lighting right and producing what you intended to. If you can do that you are well on your way to becoming a better photographer.