Flowers are one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful gifts. Not only are they a source of natural beauty, but they also have actual healing properties, giving new meaning to the term ‘flower power.’ To celebrate one of earth’s loveliest wonders, we curated a photo collection around the theme of blossom. Earlier in the week I had the chance to sit down with a photographer whose specialty is photographing flowers. As I tend to do with pro photographers – picked his brain as we chatted and took as many notes as I could. Here’s what I gleaned from him and his flower photography experience:
Preparation is key
Getting your gear together and in working order, choosing the right lens, having a tripod set up and then preparing to take the image. Pause and examine your subject before pressing the shutter. Some questions to ask:
- how to crop it – get in close or take a wider angle shot?
- what is the focal point/point of interest? Insect, stem, colour, texture, shape etc?
- what angle will you shoot from to get the best perspective?
- how much depth of field do you want?
- how is the subject lit?
- which flower is the best specimen for your photo?
- what distractions are there in the background and foreground?
- which is the best format to shoot in? (horizontal or vertical)
Floral Photography Identify a focal point
As in all types of photography you need to think about where you want your viewers eye to be drawn. Consider setting it off centre using the rule of thirds – but do find something in your frame that will grab your viewer’s eye and carefully think about how to position it.
Focus is Key
Sharp focus is important in all forms of photography but in flower Macro photography it is crucial and even a tiny adjustment can have massive implications for your shot as the depth of field is so small. In macro photography your depth of field is a game of millimetres so attention to detail in focussing is something to be worked upon.
Identify the point of interest that you want to be in focus and then work hard to ensure that it’s as sharp as possible. This can be a real challenge, especially outdoors on breezy days where you’ll probably end up taking a lot of images and relying on luck to some degree! You can improve your ‘luck’ a little by photographing in a more controlled environment (taking flowers inside for studio shots, shielding them from wind or just choosing to do your photography on a still day).
Point and Shoot Cameras – if you’re shooting with a point and shoot camera with no interchangeable lenses you’ll obviously have less options here. You will probably have the ability to switch your camera into macro mode (which will allow you to focus a little closer and will tell the camera to use a large aperture giving you a shallow depth of field). Some point and shoot cameras do have the option of a macro lens attachment also to allow closer focussing (see your owners manual).