Spring is the time we finally get rid of our heavy winter clothing and look toward our gardens. As photographers, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to get close to nature and brush up on our photography skills as well as experiment with some new techniques.
Good photography always begins with good seeing.
With flower photography, it is always the blossom that attracts. But learn to look a little more closely. Notice the balance of the bloom and count the petals. Start asking yourself if there is symmetry in the arrangement of the petals. Check out the way the curve of the stem looks and the underside of the blossom. Do the leaves have variations in color and texture. Develop the habit of careful observation and images will begin to appear in your mind.
After you have checked out the flower, the field and the plants, then start thinking like a photographer. What will make a good, strong composition? What am I trying to show my audience? Does it want to be botanically accurate or will you fling care to the side and go for extreme creativity or both? Let those creative juices flow.
Here are some tips that might help you make those images outstanding.
- To keep from getting overwhelmed, break the subject flower photography into small pieces. Start with the total field of flowers, then work your way through the small group of flowers, the individual flower, pieces and parts of a single flower.
- Consider composition in its most basic forms such as line, shape, color, light, texture and pattern.
- Try different lenses. My absolute favorite lens for flower photography is a 100-400mm! You can isolate the flower and get a soft creamy background (bohek).
- But don’t forget to try the super-wide angle lenses as well. Put them right in the center of the flower and see what happens.
- Walk around the subject and look for the direction of the light.
- Keep your camera steady and get down to eye level with your subject.
- Add light weight string and clothespins or clips to hold unwanted material temporarily out of the way. Be sure to remove it after photographing.
- Watch your background. Find a shadowed area for a background and allow the aperture selection to make it fuzzy. If you can’t find a shadow, ask a friend to cast one just behind the flower. That works too.
- Aluminum foil can be used as a great reflector. It adds a touch of light to brighten the dark shadows.
- If there isn’t misty rain or early morning dew clinging to flowers, create your own water drops with a small spray bottle. Be sure to spray up and let the water fall more like rain. It gives a more natural look.
- Birds, butterflies and bees are good additions to a flower photograph.
Above all, have lots of fun as you capture the freshness and beauty of spring flowers.
Noella Ballenger is a Nationally published photographer. For more information and to check out Noella’s one-on-one classes on the internet, she can be reached at Noella1B@aol.com. Her website is noellaballenger.com