If you love flowers and photography, then you probably take a lot of photos of flowers. The best way to appreciate flowers is by shooting them close-up. They have magnificent details and their colors are amazing. The great thing about flowers is that you can shoot them indoors or outdoors. Some of my most successful photos have been taken inside. Here are some tips that will help you take great flower shots.
1. Know your equipment
There’s nothing worse than working hard at taking a really great image only to find out that what you had in mind and what your equipment can deliver just doesn’t tie up. Frustration sets in and if you are anything like me will put you on hold until you come up with a solution. Find out how close your lens allows you to shoot the flower. Once you know these distances you are ready. Also ascertain what equipment you need in order to shoot the idea.
2. Learn the techniques
There are a number of basics you need to grasp before you can shoot flowers. For example, depth of field. When you are working at such a close working distance, you will find that you need to either blur out the background, using a small aperture f-number, or use a large f-number to get maximum focus. These both cause problems of their own, so master the use of depth of field.
3. Use a tripod
A tripod is an essential piece of equipment when shooting close-up. A stable platform is necessary as movement is one of the major problems when shooting a close-up photo. Movement is accentuated when working very close to a subject.
4. Shutter speed
Understanding shutter speed is coupled with point 3, as you use it to limit movement by choosing a fast shutter speed. This also compensates for any camera shake from either hand holding the camera or the subject moving too fast.
5. Time of day
Bright overcast days are perfect, especially when there is a little indirect sunshine. An overcast sky acts as one big diffuser creating soft lighting conditions. With close-up photography you don’t want light that is too bright or not enough.
6. Watch your backgrounds
This is so important because you want to accentuate the flower and not the leaves or weeds in the background. If necessary, use a piece of colored card as a background. By using a shallow depth of field you will be able to blur out most of the background and lift the colorful flower, thereby isolating it. If the background is too busy it may still distract despite the use of a shallow depth of field.
7. The oldest trick in the book
A small atomizing spray bottle is a great trick for flower photography. Those little droplets of dew are often just a quick spray of the flower with water. Try it next time you take a flower. Don’t overdo it until you have finished then add a little more to create some larger droplets.
Flower photography is an art and cannot be summarized in one article. These tips will get you going and hopefully inspire you to go the whole distance. Happy shooting!
About the Author:
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years. Passionate about photography, radio and video, he is a Radio CCFm producer and presenter in Cape Town.
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