17 Tips for Spectacular Flower Photographs.

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17 Tips for Spectacular Flower Photographs.

 I have had several requests to give some tips on photographing flowers. This has become a bit of a side interest for me; I enjoy photographing them so much. However they can be as frustrating as they are beautiful to photograph. Here are some quick tips that will get you to perfect faster.

 There are two main approaches to pictorial flower images. You either get up close, using a macro lens or a macro setting on your normal lens. Or you look at the big picture so to speak, getting them in their setting.

 The Big Picture approach.

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 1.     Have a point of interest. I know, they are all pretty, but one is either a different color, isolated or something that makes it more interesting, even if it’s a very shallow depth of field making it the only flower in focus.  All images need a focus point to the capture the viewer’s interest.

2.     Notice what’s happening around the flowers. The foreground could be just bland dirt; the flowers could be planted too far apart. You can crop the foreground; use a long lens to create compression so the flowers look closer together. Watch for garbage or other distractions.

3.     Have a unique point of view. Most photographs of flowers are taken from a standing position, so between 4.5 and 5.5 feet from the ground. Don’t photograph at that height. Go higher so you shoot down. Get lower so you shoot across or up.

4.     Pick your time of day. Midday is colorless and stark. Get up early with the light is fresh, bluish and soft. Shoot late in the day when the light is warm and dramatic.

5.     Use Bad Weather. Yes, get your raincoat on, catch the raindrops as they splash on the leaves. Get those dramatic storm clouds. Use a slow shutter speed during windstorms to capture the turbulent energy of the flowers.

6.     Try extreme lenses. Most people photograph with their 50 ml lens. Use a wide angle, try it in close, get the longest lens you have, try small f-stops and really big f-stops to give unusual looks to the photograph.

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 The Close up approach, using a macro or close focusing lens.

 1.     Use a tripod. Or at least a monopod, even with a fast shutter speed your focus point will move. You are in so close a half-inch shift could be 50% movement within the image. You need rock steady.

2.     Use diffusers or scrims. Soft light works best for detail. Use a diffuser; any white translucent material will do this. You can then photograph at any time of day.

3.     Use reflectors. Bring along little mirrors, or white cards or white/silver reflectors. You can shape the light on the flower. Make it glow. Fill in the shadows.

4.     Shallow depth of field. Macro photography is great for this; the focus can fall off really fast with these lenses. You can isolate a part of the flower very uniquely.

5.     Still have a point of interest. This cannot be mentioned enough, take the viewer someplace in the image.

6.     Deep depth of field. Having everything in sharp focus is startling too. If you are in very close, it is something we cannot see on our own so the image becomes fascinating.

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7.     Bring a glycerin mixture, about 50/50 mix of glycerin and water. Sprayed on the flower petals you get a fresh rain look. In close the droplets act like prisms.

8.    Use lens shades. In close you can easily get lens flare, so a lens shade will give you richer images.

9.     Drop down low so you shoot across the flower using the other flowers as out of focus background.

10.  Look for insects. They add extra life to your image. It will be tough to keep the focus on them but it will add wow to your image.

11.  Take the flowers indoors. Yes, they don’t have to planted; put them in a nice vase. Keep your background simple and uncluttered. Large white or colored cardboards work well.

 There are many more tips, books have literally been written on photographing flowers. Oh, don’t just focus on flowers either. Vegetables, weeds, tree sprouts; they all can look amazing. Be inspired by the many approaches you can find in a flower search. You don’t have to rely on what’s in your flowerbed; you can purchase an arrangement of flowers too.

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