Flower Photography Techniques

"Great flower photos start with flower photography techniques that are more than just taking pictures of a subject."

flower photography techniques

Flowers can be both easy to photograph and at the same time difficult. Easy in that they don't move. Challenging in that the colors and the dainty petals can be lost with mishandling.

An imperfect flower will look more imperfect when photographed. However, with the use of good flower photography techniques you can capture images that are beautiful even from cameras that are not expensive professional cameras.

Have an assistant with a cloth (color coordinated!) backdrop to hold behind a flower which gives a different look to a flower growing in the garden. Make use of natural light but watch for shadows that cheapen the look.

A stunning look of 'mist' around photos can be created on your kitchen table. A few flowers, a little dry ice, a little water and add the right light for a beautiful look that is creative and inexpensive. This is also a way to use flower petals.

Look at flowers from many angles and use flower photography techniques that bring those angles to the front.

Another look can be done with shooting photos indirectly, through refracted dew drops. A camera, macro lens, flower and heavy dew on the grass is needed with a flash that is off camera preferred. This is a get down on the ground project but the results are gorgeous.

First you'll need to find blades with several droplets on them. Carefully place the flower just behind the droplet and shoot the refracted image. The result is the flower comes through in the droplet but the flower itself creates a colorful backdrop for the photo.

Get down to the level of the flower. Getting the texture of the petals can create that "almost looks fake" quality. If a butterfly or bee is fluttering nearby as you’re shooting a nice photo can be made even better with some patience and quick reactions. For close shots a macro setting will create sharp images but do check that you're focusing right. Auto focus sometimes can focus on the backdrop of the cement block rather than the photo petals.

Natural light works great to bring color onto your photo. If you must shoot mid day consider an assistant with a sheet to diffuse the light somewhat, reducing the glare that can result in washed out photos. If you don't have an assistant an EZcube light tent will do the same thing - place it over a flower and shoot into the open front. This helps eliminate harsh light and shadows in the final photo.

Many look at photos of flowers and see just the straight on view. Try some variety! For example try these flower photography techniques:

  • Shoot from an angle.

  • Shoot even closer, catching just a few petals.

  • Shoot behind a common flower, such as the underside of a sunflower with the familiar yellow petals around it.

  • Don't shy too much from the greenery around it.

  • Tripods can be an asset as you're zoomed in close where every movement blurs the image.

  • Remember the most beautiful flowers don't automatically photograph well. Your camera is your art.

  • In the same manner simple photos can yield a nice photo with positioning and light.

  • Use the rule of thirds - the photo subject doesn't have to be dead center. If you imagine your viewfinder with a grid of 9 sections, shoot where the lines cross which is slightly off center.

  • Use volume. If there's a mass of flowers on a roadside capture the large numbers. Celebrate the excess by shooting a wildflower meadow in bloom.

  • Experiment shooting cut flowers, flowers on water.

  • When you come across a beautiful flower shot, be it an individual flower or a larger burst of color, seek to capture it 10 different ways. This stretches your vision and lets you see more ways, more perspectives on capturing the flower.

  • While it's true that flowers don't move out of the shot as do animals, it can be a challenge to make them exciting. Use your imagination!

Another key tip is don't overlook less viewed flowers. Many photograph the beauty of roses, orchids and sunflowers but look around. Look down... and up! Fruit tree blossoms are simple flowers with the unique ability to look completely different later in the year. Clover, alfalfa, daisies and even, late in the season, flowers on basil and other herbs all offer unique photo opportunities.

Stretch your wings trying these flower photography techniques. The rewards are worth it!

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