Flowers


Hints and tips from Philip Grosset


It is surprisingly easy to take very pleasing flower pictures. Experiment to find out how close in your camera will focus, then, if necessary, subsequently crop away the unwanted parts of the picture so as to produce big close-ups.


The appearance of the flower is much affected by the lighting. Do you prefer the effect produced by sunshine (on the left) or shade (on the right)? Many people prefer the more gentle diffused light in the shade, as then there are no ugly shadows, but others choose sunshine for bright colors, then diffused light for more delicate colors. (If you do choose sunshine, it's usually best to avoid the hours around mid-day. You can often get more interesting pictures when the sun is lower in the sky.) But there's no definite right or wrong about all this: it's up to you to decide exactly what effect you want to achieve. The best way to learn is by trial and error.
The above pictures were taken on two successive days. Notice that the background flower has come out in the second picture. You have to choose exactly the right moment to take flower photos.

A very dark background can be very effective, as it helps the flower to stand out really clearly and makes the colors seem more vivid.

Photo by Rod Gray.

A totally black background can often produce dramatic results. You can try to achieve this by mounting a black card behind the flower, but I prefer to use a photo editing program to get the same result afterwards.
Colored or white backgrounds can look good too.
Backlighting, like this, can produce really pleasing effects. It's certainly worth experimenting with.
Photo by Nathaniel Salang.
Another way of avoiding cluttered backgrounds is to throw them right out of focus, as here. This can be done if your camera phone offers differential focusing, or by the subsequent use of a photo editing program. The result looks much more natural than when using a black background.
Photo by Aaron Gustwiller.
This oblique camera angle gives more of a 3D effect than a full frontal view, and is good for showing stamens, but less effective for revealing symmetrical patterns. It is usually worth taking the same subject from several different angles to see which one works best.
Photo by Geri Scull.
Don 't be afraid to experiment with flash. Try it out and see if it causes any problems. such as over exposure (picture too light/washed out) if you get too close.
Groups of flowers often work best if, as here, there is one dominant point of interest in the foreground.

This is a most attractively composed picture. Photos of single flowers are often more arresting than groups, but here the photographer has managed to get the best of both worlds, by letting the reds in the background echo the color of the main tulip, carefully placed off-center to produce the most pleasing result. But differential focusing ensures that the emphasis remains on it.
Photo by Frans Limas.
These two photos by Nandou Lu were sent to me for comment.
Of course, you don't always have to show the whole flower. It can be interesting to pick out just the most interesting part, as in these excellent photos. This would not be easy to achieve on a camera phone, but focus in as close as you can, crop away the parts you don't want, and you may get a pleasant surprise.
Raindrops (or dew) can add to a picture's appeal, so some photographers sprinkle water onto their photos to get the desired effect. But don't do it every time or it may look as though you live in a tropical rainstorm!



TO SUM UP: have a go and see what happens!



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