Photographing flowers is perhaps one of the most common form of photographing the beauty of nature. It offers diverse options with an assurance of beautiful results every time you take the shot. The colors, shape, form and delicacy of the flowers make it the “most-photographed” subject irrespective of the level of the photographer. The beginner finds it easy to photograph the beautiful colors whereas the pro-photographer challenges himself in taking brilliant shots of the wonderful creation of nature.
Choose The Subject
Flower photography is full of opportunities. You can start with photographing a bunch of flowers and eventually drill down to photograph the beauty of a lonely flower. The delicacy and elegance of flowers is tenderly transmitted to the photographs as well. Either you choose to photograph the floral rows or you plan to photograph the fine details of the flowers, everything comes out to be just awesome — the flower buds, the pollen grains, the blooming flowers or the bunch of flowers; all portray the unparalleled beauty of nature.
Showcase the Depth Of Field
Depth of field does wonders in flower photography. It enables you to photograph the rows of flowers at stretch on one hand and on the other hand help you in isolating the center of interest from the rest of the flowers and beautiful ornamental elements in the surrounding. Tune the camera to aperture priority mode and set the aperture to the widest (it is f/ 5.6 on my camera) to get the shallow depth of field which helps in portraying the delicacy of the flowers against soothing and complimenting hues and colors of blurred background.
Composition Is The Key To Aesthetics Of Floral Photography
When practicing the macro photography, filling the entire frame is a good option to portray the beauty, elegance and delicacy of the flowers. On the other hand, portraying the flower on the edges of the frame helps in drawing the viewers attention to the aesthetics of the subject. Along with it, placing the subject according to the golden ratio or in the rule of thirds compliments the composition. Apart from the placement, one thing which makes difference is the angle of shooting. Photograph the flowers from sides and use the lights to your advantage instead of focusing on the face of the flower alone.
Capture the Macro details
The beauty of the flowers lies in the minute details, fine textures and the portraiture of colors. These three elements when portrayed on the photographic frame, attach meaning to the elegance of the framed beauty. The minute details in form of the delicacy of petals, strands of the pollen grains, fine textures and gradating colors of the petals can be photographed by turning the camera to macro mode. The camera in this mode enable you to shoot the minute details of the macro subjects like flowers. Additionally, using the macro lens helps you in diving into the fine details of the flowers to make excellent floral photographs.
Lighting— Introduce the dramatic effects
Lights play an important role in photography and so is the case with flower photography. Understanding the features, effects and techniques of lighting comes in handy for taking great shots of whatever the subject be. The quality of light, direction of light and techniques of controlling light help in portraying the essence of the subject and aims at introducing the dramatic effects in the photographs.
- Soft Light: Soft light is an advantage for flower photography. The soft light reduces the contrast between the highlights and the shadows and thus enable you to get well-saturated vivid colors in the final result. Therefore, an overcast day and the rainy season are considered best for photographing flowers. You can however use diffusers to soften the light or photograph the flowers in open shade to take advantage of soft light.
- Back Lighting:Throwing the light from the backside of the flower help in portraying the transparency and delicacy of the flowers. For example, photographing the flower field against the sun gives the glassy (and glossy) effect to flowers that block the sun and render varied tones to the rest of the flowers.
- Side Lighting: The direction of light is crucial for portraying partial details. When you photograph the flower faced to light on one of the sides, it tends to cast beautiful shadows onto the other flowers or perhaps the petal itself. These overlapped shadows introduces an element of interesting-ness in the photograph.
Use Filters To Intensify The Colors
The essence of floral photography lies in portraiture of well-saturated and vivid colors. To enhance the colors and portray the beauty of flowers, you can use red, green or blue intensifiers (or filters), which help in intensifying the specific color in the scene. Additionally underexposing the shot by -0.3 to -0.7EV will darken the colors resulting in some out-of-the-world shades.
When a good portion of the frame is filled with a single color, the camera may get tricked and see it as a color cast. You’d be pretty safe as long as you shoot in RAW. Your RAW editor will allow you to reset or change the white balance during post-processing. But if you shoot jpeg, then altering the white balance during post-processing will be quite a task. Color is a primary and prominent of imagery when shooting flowers. It’s important to retain as much of the original color as possible with all it’s warmth and feel intact. And there will certainly be times when you will choose to retain the color cast or warmth in the scene for the beauty of it irrespective of it being unnatural.