Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flower Photography Tips

Continuing this week's flower theme... I'm not sure what this one is, but I thought it had interesting two-toned petals that lit up in the warm, evening light. Here are three suggestions for taking better flower photos this summer...
1. Focus... With such a narrow depth of field (here, my aperture was f/5), it's often hard to know what should be in focus when shooting macros. Typically, I try to make sure the stem and the center of the flower are in focus (example here). For this shot, I intentionally focused on the tips of the petals, knowing that everything else would be thrown into bokeh.
2. Perspective... When taking flower shots, it's important to get a different perspective. Usually, to shoot straight down while standing over the flower doesn't make for an interesting perspective (here, I hope, is an exception). Instead, get low -- on their level. You might even try shooting it from beneath or behind (examples, here and here). Be creative!
3. Light... Besides focus and perspective, it's important to pay attention to the light. The soft and diffused light of a cloudy day or the warm and glowing light of early morning or late evening are almost always preferred. In most situations, it's best to avoid taking photos in harsh midday sunlight. The early evening light I captured above is almost too strong. A soft, even light would have completely changed the photo into a more serene, gentle image (example here). But as it is, the stronger, glowing light makes for a bolder image that I hope says "summer."

There are two kinds of light--the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.
--James Thurber (1894-1961) humorist and cartoonist


  1. Perspective exploration is great for creating dynamic imagery, especially when you're photographing a flower.

    Don't forget composition as well. Capturing an image of a flower but placing it right smack in the middle of the frame can often times come out boring. Try incorporating the rules of thirds and you'll see your images improve instantly!

    Damien Franco

  2. Thanks, Damien, for visiting and for the helpful advice. You're right about the rule of thirds -- it can make all the difference! Here is a write-up I did about that subject last December...(if anyone's interested!)...

  3. Thanks for the great go along with the great photography.


  4. hi mark, i think that's a gallardia, indian blanket flower maybe.

  5. I'm a little late to the party, and I know nothing about photography, but I know flowers, and that looks like a gaillardia to me. Otherwise known as, in less PC times, an Indian warbonnet.


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