Photo: Pink Gardens by fLorEsta. Long Island City, NY. $129
You received a bouquet of your favorite flowers. After admiring their colors, delicate shapes, and fresh scent, what is there to do but take photos to share and save? The good news is that you don’t need any fancy equipment for fantastic photos. Patience, practice, and planning will do wonders to preserve memories of your flowers.
The flowers won’t last forever but your fantastic pictures will. Brought to you by various photographers, here is some helpful advice for indoor and outdoor photography.
1. Use the right settings for your pictures
Forgetting to use a camera’s macro setting is a common culprit for blurry, out-of-focus pictures. A tripod helps but the casual photographer may not own one. The macro setting, usually indicated by a flower icon, allows you to get closer to the flower and focus on detail. DSLR cameras have more options because lenses can be changed but point-and-shoots, as well as camera phones, will have this capability. If you have an option to shoot manual, different aperture settings (f-numbers) will lead to different details in your pictures.
2. Create texture and depth with natural light
Natural light coming in through a window or door prevents the flatness that flash photography can create and the blur that low lighting often leads to. Many photographers utilize the “golden hour,” or the hour right after sunrise and before sunset. The sun is low in the sky during this hour, producing a softer light. As you may have noticed in your own pictures, photos in the light of the midday sun, on the other hand, tend to have high contrast and a harsh appearance. If you plan to take photos when your lighting is too strong, try using a sheet of white paper to reflect and soften your light.
3. Keep the focus on your flowers by having a simple composition
An uncluttered background with soft colors won’t distract from your flowers, the main attraction. If you can’t isolate your flowers, try placing a plain piece of fabric or paper behind them. Bonus points if you follow the rule of thirds rather than keeping the flowers in the center of the shot. Whether horizontally or vertically, place your focal point at an area one-third of the way into your frame.
4. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
As with any other skill, practice makes perfect. Experiment with different settings, lighting, and composition for to find pictures that work for you and your flowers. By focusing on different parts of your subject, you can draw the eye to areas not often paid any attention. By changing aperture, you can create different levels in detail. Different levels of light allow for a wide variety of styles and atmospheres. The shapes on your window frame, for example, can create shadows that interact with your subject. Especially if you have a macro lens, you can take more abstract photos with a single petal or leaf taking up the entire frame. Next time you get the chance, take as many pictures as you can with different settings to expand your flower photography palate.