“The Earth laughs in flowers” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love this saying so much. Flowers, to me, are little rays of sunshine, there to brighten my day. My passion in photography is to capture the beauty of these amazing works of nature. I love to go beyond the typical “flower shot” and really get creative. It’s easier than you might think to capture great photos of flowers, and here are a few tips to get you started!
TIP #1 | LIGHTING
Light will make or break a photo. In order to bring out the delicacy of the flower, you’re going to want to shoot in softer light. Try to avoid the harsh, mid-day sun. My favorite times for shooting flowers are just before or just after sunset when the sun is low on the horizon. The light is softer and seems to cast a magical glow over everything!
Take a moment to observe how the light falls over the flower. Choose an angle that gives depth and dimension to the petals, making the flower more visually interesting!
TIP #2 | LET’S TALK BOKEH
Use the widest aperture setting you have on your lens. I love to shoot with my 50mm f/1.4 or 28mm f/1.8 lenses and 95% of the time I am shooting with them wide open at 1.4 and 1.8. They have very wide apertures that allow me to throw the background way out of focus, and often parts of the flowers themselves. If you have a kit lens, don’t worry. You can get gorgeous shots from them, too; f/3.5 to f/5.6 can create some serious bokeh!
TIP #3 | ANGLE OF VIEW
Observe your flower from many different angles. Look for creative angles that might be unique and unexpected to show off the flower’s beauty.
TIP #4 | WHO’S AFRAID OF THE DARK?
Don’t be afraid to continue shooting when the sun goes down. If you really want to push your creativity and photo skills, shoot in low-light conditions. This will force you to think outside of the box and go beyond what you would normally do.
Raise your ISO. In the example on the left in the photos below, I set the ISO to 6400 on my canon 7D. You can see it added quite a bit of noise. For this image, I’m totally ok with it. I planned on a bit of grain, and think it adds the perfect touch to the mood and emotion I was going for.
You can also take advantage of directional light in low-light conditions to add dimension to the flowers. In the example photo on the right, I positioned myself so that the ambient light from the sunset was backlighting the clover flower, making the perfect spotlight for my subject!
TIP #5 | SEE BEAUTY IN EVERYTHING
You may be tempted to pass up the flowers that are wilting and on their way out of this world, but take a second look and you just might see some beauty in them, too. Use a wide aperture and creative angles we talked about earlier and you might be surprised with the great, unique flower shots you’re able to capture.
Next time, when you’re out photographing, take a few minutes to stop and smell, or shoot, the roses!