When I first started photography in 2006, I studied a lot of images from books and Flickr. One of my favourite images to look at were those of flowers. I spent hours in my neighbor’s garden, rolling in the dirt, photographing her flowers. By the way, my mother was never too pleased with me coming home with stained jeans every time.
Flowers are relatively easy subjects to come by and photograph – after all, they don’t complain or get camera shy. Here are a few general rules of thumb for photographing flowers:
1. Soft neutral light
The vibrant colors and intricate details of flora are best captured in a soft light. As usual, avoid harsh direct sunlight and look for soft shades. I shot these images at the Toronto Flower Market on a overcast day. The heavy clouds provided a great softener for the light and didn’t produce any shadows. To perserve the original colors of the flowers, photograph them in neutral or natural light. For this reason, I tend to avoid the warm or cool tinted lights of flower shops and default to photographing outdoors.
2. Wide aperture
Aperture controls how much lights the lens lets in. A wide aperture lets in more light than a narrow aperture; wide aperture also produces a blur between foreground and background. For flowers, as is with shooting macro photography, leave your aperture wide open. This creates a long depth of field and highlights the subject of your photograph.
In flower photography, it’s crucial to get your focus sharp especially when you are shooting with your aperture wide open. Just a small movement can shift the entire focus of your shot and ruin an image. The key is to identify the point of interest, is it a drop of water on a pedal or the stigma of the flower – find the focal point and make sure that it’s sharp.