Flowers are a popular subject for photography, full of color, texture, patterns and personality. Here are a few tips to capture beautiful and stunning images of your flower garden
Slow Down & Learn to See
Leave your camera in your backpack initially, put your phone away and walk slowly, observing all that is around you. I find that being in nature naturally relaxes me and puts me in a more contemplative state of mind. The distractions of the day exit, my mind clears, and my senses are more aware. Train your eye to notice details, look for interesting lines, sensuous curves, a unique curl of a petal or leaf. Learn to see your subjects more abstractly, in terms of lines, color, texture, patterns and mood.
Learn to Work with Light
Light is one of the most important elements in all genres of photography and key to beautiful flower portraits. Just like we need to slow down and learn to see to find interesting subjects, we also need to learn to recognize the quality and the direction of light best suited for photographing flowers. Generally speaking, you want to photograph flowers in soft, diffuse light. You want to avoid the harsh highlights and deep shadows that strong light produces. Early morning when the sun is low in the sky is the perfect time to get a more subdued light, and it also adds another important element, side light. Side light will act to bring out details and texture in your flowers and make them appear more three-dimensional.
Pay Attention to Your Background
Good, clean backgrounds are essential to a beautiful flower portrait. A messy, distracting background can ruin an image and pull the eye away from the main subject. Learn to position yourself. Before you set up your shot or put your camera on a tripod, look through your lens and move around. Watch what happens to your background. By moving just a fraction of an inch you can completely change a background, eliminate a bright spot of light or distracting elements. Choose flowers that have darker foliage and cleaner backgrounds or backgrounds that are in a distance.
Learn to Work Your Flowers
Once you find an interesting subject, work that subject to its fullest. A good starting point is to ask yourself what drew you to the flower, how does it make you feel? Then, think about how you can compose to bring that element or feelings to others’ eyes. Perhaps it is a an interesting curl of a dahlia petal, a gentle curve of a leaf or the curve of a stem that makes the flower appear to be dancing. Shoot up under the flower, or even behind the flower. Sometimes the backs of flowers are much more interesting than the fronts. By experimenting and working your subject, you will come up with new ideas and perhaps have some aha moments.
Flowers are readily available and beautiful, joyful subjects to photograph. Go and enjoy your garden.