In this part of Canada, Spring is here at last! With shoots appearing in my flower bed this week I thought it would be a great time to give you 3 quick tips for taking better photos of your blooms.
First of all it doesn’t matter what camera you have. Although most of the images I have here were taken with an SLR and macro lens, point and shoot cameras are excellent for flower photography as they can focus just a few inches from the subject. Before you start, find your macro setting on your camera. It’s icon is often a flower.
Now you’re ready to get started.
1) Look before you click
I always say to people, check the 4 corners of your viewfinder before you press the shutter. Often we are so focused on the subject we are photographing, we forget to look at the whole picture. This is a habit I developed shooting film. When you only have so many shots and each one costs you to develop, you want to make sure every one counts. Of course this doesn’t matter any more when you are only limited by the size of your memory card, but if you imagine you are using film, it makes you more careful not to include things that distract from your subject.
If there are distractions you have a few options:
- move them
- move yourself or
- move the flowers!
After taking this advice my 10 year old took this picture. Close by there was a building and some people that would have been distracting. By moving herself she was able to get a clean shot of the flowers. Now when we look at the image, the flowers are the focus.
2) Move closer
One of the best ways to instantly improve your flower photography is to move closer to the subject. This is where your macro setting will be helpful.
You don’t need the whole flower in the image to show how beautiful it is or tell it’s story. Do some experiments to see how close you can get. Then you can slowly move backwards to have more of the flower in the frame if you want. Getting very close can also help you see the beauty within the flower. And if you’re lucky you might even catch a bee or a butterfly! In these images, by moving closer, I caught a little bug and was able to focus on a rain drop.
Both were taken with an iPhone!
3) Get on your knees
When you take a photo of the flowers in your garden or in a park, how do you take the shot? For many people it’s from above. But this is not the most interesting angle for flower photography. I suggest getting down on your knees and looking at the flowers like you are taking their portrait. By now you have also moved in closer. Look at the shapes and colors and make a choice about how you are going to frame the flowers. Focusing on just one flower among the bed is also very effective. The first image here was taken from below the flower to have the blown-out sky as a neutral background. In the second image, by getting down close, I was able to see the beautiful curl in the flower petal. I wouldn’t have seen this if I had been taking the shot from above.
Later in the season I may write another article to expand on your new skills, but for now practice:
- looking carefully at the whole viewfinder
- isolating your subject
- moving in closer and
- changing your angle.
We look forward to seeing some of your shots, so feel free to share them!