I don’t know about you but I’m ready to get my walking shoes on a look for signs of spring. I can’t think of anything better than listening to the birds chirping while taking pictures of new life.
There is so much to photograph from the carpet of flowers blooming to the once bare branches which are now covered with beautiful blossoms. It makes no difference if you choose to shoot close-up or from more of a wider view.
Here’s a few tips I follow when shooting flowers:
- First thing you need to do is “Find the Light”. Most flowers look amazing with the sun back lighting them. The petals seem to be translucent. You will need to check your histogram and or take a test shot to make sure your flower is not under-exposed. Remember, with this bright light your camera will think everything is too bright and try to darken. The way to fix the problem is to look on the back of your camera for the +- (this is how you adjust your exposure compensation) push the button and you will see the exposure bar. If you move it to the right your image will brighten which will fix the exposure of this shot. (Don’t forget to move it back to 0 when you have taken your shots.
- I consider my composition. I try to avoid putting my flowers in the middle of the picture. I will also move around the flower looking for the cleanest shot. If something around your flower does not add to the image. Move it out! Change your viewpoint, shoot parallel, shoot from above, shoot from below to get the beautiful sky, shoot from each side. Get creative!
- This is a big! I call it, “Prepping for the shot”. When shooting flowers your background is as important as the flower it’s self. You need to tidy up by moving any branches, leaves etc from in front of your focus. After you have done this. Get down to the level of the flower. Look through your view finder for mulch or leaves that are light in color these may reflect the sun which will give you an unattractive white color in your final image. You might also have dead flowers that need to be removed. (see red circle below)
- To get that beautiful blur (Bokeh) we all love. Shoot with the smallest aperture your camera will allow. (Most of my images you see here were shot with my 100mm with an aperture of 4.5 or 5.6). I typically shoot my flowers in aperture-priority to have the most control over my depth-of-field. With that said I will take a shot at f4.5 and f8 to see which I like better. When shooting in aperture priority you need to watch your shutter. If it gets below 1/60 or is windy you will need to raise your ISO to increase your shutter speed.
- Try switching your lens to manual focus (rather than auto focus). This will allow you to be more accurate with focusing exactly where you want it. Also try moving your point of focus around rather than letting your camera choose your focus point. — refer to your camera manual for instruction on “Selecting the AF point”.
- If you notice unwanted shadows, hotspots, or your lighting is just poor. Try using a reflector. Don’t have one? No problem! Grab a white poster board to bounce light into the shadows, you can even cover the board with aluminum foil. The amount of light you bounce can be changed simply by moving forward or backward from the flower.
- Have fun! Take in the sounds, smell and beauty Spring gives us!