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Do you think flower photography is boring? Or even too easy and obvious? I mean, of course, when you point your camera at a pretty flower you’re going to get a pretty photograph. Right?
But a subject that you feel is boring and easy is actually the perfect one to challenge yourself with. Can you make a flower image that is creative and dramatic somehow?
Here are a few ideas to get you started making more dramatic flower photos.
Often flower photos are made under soft lighting conditions, either in the shade or on an overcast day. This is because of the soft and delicate nature of a flower which lends itself to that type of light.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. For a more dramatic image, try to find a flower that has direct light on it and shade behind it. High contrast scenes feel more dramatic and your flower will stand out against a darker background.
Most flower photos are made from a perspective looking right into the open flower. Try other perspectives for more interesting compositions. You can look at the flower from above, from the side, or from underneath.
To make the image below, my camera was on the ground looking directly up at the flower. Because the sky was so much brighter than the flower, it created a more high-key type of image with light shining through the petals making them appear to glow.
When I made the next image, I was interested in the lines created by the petals of a dahlia the size of a dinner plate. Most photos would include the whole flower, but I only included a small portion of the huge flower taken from a side angle.
In one of my favorite techniques for flower photography, I use a telephoto lens and focus on a flower that is around five feet away. Then I position the lens so that another flower is right in front of it. Because the close flower is extremely out of focus, it creates a soft area of color in front of the main subject.
This is especially effective if you can find two flowers that are complementary colors (opposite) on the color wheel.
One of the most frustrating things you encounter when photographing flowers is wind. A little bit of wind you can handle with a faster shutter speed, but sometimes the wind is just too much and your flower is blowing all over the place.
When this happens, just go with the flow! Instead of trying to get a sharp image, go with a slow shutter speed and capture the motion of the flower moving in front of your lens.
Most flower photos contain only the flower with no context. But you can also make an environmental portrait that shows the flower and its surrounding environment, like the one below.
Another of my favorite techniques I refer to as an echo. For your main subject, find a flower that has another virtually identical flower behind it. Use a shallow depth of field and focus on your main subject letting the flower behind fall out of focus. This creates a sort of echo of the main subject.
When photographing flowers, most photographers search for perfect specimens to be the main subject. But perhaps more interesting subjects are the less than perfect flowers. They can be dead flowers, ones with flaws, or even flowers that have fallen over.
In the image below, I was attracted to the raindrops that were on the side of this fallen tulip. Flowers with raindrops are not uncommon, but the tulip on its side is a bit more unusual.
You can also introduce effects in post-processing to make unique and dramatic flower photos. Try experimenting with textures or edge effects.
For the image below, I added an edge effect in post-processing to draw the viewer’s attention to the shape of the petals.
What else can you think of? Flower photography doesn’t have to be boring or predictable. In fact, any subject that you find boring and predictable is a challenge waiting for you to unleash your own unique perspective. How do you make more dramatic flower photos?