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How to do More Unique Flower Photography

Do you love to photograph flowers? Flowers are the most beautiful things to photograph. They have texture, color and come in wonderful shapes.

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To create unique flower photography:

  • Use a 50mm or a telephoto lens.
  • Photograph with backlighting to enhance the transparency of the petals.
  • Choose camera angle carefully – photograph from below to obtain unusual shapes, photograph at eye-level to create a realistic look.
  • Get closer – try making an abstract
  • Look for great backgrounds – declutter the is using bokeh and a shallow depth of field.
  • Quality and color of light – photograph under diffused lighting, during the golden hour, or with the sun at an angle to enhance color, texture and depth.

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About lenses

A wide-angle lens will allow you to add more background and may distort a bit depending on the camera angle. You will have more details in your photograph. A 50mm or a short telephoto will allow you to show the flower with little environmental information. It will not distort the flower.

Backlight it

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Use back lighting to enhance the petals. Some petals have a beautiful translucence. You will see the awesome veins and their designs. Shoot your photos of flowers towards the sky. If the sky is blue it will add a nice contrast and if it’s cloudy it will add drama to your photograph. Be aware that the sun needs to be on either side of your flower. The sun should not be pointing towards your camera or you will get a silhouette or lens flare.

Choose your camera angle

Photograph from below the flower and you will see unusual shapes. Many people forget to shoot from this position. It may not be the most comfortable one (you might find yourself flat on a pebbled ground) but it’s worth a try. You will find very original views and shapes from this viewpoint.

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Change the camera position often. Photograph with the camera at eye level for a more realistic look and then photograph from above and below.

When you find a flower, move around and look for a good angle. If the background has too many things going on you will need to change the camera height or the position.

Get close – make an abstract

Get close to the flower. Make your photograph about texture and color. Have you thought about how to extract and abstract your flower? Photograph parts of the flower with parts of background details. The closer you get the more abstract your image will become. You will eventually start to show lines or just color.

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When you dissect an object, it will appear in a very different way than when you originally saw it. You will be showing your point of view. Your unique creativity will be taking over the composition. Study your flower and change its look with your framing.

The Background

Have you noticed that when the background looks good, everything will look good? This is why it’s a good idea for you to photograph with a large aperture. You will be able to soften up the background and make the composition exclusively about the flower.

Make sure to declutter your background so that your flower will be the center of attention. You can declutter by using a shallow depth of field and by moving around until you find a suitable background. Use the stems and leaves to frame the flower. They will add an interesting design to your image.

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A good way to declutter the background is to shoot with a large aperture. This means that you can use f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, etc. Bokeh is also a great way to declutter the background. It will add a surreal look and make the flower stand out.

If you who have a zoom lens with the largest aperture of f/4.0 or f/5.6: Set your lens to 50mm or 70mm. To blur the background nicely, the flower needs to be far away from the background. Make sure that you are close to the flower and the flower is at least three to five feet away from the background.

If you are photographing with backlight it’s not crucial to have a blurry background because the sky will provide for the background.

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How to show texture

Photograph when the sun is at a low angle to enhance texture. Late afternoon or early morning will provide for a good sun angle. You will obtain great texture when you photograph under diffused light. This can be in the shade, or on bright, but cloudy days. The diffused light will provide for even lighting and the textures and details of the flower will be enhanced.

If you want to show the leaves and parts of the flower an f-stop of f/8 will be good.

Light – quality and color

The color of your flower will be subject to the quality of the light you are shooting under. You will like the effect that you get when you work under a nice soft and diffused light. The nuances of the colors will show up more. You will see more tone variations. Depth will be more visible. When you add that to the shallow depth of field technique, your flower will have an artistic and special look.

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Photograph during the golden hour (early morning and sunset) to achieve a lovely warm tone on your flower. This light is a soft light. It will show depth and dimension and give it a realistic look. It is best to have the sun coming from either side. It’s very flattering to the flower.

The worst type of light is midday sunlight, and when the sun is hitting the subject directly (from the camera angle not the side). These two lights will make the flower look flat and the whole photograph will lack depth. Avoid midday sunlight and direct light.

Do you have any additional tips for doing more unique flower photos? Please share in the comments below.

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Marguerite Beaty

Marguerite Beaty is originally from Brazil. She worked as a stockbroker in São Paulo and changed careers after a move to New York. She started her photography studies at the School of Visual Arts and completed them in Miami where she earned a full scholarship from the University of Miami. Marguerite’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums. She is currently focusing on teaching, traveling, and photographing.