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Photography in Bloom: Photographing Flowers

March 26, 2015 11:19 am

Even if flowers and trees aren’t quite ready to blossom, it’s still a good time to start preparing your photography gear for capturing the colors of NYC in bloom. With some helpful tips you can brush up and improve your skills to ensure that every spring tulip, daffodil, apple blossom and cherry blossom receives the attention, recognition and visual celebration is deserves after the long winter.

Gather your tools

If you’re someone who grew tired of shooting snow and dreary skies, it’s time to gather your gear and make sure everything is working properly for spring. Choose and clean your lenses, dig out your tripod, and free up space on your SD card in preparation of setting up for and shooting the perfect spring flower photos.

Think before pressing the shutter

It’s easy to become overexcited by the site of things blooming in the spring, but snapping photos of every flower you see without considering composition, lighting and angle can result in an overwhelming number of photos to sort through later. Take the time to enjoy and examine the beauty of the flowers and tree blossoms with your eyes before picking up your camera. As you frame up the flower in your viewfinder, consider if you want a close or wide-angle shot, find the focal point such as the stem or color, examine the lighting, and take note of the foreground and background of the image.

pink blossoms on cherry tree

Select the right lenses

For most point and shoot cameras, you’re limited to the lens and zoom options on the device, but if there’s a macro mode, it can be useful for capturing the finer details of flower photography. DSLR cameras give you more options with interchangeable lenses that allow the use of macro lenses. Macro lenses come in several focal lengths from 50mm to 180mm and beyond. The shorter the focal length, the closer you need to be to the flower so you might have to change out lenses depending on subject matter (such as an insect on a petal) and location.

Find and highlight subjects

Finding flowers and tree blossoms to shoot might be as easy as walking out your front door, but if it’s not, take the time to explore the city and find the type of blooms that appeal to you. Once you’ve found your flowers, be mindful of distractions in the background or foreground. Some background elements add interest, such as the stone texture of a building as the backdrop for a container garden full of softly colored tulips. Other backgrounds such as an area under construction are too busy and abstract. If possible, remove objects that ruin the shot but if you can’t, move yourself to a better position or crop out distractions by going in tight on the flower. Narrow the depth of field by choosing a wider aperture and shift distractions out of focus as you highlight your chosen flower.

Consider focus and focal point

With the proper focus, every flower photograph is beautiful, but Macro photography can reveal stunning details, textures, and colors. If you decide to use Macro lenses for your flower photography, remember that the smallest adjustments have a large influence on your image because of the small depth of field. Attention to detail is paramount when focusing in Macro photography. No matter what type of lens you choose for flower photography, identify the point of interest and ensure it’s sharp and crisp in the image. As you examine the flower or tree blossoms, decide where you want the eye drawn to and apply the rule of thirds to find just the right petal, stamen, stem, or leaf. When shooting outdoors, keeping things in focus and sharp is challenging, especially if it’s windy, but indoor or in more sheltered locations, you have less interference from natural elements like wind and rain.

close up image yellow pansy

Work with light

On a sunny day outside there’s ample light for your shots, but you may still need a reflector or artificial light depending on the location of the flowers and the time of day. The flash on your camera can wash out images when aimed directly at the subject matter so consider bouncing the flash off another object or using a flash diffuser to create a more natural look. Diffusing the light and using colored reflectors has a strong impact on your shot so don’t be afraid to experiment.

tulip in sunlight

Incorporate artistic perspective

When you’re trying to capture the beauty of spring blossoms, you might think that imperfect, wilted, or dying flowers don’t belong in your shots. However, those types of flowers offer a unique subject matter and can add interest to your image. Sometimes shots that are full of only perfect flowers can feel artificial and embracing the imperfections gives a more natural feel to the photograph. Also, consider going a bit abstract with your photos by focusing in close on certain parts of the flower that contain contrasting textures, colors, and patterns.

yellow daffodils

Capturing the many stages of spring as it blossoms in the city is the perfect way to embrace the change of seasons and improve your photography skills. You can trust Baboo Digital’s various photolab services to bring out the beauty in all of your flower photography shots.