How to Photograph Flowers -- Part III

Article and Photography by Ron Bigelow

www.ronbigelow.com

In Part II of this article series, a general approach to flower photography was presented. In this article, some specific techniques that can be used within that general approach are covered.

Raindrops

Figure 1: Raindrops

Raindrops or dewdrops can be used to enhance just about any flower image. This is especially true when the raindrops or dewdrops reflect the surrounding flowers. This is illustrated in Figure 1 which shows a poppy that was photographed during a break in a rainstorm.

The nice thing about raindrop images is that a photographer can be out getting great images when most other photographers are inside groaning about the lousy weather. That is exactly what was done in the case of this poppy image. An umbrella to protect the camera and a raincoat to protect the photographer were used to get the shot.

Another nice thing about raindrop images is that the overcast sky produces a soft light that results in saturated colors.

Telephoto Compression

When photographing a group or field of flowers, it is often desirable to have the flowers appear close together. However, when a wide angle or normal lens is used, the flowers may appear to be relatively far apart. This problem can be solved by using a telephoto lens. This is because telephoto lenses compress distance.

Figure 2: Telephoto Compression

Figure 2 shows an image that resulted from this technique. The field of flowers where this image was taken was relatively dense. At first, a normal lens was tried. However, despite the dense field, the flowers looked too far apart. This did not convey what the photographer desired.

To resolve this issue, a telephoto lens and teleconverter were used. This solved the problem and resulted in an image that shows what the photographer intended.

Breaking Patterns

One way to add some interest to a flower image is to find a pattern and break it. Patterns in flowers are easy to find. The petals quite often provide a pattern. Then, it is just a matter of finding some way to break the pattern.

Figure 3: Breaking Patterns

Figure 3 shows how one image was created with this approach. The petals formed the pattern, and the center of the flower was used to break the pattern.

Flowers & Animals

By themselves, flowers can make impressive images. On the other hand, combining flowers with insects or other animals can also create great images.

Figure 4: Flower & Insect

Figure 4 shows how an insect and flower were combined to make an image.

For shots that include insects, the ability to focus close-up is required. For instance, this shot was taken with a 180mm macro lens. This focal length allowed for some working distance between the camera and the insect. Thus, the frame was almost completely filled up with the spider without disturbing the spider.

Flowers & Environment

Figure 5: Flowers Enhancing an Environment

Flowers do not always have to be the main attraction in an image. Sometimes, flowers can be used to enhance other objects. For instance, in Figure 5, flowers were used to enhance the atmosphere of a foggy trail on an early spring morning.

Conclusion

Flowers provide a very rich opportunity for photographers. You can travel a thousand miles to photograph flower fields in alpine meadows or photograph flowers in your backyard. You can take images of vast flower fields or move in close for macro shots. You can photograph flowers early in the morning of a sunny day or turning a break in a rainstorm.

However, as I think about flower photography, I think that the thing that most impresses me is the excitement that flower photography elicits. As I finish this article, it is late winter, and I find myself checking the wildflower hot sheets everyday looking for some sign of the blooms to come. I think that says it all.

Articles

Flowers -- Part II