Wildflowers really attract attention. After all, they offer beautiful colors, graceful pedals, and dynamic color contrast. Just watch next time you pass a field full of wildflowers, and you will almost certainly see photographers nearby. On the other hand, while wildflowers are so beautiful, capturing that beauty in a photo takes some skill. In that light, this article looks at seven things that you can do to capture beautiful wildflower photos.
Start with Pristine Flowers
In order to create great wildflower images, one must start with the proper components. In this case, the proper components are the wildflowers. However, not just any wildflower will do. The wildflowers must be in pristine condition. Wildflowers that are not perfectly fresh, have marks, or have been partially eaten by bugs should not be used.
Identify a Center of Interest
Next, it is necessary to identify a strong center of interest. The center of interest is the part of the image that draws the viewer’s attention. A couple of examples are a ladybug on a wildflower pedal or a wildflower center that stands out from the rest of the wildflower. The center of interest is very important because it not only draws the viewer’s attention but also helps hold the attention on the image. Viewers quickly lose interest when an image has a weak center of interest.
Great composition (the way the images are arranged with respect to each other in an image) creates great photos. Now, there are many ways to compose an image. However, one very easy to use method that produces very good results is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds requires the photographer to mentally divide a scene into thirds (both in the vertical and horizontal directions). Then, the center of interest is simply placed at one of the intersections where the lines cross.
The rule of thirds can create some create compositions. These compositions usually have a balanced yet dynamic feel to them. Conversely, placing the center of interest at other points in the image can sometimes create weaker compositions. As an example, when the center of interest is placed at the center of an image, the result may be a weak image that has a static or less dynamic feel.
Subtract to Improve
With the center of interest properly placed within the image composition, the rest of the image objects should serve to draw attention to the center of interest. In other words, the other objects should direct the viewer’s eye toward the center of interest. The art of subtraction becomes very important at this point.
The art of subtraction involves removing every object from an image that does not help direct the viewer’s attention to the center of interest. For instance, if a stick is along the edge of an image and does not help the center of interest in any way, the stick should be removed from the image. This may require that the photographer recompose the image.
The art of subtraction is one of the best ways to strengthen an image. This is because any object that does not support the center of interest will distract from it by drawing the attention of the viewer from the center of interest.
Move in Close
When you move in close to the center of interest, the center of interest becomes larger and stronger. Moving in close also removes uninteresting detail that may be located along the edges of the image.
Contrasting Colors for more Dynamic images
Our attention is strongly drawn to color contrast. Furthermore, this is not just a psychological phenomenon. It is actually build into our sensory/perceptual systems. In other words, we are hard wired to respond to color contrast. As photographers, we can use this to our advantage by seeking out wildflowers with high color contrast. Thus, wildflowers with two or three contrasting colors make great subjects for photos.
This is a very powerful technique. In an image, leading lines point toward the center of interest. Leading lines actually do two things simultaneously. They strongly direct the viewer’s eye to the center of interest, and they emphasize the graceful nature of the wildflower in an image. Leading lines can be formed by the edges of the wildflower pedals, by colors of the wildflowers, or any other line or object that points toward the center of interest.
With these seven techniques, you should be on your way to creating great wildflower photos.
Interested in finding out more about photographing flowers? Check out Ron’s full length flower article at Flowers.