Friday, February 12, 2010

Photographing Flowers

One of my favorite ways to photograph flowers is to move in really close, and fill the frame with a single flower, or sometimes just part of one. When I am making this type of image, I'm thinking more about line and color and shape, and less about capturing fine detail. When choosing your subject, look for flowers with great curves and soft color, such as roses, orchids, tulips and calla lilies. (Choose a pristine subject, when you are photographing this close, any flaw will be magnified and prove distracting). Really look at the flower you have chosen, examine it from every angle, decide what you find most interesting and capture it! This type of photography is interpretive, you want to capture what you are seeing and feeling about the subject in a simple manner.

You'll need equipment that lets you move in really close to fill the frame, use either a macro lens, extension tubes, or a wide angle lens with a reversing ring. Extension tubes are great, you can use them individually with larger flowers, or stack a set of two or three for really moving in close to smaller blooms.

Set your aperture to the largest your lens has, these images should be all about romance, soft and sensual, you don't want or need every detail in sharp focus. (If you are using a Lensbaby, use extension tubes or the macro filters and shoot wide open or with the F/2.8 aperture ring). Manually focus on a single petal edge, line or curve, and let the rest of the image go to soft blur. Shooting so close with such limited Depth of Field can create a very romantic image, with soothing lines and curves and relaxing colors. You can do this type of shooting year round, flowers can be purchased everywhere these days! Who couldn't use a little flower therapy in February? If you start practicing now, and you'll be ready when those spring flowers bloom!

Kathleen Clemons
PPSOP Instructor & Director of Student Happiness

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