Monday, May 11, 2015

Flower Power

Well the April showers did not disappoint, and whether it’s blooming trees or beautiful gardens, the May flowers are here. Stop and smell the roses, and then take a couple shots for good measure! Here are some ideas and tips to imbue your photography with flower power!

Get higher
The most common angle for shooting flowers seems to be straight on, and while this angle does provide the most classic flower profile, consider a different angle and see where it takes you. Get down really low and shoot UP, capturing sun and blue sky (or taller flowers and green trees) in the background. 
Shooting up yields a striking blue background, the sky!
Or get up high, stand on a chair, a ladder, climb a tree,  (carefully!), or just stand up and see what the different perspective yields.

Stand out in a crowd
Shallow depth of field is probably the most satisfying way to photograph a single flower or small group. By isolating your subject against delightful bokeh you highlight the beauty of that single bloom. To do this you’ll need a lens that can achieve this effect, like a Sigma 50mm 1.4 or the Sigma 18-250 f3.5/6.3. Or try isolating for color, for example look for the one renegade yellow blossom among all the red ones, or the single flower blooming in an unlikely place.

All together now
We've all seen the images of the Dutch tulip fields, where large blocks of color are made up by millions of individual blossoms. If you can’t travel to the Netherlands for a shot like that, try to imitate it where you are. Here’s where a higher angle can make it look like the expanse of flowers is larger than it really is, and maybe a little reminiscent of that color block appearance.

Flowers +
Despite the whole April showers bringing flowers thing, when it comes to photographs, sunshine and flowers just seem like the perfect couple. But as we mentioned in our post about Macro photography, sometimes after a rain is better time to shoot, as if you’re shooting close up you can have the added interest of tiny water droplets on the flower petals. But if the day is sunny, don’t fret, there are still ways to add some interest to your flower image. If you shoot at a low angle, you can capture some sun flare, and let’s face it is there anything that says summer better than a shot of a field of flowers and some sun flare?

Shallow DOF and sun flare can add dramatic flair to a simple image of a flower.

You can also ask a friend to pose at the edge of the frame, adding scale and interest to an otherwise static image. Or if you’re shooting from your full height, how about an image that includes your feet? The tips of your shoes are always a fun, personal way to add yourself to an image without crossing into “selfie” territory.

Up close
Last month we discussed some great tips for macro photography, including flowers, so if you missed it, *shameless plug* here’s the link. If your bag contains a macro lens, you're in business, if you don't have one and are looking to start out on a budget, check out the Sigma 18-250mm f3.5/6.3

Sometimes Mother Nature doesn't cooperate when it comes to lighting, so reflectors are a good way to add a little bit of control to natural light. Use flash carefully, as it can wash out the colors, but if you need the extra boost, pair it with a diffuser like this LumiQuest UltraSoft to soften up the light.

With a dose of creativity, minimal gear and maybe some sunscreen, you can make evocative images that might inspire you to stop and smell (and shoot) the flowers more often!