Cap­ture the in­tri­cacy of flow­ers

Practical Photography (UK) - - Explore Nature -

THE BRIGHT colours, sweet scents and del­i­cate struc­ture of flow­ers un­doubt­edly make them one of the world’s most pho­to­genic nat­u­ral world sub­jects. In­ter­est­ingly, nearly all cul­tures on the planet feel the same way, with one the­ory sug­gest­ing it’s be­cause they’re of­ten a pre­cur­sor to ed­i­ble fruit. So if you want a sub­ject that is vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed to ap­peal to your viewer, a flower is just about as good as you can get.

There are lots of ap­proaches to pho­tograph­ing flow­ers, but here we’re fo­cus­ing on how to get high-end re­sults with a ba­sic, nat­u­rally lit, home stu­dio setup. Job one is to choose a flower. Try to stick to wide-headed flow­ers such as pop­pies or sun­flow­ers, rather than those with a deeper head such as a tulip. In our opin­ion, the per­fect flower for this pro­ject is the dahlia, although they’re not al­ways easy to buy. Be­fore you buy, sort through the avail­able stems to make sure you have a reg­u­larly shaped, un­dam­aged ex­am­ple, as bro­ken or browned petals don’t tend to look good. Once you’ve cho­sen your flower, buy a sheet of A4 or A3 pa­per in the same colour, or as close as you can get. This will act as your back­drop, so tape it up next to your win­dow, be­hind the flower.

Un­like work­ing out­side, win­dow light is very di­rec­tional, so will cre­ate shad­ows be­hind the petals that give the flower tex­ture and depth. To ex­ag­ger­ate this, keep the head of the flower per­pen­dic­u­lar to the win­dow so that light strikes it from one side. For larger flow­ers, you can use your kit lens for this pro­ject, but for smaller heads you’ll need a macro lens, or one of the macro mod­i­fiers from page 40.

In the four steps be­low, we show you how to set up your cam­era and fo­cus your im­age for the sharpest

pos­si­ble re­sults, and how to use a sim­ple DIY re­flec­tor to lift any ex­ces­sive shad­ows.

Above Pick up a range of back­grounds to use with dif­fer­ent coloured flow­ers.

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