Capture the intricacy of flowers
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.