Spring is a fantastic time of year to be outdoors with a camera or your smartphone as nature is bursting with so much energy and colour. A walk in the woods in springtime will reveal a myriad of wild flowers, our gardens and parks will have plenty of subjects to photograph too.
Nowadays with our phones we are all photographers, but what makes one photograph really stand out from the others? The answer to that is there is no single correct way to photograph flowers, however, certain elements do have to be taken into consideration to make that shot stand out from the crowd.
Firstly before you start, in your cameras settings, select the highest possible resolution. This is also the same if you are using your phone. This will give you clearer detail in your images, enabling the image to be used larger without signs of blurriness or noise.
Time of day is an important consideration when taking your photographs, the early bird really does catch the worm! Harsh midday sun makes most subjects look unflattering. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times of day as the light is warmer, less harsh and the colours of the plants look richer. Mornings also tend to be more still, flowers are hard to photograph when they are moving around too much. Windy days are the toughest to photograph flowers on, unless you choose to use the blur creatively with a slower shutter speed.
Weather. Most people are surprised to hear that overcast days can be very beneficial for garden and flower photography. This is because clouds act as a perfect light diffuser, creating even lighting and saturation without the worry of harsh highlights or shadows.
Consider your subject before rushing to photograph it. Walk around and see what you are drawn to, see how the light plays on the flowers. Think about your composition, how is the subject going to fill the frame? Backlit flowers will always look good if the petals are translucent as it accentuates the colours of the petals, giving off a luminesence and showing off the patterns. Don`t be afraid to try out different angles, getting down to the same height as a flower is very effective, or look up to flowers from below them.
The background of your photograph is very important as untidy, busy, cluttered backgrounds destroy a shot as the viewers eye gets distracted away from the subject. If there are shadows use them to make the flower stand out, or move in closer to the subject.
For close ups we would always recommend the use of a tripod, they allow you to frame the flower perfectly and keep the image sharp. A tripod also allows you better control over the depth of field in the shot. Remember to really look at the flower to see it is free of blemishes or missing petals.
If you do hand hold your camera, as a very general rule of thumb with a standard lens 1/60th of a second is the minimum shutter speed to use, with longer lenses such as a 200mm look around 1/250th of a second to avoid camera shake. For checking correct exposure always check your histogram not the LCD preview.
Rain can also add to your spring flower photography, April showers can add beautiful raindrops to your photographs giving a clean fresh feel.
Finally break the rules, experiment and have fun, try out new angles and backgrounds, you might be surprised with the results you obtain.
The photograph above is an Allium 'Purple Sensation' photographed against the sun and post processed in Lightroom.
Try out different processes such as black and white such as the photograph above of a tulip which was photographed with a macro lens.
Finally when photographing wildflowers be careful not to tread on other flowers and leave them just as you found them for insects and others to enjoy.
If you are on Instagram tag us with #GPGHQ we would love to see your Spring flower photographs.
Instagram: Garden Photography Gallery