How to Photograph Flowers

White Rose Close Up

There’s something about Spring . . . a certain enchantment that draws us outdoors into the balmy air and freshly dappled sunlight, in our case often with cameras in hand. Roses make a timeless subject, apart from being such an exquisite source of inspiration and tranquility. I’ve selected three simple shots of single blooms to share a few pointers for those of you who are interested in playing a bit.

First of all, as these illustrate, the background that you select can make a powerful impact on the image, contributing to the mood as much as the composition. While the photograph above has a delicate, wedding-like dreaminess, the following one is full of light-hearted happiness:

Rose against sky background

As you can guess, it took some manoeuvering to get low enough relative to the rose in order to feature a clear sky background, but I just can’t resist an infinitely blue sky. The end result is typically worth the effort of brushing some dirt off your clothes 🙂

This third example below features a far more moody, enigmatic background, taken against the dark shadows of a section of our garden. At first glance, though, none of these scenarios really differentiated themselves. It took moving around, with the sun warming my back, and trying out different aspects to discover what worked best.

Rose against dark background

In each case, blowing the background focus adds dramatic attention to the rose. I was able to achieve this by using aperture priority and a shallow depth of field with an F stop of 4.0, thanks to Nikon’s superb 105mm/F2.8 AF Micro Nikkor lens, which is a macro lens that’s perfect for close-ups of relatively small photographic subjects. In this way, a speficic cross-section of the flower is accentuated, making it pop to the forefront of the photo and lending a soft touch of mystery to the rest. It’s important to precisely select the focal point of your image as the attention of the viewer is immediately drawn to this.

What is your favourite flower to photograph? Or do you prefer entirely different subject matter?

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