flower photo tips

How to make great-looking pictures of your garden flowers

Many people think that the best day for snapping pictures of flowers (and anything else) is a bright sunny day. In my experience, this is not quite correct. The problem with direct sunlight is that it creates stark contrasts. In other words, the bright areas are extremely bright while the shadows by comparison become very dark . While your eyes continually adjust to those variations in brightness, the camera cannot handle them quite as well.

Here are some photo tips for photographing your flowers in a more flattering light:

1. Be patient and wait for a cloudy day.
I have found that cloudy days are generally much better than sunny days for getting good flower pictures. The light is now soft, there are no harsh shadows, the delicate shapes of flowers will benefit from that.

2. Avoid the midday sun.
If you go out in the garden very early in the morning, or near sunset, you will probably find that the light is much more interesting than around noontime. Since the sun is so low, it is rather easy to find areas in light shade and make great photos there. ( an example here, a picture of roses made near sunset just after some rain.)

3. Make your own clouds.
Make your own perfect day? Grab a piece of semi-transparent material like a white garbage bag or a white t-shirt, and attach it to some framing- a wire coat hanger works well. Shape it into a square and secure the garbage bag etc. to that. Now you can hold this contraption so that it blocks the sun and creats a nice soft light where you want it!

4. Put the sun where you want it.
In some cases you may want to take a picture of a little flower hidden in a really shaded spot. You can use that bright sunlight to your advantage: grab a mirror or some other reflective material like a sheet of aluminum foil, and hold it so it reflects sunlight right on your subject! You can adjust things so your flower gets well lit while the background is in the shade; this will make the flower stand out .

You can also use the zoom setting on your digital camera to control the appearance of the background. You will find that by “zooming in”, ie. using a telephoto setting, you can avoid getting all kinds of distracting stuff included in the background, behind your favorite flower.

Have fun! Go out and experiment with different light conditions to get a feeling for what works best.

About the author:
Kai Virihaur started his gardening career by growing pumpkins in his Mom’s flower beds. He nowadays enjoys both garden design and photography; he runs a blog at www.a1phototips.com where he shares photography tips drawing on his 30+ years of picture-making.