observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Photographing Flowers || Tips from Alberta Photographer

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{These tips are provided as general interest plus as a service to my clients and the general public. Enjoy!}

Flowers are such a popular subject to photograph, even when we’re in the midst of winter and months away from spring — or maybe for that very reason. Since flowers are such a popular subject for photographing, whether you’re an amateur who simply loves flowers and uses a basic point-and-shoot or you have a DSLR or even an old film camera, I feel this is an ideal subject for experimentation or stretching your wings.

Notice how I’ve focused on the buds of this vibrant Amaryllis rather than the flamboyant blooms. Another thing I did with this image was to use strictly natural light, ensuring the light was streaming in from the side, providing a nice focus on the details of the folds of the buds. I never ever use the on-camera flash — for anything. On-camera flash can be okay, in a pinch, to use as fill if taking photos outside in the shade, but I still don’t like it even then. Most people naturally seem to want to take advantage of lots of streaming daylight. Again, I’ve gone against that by shooting in shutter-priority mode so that I could reduce the amount of light coming in. I wanted to have a more dramatic look and feel to these buds. That’s how I got this result which has an abstract feel to it as well.

Next time you’re taking photos of flowers, whether indoors or outside, I encourage you to consider focusing on something other than the ‘normal’ face-on blooms, play around with the light, and play around with your settings. That’s the beauty of digital cameras; we can experiment to our hearts content and delete the ones that don’t work yet keep the ones we like the most.

In the image below, I’ve done a few things to make this more original or artistic. Again, I used natural light but had my shutter speed adjusted to let in more light so that more of the veining was apparent on the flower. The other thing you can see I did was capture the back of the bloom instead of the face of it. There is so much pretty detail to the back. There is also emphasis on all those lovely curves. The final thing I did was accomplished in post processing: I added a light vintage hue to the entire image and then cropped it square. Again, the result is entirely different from the way most people would automatically tend to take a photo of a flower. Even if you don’t have post processing software, you can create a unique and artistic image simply by changing what you focus on and how you use the available light. Give it a try!


I have other photography tips in the archives and will do my best to include more posts in the near future on a wide range of tips and suggestions. To see the ones that are in the archives, simply use the “Categories” tab at the top menu bar, scroll to “Photography Tips” and click on that to bring up the list. For those in the Grande Prairie area, become a fan of my Facebook photography business page to learn about an upcoming photography workshop I will be conducting.

Diane is a freelance photographer available for commercial, environmental – editorial, and portrait assignments. Visit her website to view her portfolio or to contact her.

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Gayle - February 26, 2010 - 7:20 pm

Thank you for the tips, Diane. Those images are stunning!

JoLyn - February 26, 2010 - 7:35 pm

Hi Diane, Your photos are amazing! I have just recently been bitten by the photography bug. Your tip today is great – I wish I would have read it BEFORE I posted a photo of tulips today! 🙂 I’ll be going through your archives and learning everything I can from you. Thanks! JoLyn

Frida - February 27, 2010 - 3:50 am

Gorgeous images Diane!

Toffeeapple - February 27, 2010 - 1:40 pm

Diane, those are beautiful shots. I love your work.

Marcie - February 28, 2010 - 4:42 am

Such richness in these images. I can almost feel the softness of the petals. Love how you’ve used the light!

Toni - February 28, 2010 - 8:38 pm

Well done, Diane – really gorgeous work!