Learn Flower Photography
The candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long
I really have no idea why I enjoy taking photos
flowers. Flowers are one of the most intricate parts of the plant
kingdom and their short lifetime ensures both quality and
and White Photography
I like high key photography - solid white
backgrounds and brightly lit
subjects. My first photo course had a open project at the end so
took a series of photos in a standard setup. I place a stem vase
on my white table white a white paper background behind it and strong
diffuse side lighting (daylight). For some of the photos (top
right three) I introduced back lighting.
I think part of the reason these photos are
strong is the lack of
background. With color it is easy to separate a flower from it's
background - bright colored plants on muted backgrounds. Black
white doesn't generally have that luxury.
be Afraid to get Close
Most times people will figure out what you are
Flowers can survive suprisingly shallow depth of field but motion blur
seems to be hard to use well.
Flowers occur both in "Gardens" and on farms growing flowers for
harvest or bulbs and seeds.
Tulips in detail are beautiful flowers.
Get close. Use a
longer lens (90-105 macro's are perfect but many longer lenses have a
macro mode). The trick is to watch the background.
The Tulips are planted in rows for
cultivation. Generally these
bulbs are dug up each year, separated (so you can sell some of them)
and then replanted for the next years cycle. Sometimes they miss
a few (left in the ground) or they otherwise get mixed. Generally
farms will weed these plants out, but not always.
3: Diagonals in Medium Shots
The combinations of rows and the lumps in the
fields allow you to stage
rows behind rows or otherwise setup a stage. This isn't to the
point of including background elements - this is mostly a 2D
4: Barns in the Background
There are classic shots of old barns with the
burst of new life in
front. There aren't a lot of nice old barns any more so finding a
good background can be a pain. Depending on the angle of the
rows, you can emphasis the cultivation or the variety or the flowers.
5: An Ocean of Flowers
Some of these farms are huge - they seem to go
on forever. Using
a wide angle or a telephoto, you can capture the immense scale of these
Being "natural" there is a huge variety of
backgrounds you can find. Using the colour of the flower you can
seperate the flower from the background:
One of my favorite composition choices
(when it happens) is a sharp example in the foreground and another
example blurry in the background. This can give the viewer
perspective on the flower and it's geometry.
Angle Near and Far
On very wide angles (wider than
24mm, 35mm equivalent size), you can take a near far picture with a
flowers, showing both an example of a flower and how they grow in a
is pretty much required - you set your lens to it's closest macro
setting, in aperture mode set it to a narrow aperture (like f16) and
then move in so the closest plant is out of focus in the frame, but
sharp if you use depth of field preview. I haven't mastered it -
my lavender shot is blurry from the long exposure and wind, and my
daisies don't have enough depth of field to render the closest plant
My widest lens is currently a 28mm which
doesn't seem wide enough to do this well.
Another tool in the toolbox is multiple
trick to give a soft, dream like feeling to the image. Using a
tripod (the camera position has to be 100% locked down), first a photo
is taken with sharp focus, and a reasonable aperture (like f8), metered
down (under exposed by) a stop or two. Then (without advancing
film) a few more shots are taken with meter down a stop further, the
aperture wide open (f2.8 for instance) and the focus either ahead or
behind the initial shot.
The next two shots show a normal photograph (f8, normal metering, only
one exposure), and a blurred version (multiple apertures, stepped
metering, 4 exposures on one frame)
It doesn't make the image better - just
Tags: flower(29), shallow depth of field(16), b&w(8), farm(7), flowers(5), soft focus(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > Learn Photography > Learn Flower Photography
Great work!!This is a great website and ive learned so many new things..Photography is great
Thursday, July 19th, 2007 at 10:17:40
Thank you for the really helpful tips! I have a great challenge to come up with good shots for my website, but have no knowledge. I am enjoying learning enormously, and your site is a gem!
Monday, August 20th, 2007 at 00:45:01
this website's wonderful!
i lofe flowers and specially tulips!^^
i love your pictures!
congratulations for this work!
have a beautifu day!
Friday, August 24th, 2007 at 15:50:49
I am just a pupil in comparison with your work. Great work. Congratulation
Sunday, February 24th, 2008 at 14:29:15
Thank you for your help; your advice is concise and clear and I have never seen the multiple exposure flowers trick - will try a couple this weekend I think.
Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 05:34:07
i've learnt so many things with this tutor..!
Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 at 13:04:23
For me very instructive.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Best regards and keep on doing it.
Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 01:42:15
You are amazing!!! Thanks for sharing your photos and your info. I love what you've done!
Saturday, September 20th, 2008 at 08:37:26
Absolutely stunning photographs!
Keep up the amazing work. I will give your flower photos a plug on my wedding site.
THe pictures are so pretty! I want to be a photographer like you!
Monday, December 1st, 2008 at 22:40:55
I feel in love with your work of art.
Thursday, April 9th, 2009 at 00:46:09
great!!! thanks i have much learn from this...
Monday, May 18th, 2009 at 03:33:36
Thank You! this site was very helpful!
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 17:26:40
To capture your experiences; to see so much beauty and be able to create this website is truly a magnificent talent (not so much the website). May you never stop doing what you love because with the care that you take, this must truly be your passion.
Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 11:46:05
I am a newbie, searching for tips and tricks as well as tutorials in the web. I have to admit that i have never seen such a wealth of stellar advices absolutely free of cost (even in some so called quality books you cant find this).
Cheers, i would like to see some advice on equipment as well so that i can anchor my choice. i hope that i can follow your advice blind fold.
Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 02:11:56
Whoa, those are such cool photos! That's a ton of tulips. Where did you find such a cool place for photographing tulips?!
Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 09:32:03
Superb!! what photos.. gr8 work..
Saturday, December 5th, 2009 at 01:16:12
I appreciate class #3 about diagonals - sometimes I feel like I need to change the angle, straight just wont do it, but I could find the right alternative.
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 11:21:21
Good stuff, man. I'm 15 and I've been searching for tutorials on the internet because i REALLY want to learn photography. I've really found your page helpful. The pictures for barns in the background were amazing!
Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 12:55:57
Thank you, this information is great. I'm just beginning to get into photography as I'm only a student, and it's always nice to have some good starting pointers. : )
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 04:01:47
The last example was just marvelous its shows how important exposure & how well it can completely change your image..amazing illustration and great tutorial..thanks
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 at 04:41:13
I feel in love with your work of art
Thursday, June 24th, 2010 at 23:17:58
Nice points to understand photography
Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 at 23:04:27
Thanks for sharing this valuable information
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 at 05:19:26
John you have a good eye, I would like to share your stuff with my photography students, with your permission.
Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 21:32:46
Great Pictures and helpful Info. Thanks.
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 at 02:37:00
added to my bookmark, awesome guides with good examples. i'm happy to buy u a mug of beer if u had a paypal acc.
Saturday, June 11th, 2011 at 19:29:13
This is really great! We're doing this at Mercer Arboretum with some sped high school kids.
Monday, October 29th, 2012 at 11:27:54
Excellent article. Now only it is understood that photography is an art, otherwise we used to just admire the pictures wondering how it might have been done.
Excellent work dear, pls keep posting. It inspires us to learn more and more from you.
Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at 01:53:34
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:48:03 Edit
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