I am not a flowers kind of girl. When I got married, I carried a bunch of eucalyptus branches instead of a traditional bridal bouquet. Then one normal Tuesday, my husband arrived home, bent to give our daughter a kiss and what do I see sticking out of his back pocket as he bent down? A long-stemmed red rose.
I shrieked, threw myself at him in a tight bear hug and I may have shed a tear too. Sure, it was the gesture made on a regular day that surprised me and probably the fact that it also came from the love of my life, but I found it to be the sweetest act ever and proof that despite my general feelings towards flowers, they still have a secret language of love that’s difficult to beat. Flowers communicate what the sender is trying to say and since my husband isn’t vocal, a red rose from him conveys, ‘I thought about you at work, I can’t wait to come home to give this to you and I love you’.
Aside from that, flowers emanate a certain vibrational frequency. A red rose, specifically the Bulgarian Rose, emits the highest vibrational frequency among all flowers, reverberating at a shocking 320MHz! That explains why we feel what we feel when somebody gifts us a bouquet of these lovely blooms.
And you know what else is amazing? That even when we just gaze at gorgeous snaps of these natural beauties, they never fail to exude positive energy. And that’s exactly what we want to capture when taking photos of flowers.
Want to capture gorgeous blooms in your cut flower garden? Keen to take your flower photography up a notch? Here are some tips to help you do just that.
TAKING PHOTOS USING A SMARTPHONE
There’s definitely power in flowers. They’re not just for decorative purposes either. They exude healing energy that do wonders for our emotional and mental health. So how do we translate their power through photos especially when you’ve only got a smartphone to use?
Capture the details
Mobile phones can yield great results just like a professional camera. It’s all in the photographer’s eye. What is it that you want to showcase in your subject that makes that particular blossom uniquely beautiful– that makes your shot original?
A shot of a blooming bud, for example, isn’t a totally new concept but it’s how you weave your story behind the lens that makes it unique.
The image above shows the first few petals erupting from the sepal. There’s something beautiful, delicate and incredibly erotic about it. It’s shrouded in mystery. It’s charged with hope and life. It is an example of a detail in that flower that you want to show, that you want viewers to see. Look beyond what everyone normally sees and you’ll discover something amazing.
Invest in a mobile phone camera lenses
No matter how much mobile phones have evolved, sometimes you just won’t be satisfied with the photography results – especially when you want to capture the tiniest details of your subject because mobile phones aren’t DSLRs after all.
Using a mobile lens for your phone can do the trick. The price isn’t too steep and it will give your image a more professional look. The standard mobile phone camera lens kit comes with three types of lens – fish eye, macro and wide-angle lens.
Use natural light
Using your smartphone’s flash won’t really produce the best result and especially when trying to take photos in the dark. For the best results on a mobile phone, take photos during the day and particularly during the golden hours, the hour or two after sunrise or before sunset. It is the time when the light is soft and is most flattering for this type of photography. Outside of these hours and the light can become harsh and won’t cast shadows on your subject. And when shooting indoors, bring your subject closer to the window so you get as much natural light as possible.
Use photography apps to edit flower photos
Sometimes, the image needs more boost. There are lots of free apps you can use to do this such as Snapseed or Lightroom. However, you don’t want to overcook the image when editing. You just want to enhance the subject and give the whole image a bit more of an edge. To scout for other photo editing apps options, check here.
TAKING PHOTOS WITH A DSLR OR MIRRORLESS CAMERAS
For optimal flower photography images, a DSLR is the best option, the bulky cameras that you see all professional photographers using. There is a list of choices you can experiment with in terms of settings and there are more camera lenses to play with which can give you quality images.
A mirrorless is also an ideal camera to use for this type of photography but there’s not much to choose from in the macro lens selection.
Depth of field
You want to make your flora shot perfect and getting your subject to stand out against its backdrop can be a challenge. A wide aperture must be used to produce a shallow depth-of-field. A small aperture creates plenty depth-of-field which is what you want to achieve when you want your subject to be sharp throughout.
It is also important that you switch to manual focusing when photographing flowers. This can give you more control especially when you want to take a close-up shot of plants.
When shooting early in the morning, you will find dew drops sitting on petals or on plant blades. Using this opportunity will generate a stunning photo of your flower as it will glisten beautifully in the light and will also give off a refracted image of the background.
You can also create your own water droplets. Just spray some water on them until droplets form. Glycerine is a better alternative than water because its high viscosity makes it less affected by evaporation.
There are a lot of DLSR cameras that allow you to create double exposure technique on the camera itself. By combining one sharp image of your subject with another out-of-focus picture, you produce a dreamy effect to your flora shot. If your camera doesn’t have this option, you can always do this same technique on a photo editing app.
And remember, the most important thing when taking photos of flowers or nature in general, whether your shots are of wild or cultivated plants, is to experiment and have fun!
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Cover image Laura Chouette. All other images supplied by author.