By Betsy Mejia

June 1, 2019

Flowers are ideal subjects to photograph - they don't move to scratch their nose or run after squirrels. I'm not a professional photographer, or even an advanced hobbyist, but I've learned a few things to share. I usually have at hand my cell phone and I enjoy experimenting until the delight of the flower is realized in a photo. An element in an arrangement, or garden, draws my attention. An interesting detail, like the structural center of a flower, or the overlapping of petals that give a bloom its fullness. The petals may have an appealing blend of color or an unusual shape. Maybe sunlight falls onto the flower(s) creating a brilliance I want to capture. The light might exaggerate the texture of the fuzzy leaves. These details cause me to move in closer with my camera for the purpose of clarity and true color. Physically moving myself improves the quality of my photo rather than zooming or enlarging later. However, the pleasing balance or variety of an arrangement, or accents in a garden, will prompt me to to step back for a wider view. By placing simple items alongside a vertical arrangement, we can create a horizontal still life. As you play with the perspective, be aware of the background distractions, shadows and glare. The background should be soft and uncluttered. You can remedy this easily by placing a colored card behind your subject. When photographing a bouquet, you can control the mood of the photo when selecting what you lay the bouquet on. For example, a log would be much more casual than a marble counter top with it's smooth cultured texture, regardless of the content of the bouquet itself.

Don't set your sights on photographing only specimans that appear perfect. Less than perfect is interesting. The contrast of a full bloom with a new bud or spent bloom tells a story. For visual interest, also place your main subject off center.

As for lighting, natural light generally falls short for close-ups (macro-lens) photography, but place an arrangement near a window on an overcast day and the soft light might do it justice. You can also resort to using a reflector to shade the subject from harsh direct sunlight. A reflector will also bounce the light into areas of shadow, allowing more detail to be seen. You'll need to experiment with lighting and flash. A piece of cellophane tape may be all you need to diffuse a flash. Fortunately, as you experiment, your subject will be patient with you.

After a photo is taken, you may identify composition issues and realize you need to change your angle or adjust the arrangement. Try shooting from above, looking down, capturing the full face of a flower and greater depth. Position yourself low and the sky can be your background. Of course, from the side, you catch variations in height and those flowers with multiple blooms up and down the stem. Get glorious results from your efforts.

You can also improve on floral photos by spritzing water on the blooms for an appearance of vitality.

Experiment with your phone's editing features or download apps such as Snapseed or Colorstory. Have added fun if you own a phone with dual cameras. Consider purchasing mobile phone lenses that produce a professional result.

We look forward to seeing your floral photos shared on our Facebook page. Stop into the shop and select a few interesting stems or a full arrangement with a variety of blooms to capture with your camera.

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