As you can probably imagine, flower photography techniques are significantly different than the techniques for taking portraits or trying to capture landscapes. While photography is just as much an art form as painting or sculpture, there are some standards that are widely accepted as preferred methods for taking photos of flowers.
Taking Good Pictures of Flowers
When you are first starting out with a certain type of composition, you will want to begin with tried and true formulas. After mastering the basic flower photography techniques, you can then be more creative with how you choose to take pictures of various flora.
Macro Mode for Close-Up Shots
Even when choosing a digital camera for a beginner, you will find that these basic digital cameras typically have what is known as a macro mode. This configures the camera to take better close-up pictures, as would be the case with floral photography. In fact, the standard symbol for macro mode is that of a single flower.
With macro mode, the subject of the photo will be in focus, but the rest of the background will usually appear out of focus. This is partly for effect and using macro mode is one of the most popular flower photography techniques.
One of the things to look for when buying a digital camera is the minimum focal length. Some digital cameras, like the Canon S3 IS, even have "super" macro modes for taking pictures of items that are nearly touching the lens! Most consumer point-and-shoot cameras will have a macro focal length of 30 cm (12-inches) or less.
Increase Size of Aperture
One way to take better pictures of flowers is to increase the size of the aperture on your digital camera. The aperture is the size of the "opening" that lets light into the camera module. When the aperture is larger, the representative F-stop number is smaller. For example, F2.8 represents a larger aperture setting than F3.5.
This technique for flower photography is in line with the previous tip about macro mode. When the aperture is larger, typically only the subject is in focus whereas the background appears blurred. If you would prefer to have everything in focus, you would need to decrease the size of the aperture (increase the F-stop number) and increase the exposure time.
Color Saturation and White Balance
Flowers come in an assortment of vibrant colors and you'll usually want your pictures to emphasize these bright colors. Check your camera for the white balance settings so that they best emphasize the use of daylight (or whatever form of lighting that you are using).Going further with flower photography techniques, you can look at post-processing through a program like PhotoShop. Even purists make use of PhotoShop or LightRoom. With floral photography, you can look into increasing the color saturation so that the colors are even more vibrant than before.
Unique Floral Perspectives
A different perspective can provide a wholly different experience with exactly the same subject. When considering different flower photography techniques, think about different spots where you can place your camera. For example, having the camera all the way on the ground and looking upward at a flower can give a sense of magnitude and grandeur. An extreme horizontal angle for a long floral bed can give a sense of timelessness and distance.Don't be afraid to try some experimental photography techniques to see what magic can happen. Floral photography using color swaps, fisheye lenses, and other unique techniques can result in some terrific shots.
More Flower Photography Techniques
While you will certainly want to be in a different mindset when you take action photography, there are multitudes of flower photography techniques for you to explore as well. Using macro mode and increasing color saturation are standard practices. After you have worked with these styles, however, you may want to try something different.
Do you have a favorite type of floral photography? Feel free to share your views and techniques using the comment form at the bottom of this page.