Photography Club of India

Learn Photography & Knowledge base => Tips, Tutorials & Interviews => Topic started by: theqca on January 10, 2014, 10:26:13 AM

Title: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: theqca on January 10, 2014, 10:26:13 AM
Moving this here for archival purposes...

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This write-up is not intended to be the last word on flower photography ? it?s just a small collection of tips and observations.

Every photographer has his own style & method of shooting ? what I?ve mentioned here is based on my style and method. There?s lots of other stuff too that you can do which I haven?t covered here. Find out what works for you. Please feel free to add / correct this write-up where needed.


(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3732/9705018157_da0c803c5f.jpg)



Is my camera and lens good enough?

The short answer ? yes
The long answer - People have shot very good flower pics with pinhole cameras, p&s, film cameras as well as high end DSLRS, as long as you have a DSLR and a decent lens you can do some sort of flower photography. While I?m not saying that you can shoot exactly the same pic with a kit lens that you could with a fast lens that lets you get close and gives you tack sharp images.

But you can manage very good images with a basic kit as long as -  you are aware of the limitations and know how to work around them.

Rule 1 ? learn the limitations of your lens and camera body and learn to work around them.


An ideal equipment list for flower photography according to me would be ?
1)   A good DSLR
2)   Fast zoom lens ? to let you get those pics where you can zoom into a flower from far
3)   Macro lens ? for pics where you need to go close. 200mm if you?ve got lots of money. 105 / 90mm if you cant buy a 200mm. I?ve also got a 55mm macro but don?t really use it much as I prefer the working distance of a longer lens
4)   Extension tubes - i prefer these to a reversal ring. Manual / auto depends on how much money you've got to spare
5)   Achromats
6)   Filters



Rule 2 ? carry everything that you can possibly carry to prevent you getting the feeling - ?had I carried xyz lens I could have got this amazing pic?



(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7309/9710911244_43eee5175a.jpg)




What i usually do is use manual focus -however move towards or away from the flower instead of turning the focus ring. Just make sure your view finder dioptre settings are perfect. When you?ve got the frame you need, press the shutter. This technique works even better if you are using a monopod.




(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3832/9708247126_01aaf94fb3.jpg)



The perfect flower

Flowers which appear to be perfect with all petals intact and no damage will usually look better than ones which have been battered, trampled and bruised. If you?ve got a bunch of flowers ? choose the one that looks as perfect as possible.



(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5451/9708214868_b0b1a5eb5d.jpg)





(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3735/9704994141_3ffb77efd5.jpg)




(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3701/9709096080_a54fbfc87b.jpg)



Do not pluck flowers and leaves which are in the way so that you get a good pic. We?re supposed to be nature conservationists. Harming nature in any manner is not in keeping with a good photographer?s code of conduct.


(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3666/9704997427_e30e171e46.jpg)




(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7400/9708238012_515b3f1fdb.jpg)


Is setting WB important?

Yes ? especially if you are shooting white flowers and want them to appear white.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7294/9704975845_e1bcfb3f8e.jpg)

Windy conditions

Flowers can look great in windy conditions too ? use a slow shutter and get a bit creative.
Alternatively wait for the wind to slow down a bit. Use some clips to keep branches from moving - take care not to damage the plant.

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3758/9705009853_e255ece2be.jpg)



(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5454/9704989797_90f0120a5d.jpg)


Do flower photos have to be tack sharp?

Not always...it depends on the sort of output you want...at times a soft pic with pastel shades works better in conveying your thoughts than a tack sharp pic. Its also a good trick to use if you cant find a perfect flower. Try some vaseline on a UV filter and put it in front of the lens.



(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5349/9704978033_f10713c3f7.jpg)



(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2853/9708242580_933bef7690.jpg)




(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2857/9705001781_2434cdf5b8.jpg)



Getting Sharp Images

As long as you know how to focus where you need the focus and know how to sharpen images correctly during post processing you should end up with reasonably sharp images. However its quite difficult to judge image sharpness in the field by looking at the LCD and I've often ended up kicking my self later when I've seen the image on a large monitor back home. So if you need a tack sharp image ? zoom into the flower petals and check. Unless you zoom in and check the petals properly you will end up with an image that looks soft on the monitor back home.


(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2830/9704985127_ab44efea14.jpg)


Can I shoot flowers in monochrome?

Flowers look great in colour. Black and white will look good if you are able to get the shadows, highlights and tone right.


(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3668/9708211374_aa03097a14.jpg)



Any other creative ideas without resorting to post processing?

Well....you can try something like this :p


(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2819/9704999807_ed1010defb.jpg)



(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3774/9704982797_8d21b7cafa.jpg)


(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5539/9704992213_2732863d96.jpg)


(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5494/9705693823_c90d215bdb.jpg)





(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5339/9705687491_a5df9a08b2.jpg)


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Additional Inputs from Ram. (I personally feel his flower photos are on par with the best in the world)

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My 2 Cents (difficult to add much to a comprehensive coverage by Ayaz) :

1. Most people would have seen almost all the flowers we shoot - just a few of what we shoot may be new to people. So its important to present Flowers (which are usually very static things) in a way people usually do not see them - Shoot from the back, bottom, show just the petals in a wind-blown fashion, abstracts, with a lot of dew or raindrops (spray using an atomizer if you like) etc etc. If you are shooting Flower exactly the way people see them, make sure the frame is impeccable - perfect in all respects.

2. Use Complementary colors. One advantage of shooting in a large established garden is that the folks already know the theory of complementary colors and plant accordingly. You will always see Blue/Purple Flowers along with Yellow/Orange as these colors are complementary to each other. A Yellow Flower on a Blue Background looks far better than on a green background. If that is not possible, at least make sure the background supports the main subject (does not always need to be super smooth and blurred) and does not detract. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementary_colors)


3. Use Reflectors when needed. This is most useful when you have backgrounds brighter than the main subject or your strategy is to use backlighting. Reflectors manage the dynamic range well while putting a "zing" into your subject. If you are skilled at using flash, it can substitute the Reflector.

4. Composition makes or breaks the photo. Learn to compose creatively. Look around to see the work of other photographers and borrow ideas. Take a photo that you really like and analyze why you liked it. Do not copy (OK initially) but develop your own style.

5. To the equipment list Ayaz shared broadly, I will add, a Neutral Density Filter for any Panning you may want to do and also a Lens Baby. A CPL will also be handy if the petals/foliage have a lot of glare or water that is highly reflective. I personally do not use any other filter --> Just a ND and CPL.


Examples


1. Complementary Colors :

Example 1
(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2839/9700979833_b694f1765d_o.jpg)

Example 2
(http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6185/6065920389_d146260910_o.jpg)

Example 3
(http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4069/4573639914_540caf7ec6_o.jpg)


2. Using Dew/Raindrops :

Example 1
(http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4122/4938096549_4564b80a26_o.jpg)

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8019/7569998592_871968346f_o.jpg)


3. Creative Compositions/Seeing Differently :

Example 1
(http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4148/5049374335_85ca9a6a65_o.jpg)

Example 2
(http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4084/4978372180_924cbca4f5_o.jpg)

Example 3
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3303/4573642998_ab35f49bb8_o.jpg)

Example 4
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7108/6956807128_f6fa6deb88_o.jpg)

Example 5
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7054/7145672607_1593a5dba6_o.jpg)

Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: Pankajkumars on January 10, 2014, 12:00:01 PM
This is good. Plz post Exposure thread also.
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: LightWave on January 10, 2014, 12:11:19 PM
Great. I am sure a lot of members are going to use "Add to my bookmarks" for this one.
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: somnath goswami on January 10, 2014, 02:22:15 PM
I have saved it to my HDD  :) ...superb resource

regards to Ayaz and Mr.Pai ...

somnath
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: Fake ID on January 11, 2014, 04:15:16 PM
WOW, WOW ...

Thanks for Sharing, Saving this :)

Anil George
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: sambk on January 16, 2014, 04:39:34 PM
This is one superb write up. Sincere thanks, guys.
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: dranand on January 20, 2014, 08:48:14 PM
awesome write up , love it .
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: yndesai on January 23, 2014, 07:02:48 PM
That's Japanese : Just in time
Spring is arriving.

yndesai
http://yndpics.blogspot.com
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: DG on February 21, 2014, 04:09:35 PM
superb write up !
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: Kunnal on February 23, 2014, 11:45:59 PM
Nice! exhaustive!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: MayaV on February 24, 2014, 11:34:42 AM
Bookmarked. Thanks Ram and Ayaz!
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: yndesai on March 25, 2014, 10:25:48 PM
With Ram & Rahim (Ayaz) on flowers it makes easy for someone
like me to move from birds to flowers.

Atleast they pose for you.  ;)
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: Jasii on May 18, 2014, 01:28:40 AM
Read and Re-Read the resource again. Thanks Guys!
Now off to shoot some more roses all over again tomorrow....  :)

Cheers!
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: Hankosaurus on May 21, 2014, 11:47:41 PM
What a splendid addition to our Tips & Tutorials section, Ayaz!

You are doing a fine work, not only with your imagemaking, but also with your "technique sharing" with the rest of us.  Inspirational and instructive.  Thanks.

Happy day.

:)
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: LightWave on July 29, 2014, 05:25:54 PM
A bump for our new members :)
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: suniLL on July 30, 2014, 09:47:49 PM
For macro photography canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS usm is best  but as a macro photography
what are you think about  EF135mm f/2 L  & EF 200mm f/2.8 L , 
Title: Re: Flower Photography Tips - with additional inputs from Ram
Post by: barandur on August 05, 2014, 12:03:42 AM
Thanks Ayaz for nice write up.