testing technique for flower shots

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mtbdudex, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    I don't shoot much flowers, so a few days ago when the sun was decently diffuse I took the T1i with the 70-200 f2.8 L and snapped a few shots.
    Handheld, actually standing on lower rail of our split rail fence for all the Tiger Lily shoots since they are so tall. Captured in RAW, basic PP in Aperture 3, export to Picasa web for sharing.

    Trying to learn what works and what does not for flowers, and share w/others.
    C & C plus advice from experienced "flower shooting" photogs appreciated

    I believe these are all at f2.8 for shallow DOF, the first shot was before I remembered the water bottle mist/drop technique, all others were misted for the drop effect.

    #1: focused on the center portion (no water mist obviously)

    #2: w/o flash

    #3: same basic shot just w/ pop up flash, I like how this brought out the center stalk

    #4: I posted this in pict of the day 2 days ago, this w/o flash.
    Focus on center portion

    #5: same as#4 but with pop up flash; the front flash seems to have washed out some contrast.
    Makes me wonder what side or back flash could produce.

    #6 focus was NOT on the center but one of the pedals itself.
    Lesson learned>Focus on the center, its what attracts the eye
    No flash

    #7 same as #6 but w/ pop up flash

    #8 - same as #7 but focus is on center

    My lessons learned and sharing with others:
    a) diffuse lighting seemed good for flower shots with pedals open to the sky
    b) the front flash helped on the "stalk" type flower, but seemed to diminish contrast/blacks in the open flowers
    c) focus on the center parts; stigma, anther, filament, and let the other parts that come into focus be what they will.
    If more portion of the flower is desired sharp use tighter aperture than f2.8
    (or bracket the shot for aperture)
    d) no breeze is an almost must for crisp/detail
    e) eye level/near horizontal shots seem more interesting

    f) experiment with side/back lighting and see those effects
  2. gnd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    At my cat's house
    If you ask me, the DoF is too shallow on all of these. I think flower shots require the whole blossom (flower) to be in focus, not just a few petals. I find the out of focus parts of the subject flower to be distracting.
  3. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    In general I agree with that- especially #1 as an example, the OOF petal is interfering with the composition by blocking the main subject.

    I think the pop-up flash is too direct, and that off-camera or ring flash might work better. Another alternative if you don't have off-camera flash capability is to get a reflector (or even a white sheet of paper) to help throw some extra ambient light onto the flower from a different direction. This would also help for situations where the color of the ambient light is different than what a flash would produce.


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