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Thread: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

  1. #1

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    Kathy

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    It was an absolutely perfect day today so I went out and practiced shooting flowers . . . I need your advice on these photos so please let me know what you think so I can improve on everything from composition to lighting. I was shooting on my macro mode, I was using mostly an iso setting of 200 on my Nikon L120 camera using a tripod. My editing software is Lightroom. Thankyou!!

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

  2. #2

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    Allan Short

    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Kathy: nice outdoor images of fresh spring blooms. I myself practiced shooting some blooms however that was indoors, no tripods and bad light, I only thing I can think of any this will be for my information also, maybe something to create some shade, would help to soften the harsh bright direct light of the sun. As the camera is already on a trip what is the difference of a lower ISO and a little longer shutter speed and using something to cast a shadow. I am sure others who are more experenced in shooting blooms outside will be able to help the both of us.

    Cheers


    Allan

  3. #3
    Kaclarity's Avatar
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    JimC

    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Kathy
    Been trying for 2 days to get a shot like #2 I think your captured of the cluster of white was great, but that little bunch to the right made the picture stand out. For my eye's I wouldn’t change a thing. This is what I came up with
    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers
    I think yours is so much better, it was like you were reading my mind, JimC

  4. #4

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    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Nice shots. One point to note about light - look at how it hits and what changes you might need to make in setting to prevent blowout. Pay attention to the ridges/troughs and the normally shiny areas.

  5. #5

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    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Thankyou to all of you for your advice and comments, they are very much appreciated and will be kept in mind the next time I go out to shoot. Thanks for looking

    Kathy

  6. #6

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    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Hi kathy, flowers are a very difficult subject. You need great lighting,foregrounds, and backgrounds , to make everything work well. Exposure is very touchy as well, always bracket your shots.

    What i usually do, is take a few quick sample shots and view them on the computor, to determine what direction i want to go with my shots. Then reshoot with my intended plan of shots. Here is a quick example of a few shots i took..................................

    First i thought of shooting the entire tree, but there was too much clutter around to isolate it.

    Next i thought a carpet of blooms.............
    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Didn't like that at all.............no real subject in the image

    Next i thought i'll try to isolate a limb............
    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers


    I did a good job of bluring the background, but the image is boring, the sky is blown, and the flowers are underexposed.

    I then started to look around a little closer and spotted a yellow flowering bush in the distance (thinking great background), so i lined one flower up to the bush and took a couple shots..................


    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Didn't do a great job of lining this one up and had a few white spots on the edges, but not bad. Now i'm getting somewhere.

    Another try.............

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers


    Much better..................but i'm going to need a step ladder to line up the flowers without streatching my neck on my tippy toes.

    At least now i have a plan of attack, and can go back with the equipment i need on a day with great lighting.




    Hope this helps kathy.........keep at it and it will come together for you.

  7. #7

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    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Hi kathy, flowers are a very difficult subject. You need great lighting,foregrounds, and backgrounds , to make everything work well. Exposure is very touchy as well, always bracket your shots.

    What i usually do, is take a few quick sample shots and view them on the computor, to determine what direction i want to go with my shots. Then reshoot with my intended plan of shots. Here is a quick example of a few shots i took..................................

    First i thought of shooting the entire tree, but there was too much clutter around to isolate it.

    Next i thought a carpet of blooms.............
    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Didn't like that at all.............no real subject in the image

    Next i thought i'll try to isolate a limb............
    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers


    I did a good job of bluring the background, but the image is boring, the sky is blown, and the flowers are underexposed.

    I then started to look around a little closer and spotted a yellow flowering bush in the distance (thinking great background), so i lined one flower up to the bush and took a couple shots..................


    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Didn't do a great job of lining this one up and had a few white spots on the edges, but not bad. Now i'm getting somewhere.

    Another try.............

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers


    Much better..................but i'm going to need a step ladder to line up the flowers without streatching my neck on my tippy toes.

    At least now i have a plan of attack, and can go back with the equipment i need on a day with great lighting.




    Hope this helps kathy.........keep at it and it will come together for you.
    Steve,
    Thanks so much for the detailed advice!!! I can't wait to get back out there and put all this good advice to use!! Thanks again!!

    Kathy

  8. #8
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Steve has said it well, good tips and things I have just started trying myself. Funny I think I took a yellow background shot of a flower just today. =}

    And yes, I think you are right Kathy, these are a bit better. DOF and focus also the exposure.

  9. #9
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Frank Miller

    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Hi Kathy, I've been trying to learn how to shoot flowers as well and so far, in addition to Steve's excellent advice, I find that a group of flowers is very difficult to get good. Without a clear subject, there is no place for the eye to rest in the busy scene.

    It seems to work much better if I get an odd number of blossoms, between 1 and 5 as the subject. An out-of-focus (bokeh) background that isn't bland or too close to the colors, brightness, or contrast of the subject also seems to help. Lastly, getting the subject as sharp as possible seems to also go a long way towards making the image interesting.

    I'm still learning but these things seem to help me get an interesting composition.

  10. #10

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    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    Looking specifically at your photos, Kathy.

    For me, #1 is virtually an impossible angle and there is just too much required depth to achieve anything reasonable without image stacking of some form.

    #2 is a lot better, and I think it is better than your other posts of the same scene; although I would consider cropping the right side a little tighter.

    #3 is potentially excellent but, once again, I would crop differently to remove some of the edge distractions.

    #4 is another difficult angle.

    And the last one is something which I wouldn't have thought about shooting; but it works for me.

  11. #11
    JohnnyG's Avatar
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    Re: Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

    As per your permission to edit, I only chose one image because I felt it was representative of a variety of problems these images share. None of the images have fatal issues, but all have issues which need specifically directed editing.

    My observations as a whole are: Too much, or not enough information; crop not suited to the image of greatest emphasis; soft focus; and too much extraneous detail - ground clutter as I like to call it. On the good side: you recognize you are having issues; you are learning from your mistakes and moving forward; and you are making an attempt at stepping outside your comfort zone. Each of these positive traits are essential to the learning process.

    In my edit of #3, I immediately went to a square crop to eliminate as much background debris as possible but also because I felt the image leant itself to a bit of formality. Next, I eliminated the background grays which were too close to the same color range as the browns in the tree trunks. Using the quick select tool in Photoshop, I isolated the flower and began a series of level and curves adjustments to pop the color, but more importantly, to pull the color (flower) off the background in an attempt to create a little more three dimensionality to the flower.

    I did use a few blank layers where I "painted in" some of the colors in the tree trunks to back down some of the glare and again, to push the attention to the flower, not the bark as someone else noted earlier. A bit of selective sharpening finished out the edit.

    It wasn't until I posted the image, I realized I missed a few places with the cloning tool...oops, but I did use it to remove a petal, I found quite distracting. this was a quick edit just to give you an idea of the potential your images have.

    Color in Bloom . . . Help with photographing flowers

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