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Friday, October 18, 2013

How To Photograph Flowers On Your Smartphone


This article has been written to give some simple, easy to understand tips to take better photographs of flowers using the camera on your phone.  I have written it to help amateurs like me capture better photos using the cameras we already have available. 

Flowers are things of beauty and have long been the subject of artists in all manner of mediums.  Flowers have a natural beauty and perfection that you cannot help but admire.  You may be taking the picture just for your own memories or so you can share what you’ve seen with someone else but whatever your reason for taking the photo, it’s nice to take the best photo that you can.  You never know, if you get a really good one you could even have it printed up as a large canvas print and hang it up at home! 

Choosing your subject

If you were a professional photographer you may be set out looking to capture a particular image and look for subjects to fit what you are after.  However, if you are like me you probably don’t go out with the intent of getting a photo but just happen to see something you want to get a picture of anyway.  When something does catch your eye it’s nice to think about how you are going to take the photo to show it at it’s best. 

What do you want to include in your photo?  You may want to take a close up of a single flower, or a small bunch of flowers or even an entire flower beds worth.  When you are getting the flower in shot, you don’t always need the flower in the centre of the picture.  Sometimes having the flower slightly to one side or off centre can create a much more interesting final picture.  You may have heard of the rule of thirds, a very simple explanation is to imagine the canvas divided by two equally spaced horizontal and two equally spaced vertical lines and try to align the point(s) of interest within your picture where the lines cross each other.  However, don’t get preoccupied with this.  You can always crop the image to your liking afterwards.  I’m sure that’s not the advice a professional photographer would give but this is just supposed to be a bit of fun, not a technical challenge!    

When you’re choosing how to place the flower within your shot, it’s always worth considering what may show up in the background of your picture.  If you are taking a close up photograph of a flower you want all the focus to be on the flower.  You don’t want the eye distracted by any other objects or people behind it.  It’s usually easy just to change the angle you take the photo from to exclude anything you don’t want in the shot.  Some smartphone cameras have a macro mode which is perfect for photographing flowers so do try having a play around with that mode if your camera has it. 

Macro mode on a flower and insect 
Making the Most of Macro Mode

Lighting and Colour

When you are trying to take a close up photo of a flower, the best lighting to have is the soft lighting that you get either on an overcast day or early in the morning or later in the afternoon to early evening.  Soft light is ideal for photographing flowers because it gives better colours to the picture.  Hard light, such as that you get on a bright sunny day, can give colours a washed out look and as colour is such a big part of what makes flowers beautiful, it is a shame to lose that.  It may mean coming back to a flower you really want to get a good photo of later in the day when the light is better.  The lighting you get early in the morning or in late afternoon is also often a warm light which means it’s tinted with warm colours like yellows, oranges and reds.  Warm lighting is lovely for pictures as it promotes feelings of cheery warmth.  However, that’s not to say that neutral or even cool light is not good.  Indeed, the blueish hue you get from cool lighting can be excellent for promoting a sense of calmness and serenity in your final picture. 

Another thing to consider about the lighting for your picture is the direction it is coming from.  As a general rule, light coming from the side is best as it really serves to highlight the details of the flower.  Again, natural sidelight is achieved either early morning or late afternoon to evening.  Overhead lighting such as direct sunlight can be harsh and some of the more subtle details of the flower can get lost in the contrast of shadows.

Choose Your Subject 
Choosing Colours

What to do with your pictures?

This is the fun bit!  I have to admit that if I take a picture I am proud of I can’t help but putting it on Facebook.  But that’s one of the reasons for taking photos for me.  So that if I see something I think is beautiful I can share it.  But you can do so much more with the pictures than just sharing them online.  If you have a collection of flower photos you have taken then having a photo calendar made up by sites like www.snapfish.co.uk can be an excellent way of displaying them.  They also make perfect Christmas presents. 

If there’s a particular photograph that you are really pleased with then it’s definitely worth getting it printed up as a large canvas print or large poster print.  They will look spectacular in your home and there’s nothing like the feeling when someone asks you where you got your large canvas print from and you say “Actually I took that photo myself!”  Try a site like www.printpanoramics.co.uk for an easy to use professional service. 

I hope this has given you some easy advice to help you take some fabulous photographs but remember not to get too bogged down in details.  Above all just have fun and photograph the stuff you love!

Featured images:

Lisa Davenpot is a keen photographer and content artist. She loves using everyday technology to create beauty.

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