As many of you may be aware, flowers have become one of my favorite subjects to photograph. There are beautiful flowers everywhere which makes finding great photo ops pretty easy.
My wife and I just completed a major landscaping project, added two new flower beds and added several flower pots around the front of our house and patio.
In addition to improving the look of our property, it gives me great photo ops just by stepping out my front door.
The other night, I was outside about an hour before sunset and noticed the beautiful 'golden hour' light beginning to form.
I ran back inside, grabbed my camera and a couple lenses and headed back out.
As part of our landscaping project, I filled a flower box with some beautiful Columbines that I decided would be my subject for this shoot.
Below is a photo I took with my iPhone that shows my flower box of Columbines.
When photographing flowers, I generally use two different lenses. I'll use my Canon 100mm f/2.8 L lens and a Lensbaby Velvet 56 manual focus lens. Each lens produces a very different effect and I'll usually photograph the same flower with both lenses and compare the results and see which I prefer.
I'll use the 100mm macro with a wide open aperture like f/2.8 or f/4 to produce a very shallow depth of field and beautiful background bokeh. If I want to ensure the flower is tack sharp front to back, I'll stop the lens down to f/11 or f/16.
One of the things I love about this lens is the image stabilization. This permits me to hand hold even the tightest macro shots. I had the non-IS lens previously and was unable to hand hold the lens and had to use a tripod.
In setting up my composition, I'm looking for two key ingerediants. The subject flower and the background. Both are equally important.
For the flower, I'm looking for something that is interesting and in as close to pristine condition as possible. I want the flower to be healthy, no dead or water spots on the petals and hopefully as little pollen as possible on the flower. Each of these things will detract from the final image.
The background should enhance he final image permitting it to pop off the page. For the images below, I was able to use the flower plants themself to act as my background. By using a wide aperture (f/2.8), I was able to blur the background quite easily.
I've also found that even grass makes for a nice background. With the lens wide open, the grassy background will blur, giving the flower a beautiful green background which compliments the subject flower.
Here are a couple different images from the shoot...
So again, you don't have to travel to far to find beautiful flowers to photograph. Chances are they are already waiting for you right in your garden.
Have a great week and keep shooting!