9 Ways to Improve your Indoor Flower Photography

I am asked to teach people how to photograph flowers indoors more and more these days. Many people I teach, work with flowers in some way and want to improve the imagery they create for their business. Capturing the colours and emotions of petals and bouquets is always satisfying, even if flowers aren’t part of your career. So here are my 9 ways to improve your indoor flower photography.

 

Clear a Space by a Window

Choose a spot that gets a lot of light from the window, be aware of shadows from windowsills. Ideally you want a nice even light.

 

 

Use Natural Light

Sunlight is your best resource when it comes to photographing anything natural. Colours appear untrue under un-natural light sources. If you can, always use daylight to photograph flowers.

 

Take Note of Light Direction

Light ALWAYS has an effect on your subject. It affects how shadows appear, how much contrast you see and can add depth to a otherwise flat photograph. So when setting up your photograph, always consider the light direction. The photos on the left have been lit from the front and the right hand photos have been lit from the side.

 

 

Direct Sunlight vs Overcast Light

Direct sunlight is going to produce a very different ‘feel’ to the same photograph taken on an overcast day. Clouds act like a giant diffuser to the sun, balancing out light and producing a more even photograph. Overcast days also let colours ‘pop’ a little more instead of being washed out.

 

 

Direct sunlight can produce lovely dreamy effects when you play with shadows and shapes but often detail can be lost and petals washed out. It’s just about considering what you are trying to achieve with your photograph, a direct representation of an arrangement or to also evoke a feeling and emotion into the photograph.

 

 

Use a Tripod

Rather than opting for only photographing when it’s a bright sunny day (which, in the UK, can be few and far between!), using a tripod will open up the setting options you can use on your camera, offering you a chance to take a brighter photo in darker situations!

 

Choose the Best Aperture

Your aperture choice will often come down to:

  • How many flowers you want to be the focal point. A smaller f-number (2.8 downward) may be your best choice if you want to pick out a particular stem. But choose a larger f-number (5.6 upward) if you want a whole bouquet captured sharp.
  • What effect you are aiming to achieve. Choose a smaller smaller f-number (2.8 downward) if the aim of your photograph is more arty and abstract. Select a larger f-number (5.6 upward) to include more of the surrounding as well, if you are aiming to capture the scene ‘as is’.

Choose the Best Focal Length

Focal length always alters perspective so be aware of zooming in or out and how it will affect how your flower/arrangement will look. The photo on the left was taken from further away with the lens zoomed in. The photo on the right was taken from up close with the lens set to its widest focal length (zoomed out).

 

 

Arrange Through the Lens

Distances and placements of objects can look very different when translated from real life to the camera. So, always arrange whilst looking through the lens when setting up any kind of ‘still life’ photograph. Many new cameras will come with wifi and a phone/tablet app that will allow you to view on your screen what the camera sees. When arranging photographs I use my phone app a lot, it makes life a lot easier, especially if, when the camera is backed up against the a wall, you can’t see the camera screen easily.

 

 

Consistency is Key. Consistency is so important with all of these points, especially if you are trying to create a style, look or feel to your photographs. Do YOUR style and develop as you go. Be inspired by others but don’t copy. No one is you. Enjoy you camera.

 

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I offer 1-2-1 Camera Training for anyone looking to improve their photography and camera skills, and am always happy to incorporate flowers!