One of the easiest ways to end up with a frame worthy photograph is to photograph flowers. Their symmetry and beauty makes every close up photograph a joy to behold. Flowers and photographers are everywhere and since almost every digital camera has a macro lens setting, this photographic subject is often overdone and seems to present no challenge to the aspiring photographer.
Au contraire, I say. There is no limit to the level of composition and treatment you can give your flower pictures. You can go for a color scheme to match your current décor, you can choose a famous artist and emulate his style. Your creations may contain two, three, five or many blooms (try to stay away from the one big bloom in the middle). Attractive compositions can contain two flowers, one large, one small forming a diagonal. Three blooms create a triangle with one acting as the main subject and the other two as their counterparts. Racemes offer a built in curve and specie tulips are in a class of their own.
Photoshop and their like offer thousands of ways to improve your flower photographs. Unwanted items in the background can be cloned out, flower heads may look better moved over to a better location and additional blooms can be added to fill in an empty spot. Don’t neglect the edges, for special treatments like bevels, chalk borders and faded out vignettes can add interest to the piece. With digital photography there are no limits to attaining the image created in your mind.
In the field, special attention must be paid to the overall look of the picture. Try to decide what it is about a particular scene that grabs you fancy. Is it the unusual light descending on your subject, the quality and tone of a different looking background, or is it just the way your subjects relate to each other? Choose one quality and try to capture the peak of that essence in your digital camera. If you are successful in this respect at the expense of another facet of the picture, it can be fixed later on your computer.
Arboretums and botanical gardens are a bonanza of opportunities for the nature photographer. Even the pollinating insects can get into the act. The subject of flower photography may be the easiest to get started on, but can be the most rewarding for the creative artist.
Kenneth C. Hoffman, Retired portrait and wedding photographer. Has had three art exhibitions.
See also: Photography Tips