Flower Portraits

Touched with Light - Varina Patel

Photographing flowers isn’t as easy as it looks. Getting close enough to the ground is a challenge in itself. I use a shortened center column on my Induro CT113, and I spread its lets out nice and wide. The small image below shows how low I can go with that setup… and I can actually turn the center column upside down if I want to go even lower! I can actually suspend the camera (upside down) less than an inch above the ground if I need to.

Lanai Kai, Oahu, Hawaii (HI), USA

The real trick with flower photography is finding the right angle. I usually take my camera off the tripod and look through the view finder in search of the best angle and composition. Once I’ve found my angle, I set up the tripod and make whatever adjustments I need to get the camera right where I want it.

Trillium - Varina Patel

Sometimes I want to be directly on top of the flower, looking straight down. At other times, I want to be on the same level with the flower itself.

Columbine - Varina Patel

Of course, I’m also acutely aware of the background in each photograph. I like to use a wide aperture to produce a very narrow depth of field. That way, the flower is in sharp focus, but the background is free of distracting elements.

Tom McCall Wilderness Area, Columbia River Gorge - Oregon, USA.

Shooting outdoors usually means you have to deal with wind and light, too. When wind is an issue, I’ll use a higher ISO to get a faster shutter speed. When it’s bright and sunny, I might use a diffuser to soften the light, or a reflector to bounce light onto my subject for a bit of fill light. I sometimes use a diffuser and reflector together to get the look I want.

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I love capturing the unique “personality” of a flower in its natural habitat. Can you share any tips for photographing flowers? I’d love to hear about the techniques you are using to capture flower portraits.


About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.