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Flower Photography - Taking Good Pictures
In order to take great flower pictures, you don't need any fancy camera gear but you do need to have an eye for detail. Learning how to take sharp, crisp beautiful pictures of flowers like the ones we see in garden catalogs and magazines is really pretty easy with a digital compact, and this article shows you how.
Many of us have taken a picture of a flower and thought it was perfect - that is until we saw it enlarged or on a computer screen.
Another problem many new flower photographer enthusiasts find is that their pictures come out blurry and out of focus.
These are all things that are easy to avoid.
You should first always plan to take flower pictures when the lighting is good and the air is still (no wind). Even the most gentle breeze can cause enough of a quiver in the stem to create blur in a close up. Usually the calmest time of day is around dawn. Dawn is also the time when you can usually find the best lighting.
But if you don't want to get up early, you can still get great flower pictures. You can also get good lighting the hour before sunset and anytime when there is bright overcast light. These times offer soft light without the dark, harsh shadows. The times just after dawn and before sunset add a warm glow. And if it's always breezy, set up a blind or makeshift windbreak.
The other big reason for out of focus flower pictures is from using improper camera settings. Depending upon how close you want to get to the flower, set your camera to either Portrait or Macro. The macro setting lets you shoot from within an inch up to a foot depending upon your camera (check your camera's manual). If using manual settings, choose a wide aperture (small F-stop number). All of the settings just discussed will make the flower more sharply focused but will make the background more fuzzy.
Let's look now at turning that pretty flower into the perfect subject for your photo.
* Look for a flower with pristine undamaged petals. Or if you find a flower that's almost perfect, except for a ragged petal or two, simply remove them. If removing the petals will leave a gap then leave it alone and move on to another flower.
* Look for tiny bugs and loose particles like dust, and then remove with them with a soft, makeup or artist's brush.
* For a dewy look, gently sprinkle or spay the petals with a few drops of water.
Now it's time to compose your photograph.
* Look at the flower from various angles in your viewfinder or preview LCD. Make sure to look for shadows and other things in the background that may not look good in your picture. Notice how the light plays from different angles. You should also look at taking your picture from different angles or vantage points. Try lying on the ground for a bug's eye view or holding the camera high above the flower for a bird's eye view.
* Make sure that if you're leaning over the flower you don't cast a shadow on it. And if the flower is back lit (which can create a nice, iridescent effect), avoid lens flare by using a lens shade or wearing a broad brim hat to prevent light from entering the lens.
* You also want to look at the background tones. Contrasting tones will add depth and make your flower stand out.
Whenever you see an image you want to capture, fill the frame with the flower or use a classic composition method such as the "rule of thirds" where maybe the flower is two thirds of the image and the sky is one third.
Then focus on the part of the image you want to be the sharpest - this could be the stamen, a ladybug, etc. Then holding very steady, press the shutter.
As you can see from the tips in this article, flower photography is all about paying attention to detail. And how you display your beautiful flower images also matters so make sure to display it in a picture frame that nicely offsets the flower.