Wildflower Photography Tips
Spring is here, we know because the weather forecast is for snow! Along with spring come the wildflowers and with nicer weather this is a great time to get out and do some photography. I made a trip to Devils Den State Park today to shoot some Trout Lilies and created some example shots to show how to improve your wildflower photos.
Use a diffuser when shooting in direct sunlight
The photo above was taken in direct sunlight late in the day, not during midday when the contrast would be even greater.
For the photo below I added a translucent diffuser between the sun and the flower. You can see how much softer the light is and how the harsh shadows disappear.
Another shot with and without a diffuser between the sun and the flower
Control Depth of Field
Another strategy is to use the correct aperture to obtain the desired depth of field for the photo. You want to have the background thrown out of focus, but keep the important parts of the flower in sharp focus. The following series of shots were taken with changing aperture settings from wide open to stopped all the way down.
1/640 sec. at f/2.5, iso 200, 50 mm macro
1/125 sec. at f/5.6, iso 200, 50 mm macro
1/30 sec. at f/11, iso 200, 50 mm macro
1/4 sec. at f/32, iso 200, 50 mm macro
My preference on this sequence of photos is the second one, which I feel achieves a good balance between an out of focus background and an in focus flower.
Take a flower portrait
To me one of the most important factors in making a good flower portrait is to compose the shot much as you would a portrait of a person. In the photo below the flower was shot as we would see it walking thru the woods and looking down on it.
For good flower photos you need to get down to the level of the flower to shoot, as in the photo below.
Get in close
And of course a great closeup, where the flower does not even fit into the frame is a great eye catcher.