From the untamed beauty of wild blooms through to those most exquisitely cultivated varieties, the beauty of flowers is hard to surpass. And yet, for such a photogenic subject, flowers can prove deceptively challenging to photograph — especially when you’re relying on a smartphone (which let’s face it, is often the case). From lighting to angles, apps and more, there are some simple ways to elevate your photos that won’t take the time or cost you a penny. Read on for our top tips on how to improve your flower photography in five simple steps.
Use natural light
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, try turning off the lights before taking a snap. Artificial lighting can run the risk of producing images that are bleached out, flat or yellow, whereas natural light will help true colours to shine. Take your flowers outside to a light spot away from direct sunlight or, if you’re indoors, place your flowers near to a window or another source of natural light to photograph them. Photography is an exploration of light and nature provides the best set up for taking beautiful images, it’s great to experiment with different lighting conditions.
Clear the clutter
There are awesome photo opportunities everywhere but it’s often a good idea to frame your composition and avoid the clutter. Nowhere more so than in a busy florist’s workshop where buckets, boxes, tools and cups of tea come as part of the backdrop. Although there’s nothing wrong with showing this side of floristry (we love a workplace snap), a clearer canvas can give your images more impact and show off your beautiful flowers at their best. Try and find dedicated areas specifically to take photos. Light changes throughout the day so there might be a perfect spot in the morning with beautiful bright sunshine and another space towards the end of the day when the sun begins to set. A plain background with a source of natural light will work wonders, a desk or worktop close to a window is ideal.
If there are distinct lines in your image e.g. a horizon, vertical or horizontally patterned background (such as brickwork or tiles), or simply the surface that your flowers are sitting on, balance the lines in the image before taking the photo. This is where the grid function on smartphones and cameras come in useful. Aim to align any horizontal or vertical lines to ‘fit’ the grid and the image will immediately look more balanced and pleasing to the eye. If in doubt, simply look for the furthest line in the image, usually the horizon, and adjust accordingly.
Experiment with angles and perspective
The ‘best’ shot isn’t always the most obvious one, which is where it can come in useful to play with angles and perspective. Try taking photos from different angles, move around the flowers, walk up close or further away, stoop down for an upwards angle or photograph from above for a bird’s-eye view. You may just discover an intriguing angle that you wouldn’t have discovered before, and at the very least you’ll end up with a diverse collection of photos for your image bank — handy if you’re planning to use your photos on social media.
Edit photos with mobile apps
If you’re using your phone camera there are lots of free editing apps available to help fine-tune your snaps. Snapseed and Adobe Photoshop Fix are a couple of our favourites. As a rule, we steer clear of filters or heavy editing, preferring instead to let the flowers speak for themselves. Having done the hard work already, editing apps are great for balancing, cropping, lightening or sharpening an image. The Snapseed ‘Spotlight’ tool is especially useful for adding light to dark spots without affecting the whole photo, and the Photoshop healing tools are great for subtly removing any blemishes such as a rogue leaf or water-stained worktop surface.