Flower Photography Tutorial

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This is a thorough covering of flower photography, with an emphasis on composition and aesthetics. Many examples show what to do and what not to do. There is a lot of visual humor used, to make the presentation entertaining as well as informative.

Text of Flower Photography Tutorial

  • 1.Flower Photography By Dave Shafer

2. Objectives of my flower pictures

  • Show something new
  • Entertain or amuse
  • Create Beauty
  • Express my personality

3. Heres to self-expression! 4. Flower Photography is not that difficult Basic principles can be taught 5. Principles of my flower photography

  • Basic competence
  • Closeup is best more interesting
  • Simplify composition
  • Optimize background
  • Experiment with composition
  • Look for some different take
  • Extreme closeup
  • Unusual perspective
  • Anthropomorphic composition
  • Art- flowers as shapes and colors
  • Stereo photos

6. My 105 mm macro lens for my Pentax K-10 camera Fully extended, 1.0X magnification 7.

  • Usually f/8 to f/16, for large DOF
  • Often hand-held, with image stabilization, in bright sunlight
  • Always natural lighting, no flash
  • All flower photos shown are by me
  • Mostly in last two years
  • All digital
  • Most were taken at home

8. Now some thoughts, to break the ice 9. I try to keep up with the latest technology 10. Times have changed 11. You dont want to feel out of it 12. Dont wait for the perfect camera 13. Your eye is more important than your camera 14. Taking good photos can be a piece of cake 15. It is really relatively simple 16. You can get good advice from books 17. There are lots of how-tobooks 18. But you cant believe everything you read 19. My favorite tabloid headline

  • Skydiver eaten by starving birds

20. There are clubs where you can learn 21. It is probably best to just dive in and start taking photos 22. Give it your best shot 23. There will be a few salacious images shown this evening 24. I apologize to any prudes, like those who want to cover up tree crotches 25. Nude or semi-nude photography is exciting 26. But flower photography can also expose you to new experiences 27. Im going to squeeze in a lot of images so let me know if I am packing in too much 28. Groups of flowers tend to be static Hard to be interesting with groups of flowers very pretty, but static 29. Closeup is more interesting 30. Closeup is more intimate 31. Distance makes us voyeurs, not participants 32. Closeup draws you right into the picture 33. You get pulled right in by the close foreground 34. Use macro lens to show detail 35. Simplify No single focus of interest Single point of interest 36. OK to break rules if image is striking enough 37. Or if you really like the composition 38. Or if there is a dynamic composition 39. Simple compositions are best 40. But too much symmetry is static 41. Balance simplicity versus interest 42. Optimize background Pretty , but distracting background Much better 43. Try different colors for background 44. Black is more dramatic but also is cold 45. Choice can be tough to make 46. Like this Scottish dilemma 47. Background should add but not dominate 48. Remove clutter from background 49. Clutter is distracting 50. Even the foreground can be distracted by the background 51. But background can provide context 52. Experiment with composition A shadow can add interest 53. Try reversing the image 54. Read pictures from left to right 55. Often choice is pretty arbitrary 56. Diagonal lines are good 57. Look for tension in your composition 58. Opposing shapes right and left 59. Better not quite as symmetrical 60. Consider dramatic lighting 61. Or atmospheric lighting 62. Too much symmetry 63. You dont have to show the whole blossom 64. Less is more, in an arresting photo 65. Part of a dogwood is just as good 66. Isolate most interesting part 67. Focus can be used to isolate 68. White details are hard to bring out 69. Lighting direction for white is important 70. Oblique lighting is best 71. Mistakes are common 72. Mistakes too much photoshop Looks a little like a plastic plant Too much color saturation 73. Photoshop is a powerful tool that can turn on you 74. Colors and contrast are too strong 75. Too garish a color combination 76. Looks unreal too dramatic 77. Maybe too simple 78. Two centers of interest are not good 79. Eye keeps going back and forth 80. Unless one is out of focus 81. Or if the two centers of interest are related to each other 82. And have some obvious connection 83. Three are better than two 84. Not just with flowers 85. Two usually makes a static composition 86. Sometimes you want the eye to go back and forth 87. Within Reason 88. Vase can also add interest 89. And add color contrast 90. Cheating is allowed 91. You can crimp, bend, cut, twist, etc. 92. After basic competence, strive for something new

  • Extreme closeup
  • Unusual perspective
  • Anthropomorphic composition
  • Art flowers as shapes and colors
  • Stereo photos

93. I hope I still have your attention 94. Extreme closeup African violet center 95. Surprising details emerge 96. Pollen can be interesting 97. Pollen closeups can be bizarre 98. A poppy center has lots of detail 99. Unopened buds can be interesting 100. There is tension in an unopened bud 101. A little suspense is good 102. Buds can have interesting detail 103. Closeup flower texture 104. Surface texture depends on lighting 105. Unusual Perspective 106. Unusual perspectives are interesting 107. Different taking point can transform picture 108. Unusual perspective can add humor 109. Drama can be added to the familiar 110. Unusual perspective can be puzzling 111. Your imagination is engaged 112. Back of flower + cropped and flipped 113. Back of flower, flowers through glass 114. Light can be from back or front 115. Back of daffodil is less familiar 116. Back of leaf can be interesting 117. As well as front of leaf 118. This needs work on background 119. Improved image 120. Unusual colors on some leaves 121. Decay can add interest (except in people) 122. Try other orientations and settings 123. Top of orchid, back of calla lily Calla Cobra 124. Base of carnation 125. Cropped, simplified, improved 126. Try to surprise with an image 127. To make a splash 128. And turn heads 129. You want photos with impact 130. Images that surprise 131. Challenge expectations 132. Give the familiar a new twist 133. Imagine interesting combinations - Goldilocks and papa bear 134. Unusual perspective and unusual combination 135. Dont get stuck in a conventional rut 136. Bugs can add interest 137. But bugs usually detract from the beauty of the flower 138. Unless it is a butterfly 139. Bugs can add life to a static picture 140. Iris and fly 141. Flowers as higher life forms 142. There are faces everywhere 143. Look everywhere for the human element 144. Tree Lady 145. It takes very little to suggest a face 146. Just peeling a potato might turn one up 147. Look for suggestive patterns 148. Even abstract emotion can be expressed 149. Anthropomorphicphotos Elephant head violet Orchid man 150. Books are best for telling a story 151. Photos can also tell a story: in a crisis its time to send in the clowns 152. A photo story goes beyond what is shown 153. Even shadows can be part of the story 154. Let me help and The Gossips Found arrangement Set up arrangement 155. Dancing Orchid Ladies and Diamond Lily 156. Orchid Lady has amazing human detail 157. As does randy orchid boy 158. Sealife-like center, sinuous curves 159. Daffodil Marriage Spat 160. Crocodile Leaf 161. Backyard Giraffe 162. Flower Candy 163. Pond reflections of fall leaves 164. Foggy morning with super saturated colors 165. Art flowers as shapes and colors 166. African violet center, Hosta leaves 167. You can paint with colors, shapes and composition 168. Flower shapes as semi- abstract forms 169. Shapes and colors 170. Simple art compositions 171. Simplicity is key 172. Art requires simple background 173. Color can carry the day with very simple compositions 174. Less is more, in art 175. Unless youre into tatoos 176. Stereo images 177. This is a lot of material to remember 178. But dont worry, theres no quiz 179. Had enough? 180. 181. The End