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Three Lessons from a Self-Assigned Flower Photography Project


Taking photographs of flowers must be one of the easiest forms of photography.


Right?


Wrong!


It is true to say that flowers are naturally beautiful as subjects. They are found in abundance, they sit still and wait for the photographer to fuss around with lenses and filters, they can be photographed in the wild, or inside as examples of still life photography, and they lend themselves to all types of creative approaches.


For all these reasons flower photography is a very common and popular form of photography.


Beautiful flower photographs are found on calendars, cards and notepaper, they brighten up any surface as wall hangings, they are found in abundance in photography books, magazines and exhibitions, and they are used as inspiration for many art projects.


Yet is it true to say that flower photography is one of the easiest forms of photography?


The very reasons that seem to make this a true statement might also apply to the very opposite view.


Flowers are easy to find and photograph therefore it is easy to take sloppy, banal shots that are ‘just another flower photograph’.


What anyone with a serious interest in flower photography must do is find different ways of framing flower shots; use different angles, different lighting, variations of background to make the photographs stand out from the crowd of flower photographs and have people stop and look and wonder ‘how was that done?’ rather than just see another nice flower photograph.


For this reason I set myself a flower photography self-assignment.


By doing a self-assigned flower photography project, I hope to discover what being a good flower photographer entails and how taking flower photographs can improve my overall photography skills.


I want to try to put into practice some of the skills I have learned already and deepen my understanding of composition, of setting up a good shot, and of editing my flower images.


I want to become more creative with my camera and try some new techniques. Photographing flowers will, hopefully, give me that opportunity.


My local park was the location for my assignment, and I used a combination of my 30mm macro lens and my ‘nifty fifty’ with a variety of magnifying filters, and my Sigma 17-50mm f2.8.


I took shots from different angles, focused on different parts of the flower, shot at a distance and also filled the frame with the flower in some shots.


Afterwards I did some basic editing in Lightroom, adjusting the exposure, temperature, highlights and shadows, contrast and clarity to try to bring out the best in the shots.


I discarded many of the shots but felt that the images below provided me with something to work on.


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3 Lessons I Learned from My Flower Photography Project


Firstly, I have learned that good flower photography isn’t easy. Flowers are naturally beautiful, and the camera can’t see as the eye can see so we can easily lose that beauty when trying to convert it into an image. Flower photography needs time, patience, a creative eye, imagination and a desire to capture and show the beauty of these small plants.


Secondly, I have learned that flower photography, far from being mundane, is actually very enjoyable. It provides lots of opportunities for creativity, for honing skills and, because of the abundance of these photography subjects at certain times of year, for getting out and about and just taking photographs.


Thirdly, I have begun to look at my achievements as a photographer rather than at my weaknesses. My initial attempts at flower photography resulted in simple snapshots. The subjects may have been beautiful but that didn't automatically translate into beautiful images. Then I realised that I needed to change my approach to flower photography if I was going to do justice to my beautiful subjects. It became an addictive activity and I am happy to spend hours taking lots of shots, discarding those that don’t appeal to me and working on those that do.


One main advantage of flower photography is that it is easy to go back again and try a different approach, make improvements, look for better ways to capture beautiful flower images.


There will always be flowers waiting patiently for a photographer to capture their beauty and show it off to the world!

 

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