Flower Photography – How To Take Good Natural Flower Photos (Pt 1)

Flowers are naturally beautiful, and easy to find in the warmer months of the year, and so make a great subject for a photo. This article covers the top tips to get great photos when photographing flowers in their natural surroundings.

Choose interesting angles

If you want your flower photos to stand out from the crowd, try taking photos from unusual angles, such as looking up.

Generally when taking natural flower photos, you will want to take the photo at slightly above eye level with the flower, ensuring that the centre of the flower can be seen. This will mean crouching down, or for smaller flowers getting the camera right down at ground level.

When photographing flowers at ground level you may need to flatten or remove blades of grass or leaves that would otherwise be in the way between the camera and the flower.

Use natural light and a tripod if needed

For taking photos of flowers in their natural environment you will be best using natural light, and not flash. Natural light will generally give less harsh shadows, and should also ensure that the background behind the flower is lit well.

The best time of the day for photographing flowers is early morning or late afternoon, where the light will be warmer and less harsh than it gets later in the day. The wind is also generally lower at the start and end of the day, meaning you are less likely to get the flower blowing about while you try and take photos of it.

Depending on how well your flower is lit (e.g. if you’re shooting a bluebell in woodland then it’s probably relatively dark), then you may need to use a tripod to stabilise the camera. When placing the tripod try to be careful not squash other nearby flowers and not to knock the flower you are wanting to photograph. You don’t want to find the perfect flower and then knock all its petals off while trying to position your tripod!

For taking photos of flowers during the daytime, try shooting when there is hazy cloud, as the cloud helps diffuse the sunlight. This makes the shadows less harsh and produces a more pleasing photo.

Use a diffuser to diffuse harsh light

If you’re trying to photograph a flower under bright daylight, you can use a diffuser to soften the light, and reduce harsh shadows / highlights on the flower. A diffuser is just a thin piece of material or paper that spreads harsh direct light out over a larger area.

You can buy commercially produced diffusers, or make your own. You need some white translucent material, like a plastic bag, tissue paper, or an old T-shirt. Stretch the material over a frame (an old coat hanger bent into a diamond shape works well), and attach it securely.

When photographing the flower, hold the diffuser between the sun and the flower. You should immediately see the reduction in harsh shadows and highlights on the flower.

Landscape style flower photography

When you find a large area covered with flowers, you’ll probably want to take a photo of the whole scene. The same rules as standard landscape photography apply here. Try and include some foreground, middle-ground, and background to create a sense of depth and scale. Try and use leading lines and the rule of thirds when composing the photo too.

If it is windy, make sure you set the camera to use a fast enough shutter speed to avoid the flowers coming out blurry.

Dew covered petals

Flowers covered in early morning dew make an attractive photo, but if you missed the early morning, or there wasn’t any dew, you can create your own. If you have a misting bottle or spray bottle, you can use this to create a false dew on the flower.