How to Take Kickass Flower Photos

Guest Blogger: Miles Kuperus @whats_blooming

I recently took a trip to the Botanical Gardens in Washington, DC on a dreary February afternoon and it was refreshing feeling the warm humid air in the tropics section alongside the piped in bird sounds that they play (I’ll take what I can get). I also thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show how to take a photo that focuses on the flower, its detail and retains an artistic touch.

There are a several different ways to photograph a plant, but my focus is on the style that I’ve come to love, which is the flower/fruit and the detail associated with it. Many of my photos come from seemingly inconspicuous areas, but all that matters is lighting and composition, plus a little editing flair. I’ll take you through some examples of how to spot where a great flower photo can be taken.

Gear I Use

Gear: I shoot with a Nikon D750, mainly with a 50mm f1.4 lense for all my photos. But these tips should help you get a great photo with nearly any camera (even your phone).

Software: To get the colors to stand out I use Adobe Lightroom and have my own presets that I have developed to make the colors stand out and look their best.

Buy Nikon D750

Buy Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop

Example 1: Flat Light

Here is a planter box of Lupinus, which look beautiful in their own right. The beauty is when you get closer and start looking at the details. Here are some details I noticed:

How To Take Flower Photos

  • There are some complementary colors going on: the purple and the yellows, pinks/purples go well against green
  • The light is very even, there is no harsh sunlight. This makes it so we can approach the photograph from different perspectives easily.
  • The vertical stems create framing opportunities for other flowers behind them.
  • The goofy looking purple flower is interesting, framed correctly we can start getting some leading lines across the frame.

How To Take Flower Photos

Here I am taking the photos, when I am shooting:

  • I generally shoot very shallow at an aperture of 1.4-2.0. This is how the “dreamy” look that focuses on the detail comes to life. It’s risky because I risk not having a sharp image.
  • I focus on my background not becoming overpowering or too bright. It will wash out the flower.
  • I focus on framing elements like mentioned before

And here is the finished result:

As you see, the first picture is framed by two other flowers bringing the focus on the center flower and the second picture is stunning because it seems to fall off the frame with the focus being on the delicate petals that are on the Lupinus.

How To Take Flower Photos

Example 2: Side Lit

Here is a Bromeliaceae Aechmea ‘Blue Tango’. It is a really cool flower with a unique flower and petal structure. So how do we approach this one? Some observations:

  • The light is soft and coming from the right side, so it is directional. We want to have the light behind, or to the side of our backs.
  • The background is busy, with the orchid pot in the way and it’s all mixed up. We need simple, otherwise the flower will be lost.
  • If we photograph with the light behind the flower it will wash out the whole photo.

How To Take Flower Photos

The solution is to shoot it from the top down! (Make sure to make the squinty eye face when you’re taking the shot, it makes the photo better).

How To Take Flower Photos

Final Result:

We have a clean background that gives context to the flower while showing the detail this flower holds.

The key is to keep practicing and you’ll end up mastering this, just get out and click that shutter and keep on being your best and worst critic. You’ll find a style that you’ll fall in love with, please make sure to share them as well! Here are some other photos from the trip that will hopefully inspire you.

Last Tip

*I didn’t get the name, always take photos of the name plates!!

About The Author

My name is Miles Kuperus. I have a love of photography and I love photographing flower blooms and sharing them on Instagram/Facebook @whats_blooming. This passion project stemmed from me needing to learn the local plants since moving to Washington DC. I started taking pictures of blooms in the spring and researched and wrote down a little snippet that I could share and easily remember to help me expand my plant palette. I’m growing a community where we all can get together and take really badass photos of flowers and learn from each other about the plants, and other best practices to making sure they thrive.

Find Miles and see more of his brilliant work on Instagram and Facebook: @whats_blooming


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