What's the best type of day to take photos of flowers? Surprisingly, not when you're taking that stroll through a wonderful garden on a sunny day. Bright overhead sun creates harsh shadows and can wash out colour.
Take photos on bright overcast days or step out just after the rain has stopped and it's still cloudy. The overcast sky acts as a large soft box removing harsh shadows and enhancing colour. After a fresh rain colours are also intensified.
If you can't avoid the sun try take an in-camera double exposure. By combining one exposure that's sharp with another that's out of focus you can reduce the amount of harsh contrast and create a glow around the flower. It's important to either use a tripod, or if hand holding the shot, keep your camera as steady as possible.
Another option on sunny days is to take the photo while the flower in covered in shade, or create your own shade with a hat.
Isolate the flower and remove clutter by changing your perspective and simplify the background. This allows the flower to stand out.
Alternatively, if you can't simplify the background this way, use a widest aperture available on the lens (F2.8 for example), and use the longest focal setting (for example 200mm) to blur the background. This isolates the flower by blurring the background.
Create a visual pattern. This works well if there are many flowers in a field or if there's a bunch of flowers in the garden. Look for interesting or repeating patterns and textures to lead the eye through the image.
Take a close up! If you have a lens with macro capability zooming into a portion of the flower can provide opportunities to make wonderful images. Be careful with your focus however, as the depth of field will be very shallow.
Thought for the Day
“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces.” – Ansel Adams
Sometimes a change in perspective is all that's needed to get your creative juices flowing. Reflective surfaces such as windows, glass buildings and metal surfaces are great canvases that can be used to change your perspective and create some thought provoking images.
Thought for the Day
“You don't take a photograph, you make it." Ansel Adams
Eight essential tips for taking pictures in the snow.
Thought For The Day
“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams
A leading line is a compositional technique that draws the viewer's eye into the subject matter of the image. The line(s) guide the eye through the image to the focal point. Sometimes a leading line can be very direct - a road, railway track or shoreline. At other times they can be softer and more subtle.
Leading lines can originate from anywhere in the image, but most often they start at the bottom of the frame and work up towards the subject. Leading lines play an important role to:
In the next set of images the leading lines are very obvious, created by the lines in the sand on the left or the pathway on the right. The image on the left, after drawing the viewer into the images also to the destination of the traveler.
As well as leading the eye into the images, leading lines can guide the eye through the image. In both of the following photos the eye once led into the image is taken on a visual journey.
Leading lines are also an excellent way of adding depth and perspective while focusing the eye on the subject of importance in the frame. In the following images the eye is led to the lighthouse on the left, and the setting sun on the right.
Using leading lines as a key compositional technique in your image can help you improve your photography or painting, and help you tell your unique story.
Thought for the Day
"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work." Emile Zola
I've been working on various projects involving cast shadows over the past few years. Some of them have made their way into my paintings. Others have made it into my photo portfolio. These projects allow me to step beyond my comfort zone and look at making imagery in a new way.
What I like about photographing (or painting) the shadow cast by an object is that the shadow is very graphical, almost like a drawing. There's not a lot of colour; texture, line and value are key. It's also a process of discovery, a little like the drawing exercise where you pencil in the shapes between things and eventually the objects appear.
For me this process of discovery also provides insight into the object, perhaps a more spiritual representation of the object than can traditionally be created with a more representational image.
Thought for the day
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." Aristotle
Eric David is a visual artist / fine art photographer that lives and works in Toronto.