How to Add Pizzazz to Your Flower Photos

Wanna give your orchid (and other flower) shots some additional interest and dramatic effects? Here are some simple recommendations:

  • Rule #1: Your tripod is your friend! So, if you have a tripod, use it! If you don’t have one, get one. You will probably need to use a relatively long exposure and must keep the camera still — a tripod’s the way to go.
  • If you’re using a digital SLR and have a macro lens, then use it! A macro lens lets you get in really close and get approximately 1:1 magnification!
  • Use a non-reflective black or white backdrop behind the flower. Make sure to position the backdrop as far back from the flower as possible in order to make sure it’s not in focus and therefore no detail can be seen in the material.
  • Use natural light from a nearby window. You can use a reflector and/or additional lighting (e.g., off-camera flash) to fill-in areas in shadow.
  • Whether or not you’re using a macro lens, get in as close to the flower as you can to fill the frame with the part(s) of the flower you want in your composition.
  • Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray some water drops on the flower. You can apply the water drops all over the plant, or just to the areas for which you want to add some cool lighting effects, including internal and specular reflections/highlights. Specular highlights and internal reflections from within the water drops add interest to what might otherwise be a dull photo.
  • After spraying, be sure to wait until the flower is completely still before shooting and make sure there’s no water on the camera lens!
  • Use an aperture setting that gives you the depth of field you’re looking for. I like to use an aperture of around f/22 ±1 or 2 stops to get a really large depth of field and, therefore, bring all of the subject into focus. Again, keep the backdrop as far behind the plant as possible, especially when using a small aperture. In a future post, I’ll cover focus stacking. This technique produces composite images with front-to-back clarity and focus. The last image below, is a focus stacked image.
  • Take the shot…
  • Actually, take a lot of shots! Try varying the aperture setting and lighting.

Below are examples of orchid images I’ve created using the recommendations above (some have been further enhanced with Photoshop and Lightroom). BTW, all of these are available for purchase from my website. You can get prints up to 30″x45″ or gallery wrapped canvas ready for hanging up to 60″x40″!

If you like, click on any of the images below to go directly to that image on my site. then click on the shopping cart icon at the bottom of the screen to see your purchase options (hi-res downloads, prints, products), and other options:

IMG_1071-Edit Dendrobium Orchid Cattleya Orchid with Macro Lens Yellow Flowers Dendrobium Orchid Macro Shot in Natural Light Oncidium Orchid Macro ShotMacro of Tradescantia Pallida FlowerPaphiopedilum OrchidHibiscus Flower (Focus Stacked Image Made from 47 Images taken w