Earth laughs in flowers. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I had a blast this past weekend in Ogunquit, ME. This time, the main attraction on the famous Marginal Way didn’t seem to be the spectacular ocean view, but the sea of beautiful flowers. People with camera phones, iPads, DSRLs were thrilled to capture the nice colors. Great shooting opportunity: mostly cloudy, the rain had just ended. And by the way, no one had a tripod. I know they are highly recommended when shooting close-ups. But a tripod wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind when going for a leisurely stroll by the ocean, would it?
Here are a few suggestions so your flower shots come out great, even when you didn’t feel like lugging a tripod with you.
1. Get closer for more impact
Use Aperture Priority mode and set your aperture between f/8 and f/11. Depth of field is limited in close-up photography and you want to get most of the flower in focus. If your speed gets too low, increase the ISO. I am pretty comfortable using even an 800 ISO with my camera, but ideally you should keep it as low as possible to minimize digital noise.
2. Pay attention to the background
Check to make sure there are no distractions in the background. By distractions I mean brighter colors, highlights, or anything that would compete with the main subject. You want to isolate the flower from the background. I know this could be a bit challenging with flowers, but it’s important. Move around to find the best spot.
3. Leave some out
You don’t need to include the whole flower in the frame all the time. Leaving out part of it can create a more interesting shot – especially when shooting larger flowers, like sun flowers. A blue sky would even make a nice background since blue and yellow are complementary colors.
4. Shoot in the rain
Rain could add some dramatic effect to otherwise less interesting flowers. The pouring rain in the monochromatic photo above is what makes it captivating. You don’t always have to go after the most colorful flowers. Next time it rains, go out and shoot. Be careful not to get your camera wet.
5. Try a different perspective