Key Concepts for Flower Photography
Kathleenisms, these are things that my students always tell me that they hear me saying in their heads when they're out photographing. And the first one is clone, don't crop. Keep your pixels if there's just something on the edge that needs to go, clone it out, don't crop all, slice off. It'll also, if you know that you're not gonna crop, you're going to work harder at your composition and you're gonna be more careful. Work your subjects. You wouldn't go to the Grand Canyon and take one photo. So you need to be really looking at your subjects and shooting and examining them from all different angles. Simplify. A simple composition is going to be a stronger composition. You want to keep the attention on your subject. You don't want distracting elements. Check your edges, do that border patrol. Remember my little photo bomber or those leaves sneaking into the edge of the frame? If that happens you have clothespins and pull them out of the way. Sometimes you can just choose a different an...
gle, move a little to the side, move up, move down, and eliminate the distractions or just gently tuck them behind another stem if they're yours. The other thing that I say a lot is, if it doesn't add it needs to go. Look at your composition. Everything in that frame should be because you want it there. Don't say, "well it was there and I couldn't help it." No, it was there because you chose to include it. So you need to really really be looking that to be sure that everything in there has a purpose or it needs to go. The strongest focus area needs to have the best light. So important, remember that. And the last one is ask yourself, "What would happen if ..." What would happen if I tried this? What would ... and try it, because that's how you're going to grow as a photographer and your work is going to get stronger. So, my summary. I want you to slow down. If that means using a tripod, use your tripod. And that also might mean putting your camera away for a little while when you first get to a garden or to a subject. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down with students going, "I just, I don't see anything." And we put the camera down, we sit together and we look. And we talk about what drew your eye, how do you want to capture this, what are you gonna need for gear to capture this, what about the backgrounds, and start from there. But sometimes if it gets you get overwhelmed, you just need to put that camera away and just look because it has to start with your vision for the subject. I want you to get to know your equipment. You need to know your minimum focus distance, you need to know how much you can fill the frame with any particular lens, you need to know if maybe you should add extension tubes. If you don't want to buy a new lens, you need to work your compositions, shoot that horizontal, shoot that vertical. Shoot from low, shoot from high. Pay attention to your backgrounds. Your background is as important as your subject. And you need to give it a lot of thought and care, simplify. Your compositions are gonna be stronger if they're simpler. And check for distractions, that's part of the border patrol, eliminate them. And try and capture the essence of your subject. If I captured a calla lily and I didn't capture the curves, I wouldn't have captured the essence of it. So if you study the subject, and really see what it's about, and what it's strengths are and try and emphasize that with your compositions and your focus and your aperture selection, the image is going to be stronger. And sing your own song. Don't try and shoot images just like me, don't shoot for camera clubs, for groups who want a cookie cutter picture, shoot for yourself. If it makes your heart sing and it makes you happy, that's what counts and shoot and shoot and shoot.