Key Concepts for Flower Photography


The Art of Flower Photography


Lesson Info

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.

Class Description

Flowers are full of color, depth, and texture which makes them a perfect subject for hobbyist and professional photographers. In The Art of Flower Photography with Kathleen Clemons, you’ll learn how to take photographs of flowers that highlight their mystery and inherent beauty.

Kathleen has been called the “Georgia O' Keeffe of flower photography," and in this class she’ll teach you how she creates her unforgettable images. You’ll learn about:

  • Choosing gear and equipment for flower portraits 
  • The importance of good light and how to find it
  • Factors that affect depth of field 
  • Guidelines on where to place the subject in the frame

You’ll learn the difference between artistic and documentary images and how to work in both styles. Kathleen will also offer flower photography tips on shooting some of the most popular flowers including: roses, callas, poppies, cosmos, orchids, daisies, and wildflowers.

Flowers are abundant, beautiful, and universally loved – learn how to create stunning portraits of them in The Art of Flower Photography with Kathleen Clemons.


a Creativelive Student

Kathleen Clemons is a wonderful teacher who communicates a powerful passion for flower photography. I learned so much from her about how to see and capture the beauty of a flower using macro lenses. As I launched into this new area of photography, I felt equipped and free to experiment and learn and grow. As I looked through the viewfinder of my camera, it's almost as though Kathleen was right there with me - I saw how to focus in on one area of the flower, then another, and change aperture settings to impact the depth of field, and experiencing the intricate beauty of God's creation. The ultimate moments for me were the images captured as a result of everything I learned. I highly recommend Kathleen Clemons as a teacher and this amazing class, The Art Of Flower Photography. Review by Catherine Martin

Cheryl Tarr

I love the way Kathleen sees flowers and captures their essence. I watched a free Creative Live course that Kathleen taught and became an instant fan, and when I saw this course advertised I knew right away I wanted to have it in my course collection. She has so many tips and tricks for capturing soft, artistic renderings of flowers and I appreciate that she is so willing to share these with others. She is very clear in explaining what she does - an excellent teacher as well as an outstanding and original photographer. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to explore flower photography.