The Art of Flower Photography

My love of photography began with taking photos of flowers along my walks, so I was thrilled to learn that I was accepted to be in the live audience on Creative Live with Kathleen Clemons from Maine.  She is a very talented instructor and photographer.

Kathleen Clemons via iPhone

Kathleen Clemons via iPhone

Her knowledge and love of flower photography is impressive!  She gave information about her gear, practical tools to help while out shooting flowers, and most importantly how to see the essence of the flower.  Another great discovery for me is that she does not use a tripod!  This was a plus, as it is difficult to carry a tripod when out Camera Walking, which is when I usually take photos of flowers.

Sun Petals

Sun Petals – taken with Canon 24-105mm  lens

Kathleen’s Creative Live course is going live this week for purchase, but I thought I would share some of what I learned here in this post.

#1.  What do you want from your photo? We all have different tastes.  Some like blur in their photos, others want the flower to be tack sharp with everything in focus, while many of us like more bokeh.  Knowing what you want and knowing your equipment is very important.  She urged us to learn our gear – what is the minimum focus distance of each lens, so you can know how close you can get to the shot.  Interestingly she uses a 180 mm telephoto lens (because you cannot always get close to the flower), as well as a variety of lenses from Lensbaby.

Pink Rose - taken with Canon 70-200 mm lens

Pink Rose – taken with Canon 70-200 mm lens

As a result of this workshop I purchased a Lensbaby Velvet 56 mm, a terrific portrait and macro lens.  The photo below was one I captured the first day out walking.  You can see that there is a good amount of bokeh and blur, which I like.

Dreamy - taken with Lensbaby Velvet 56

Dreamy – taken with Lensbaby Velvet 56

#2.  Learn to see. While taking photos of flowers, slow down and look for the things that make the flower different.  Notice what captures your eye, what captures the essence of the flower.  Just like with any subject, we need to look at the flower from many directions.  In the photo below the color and the two main petals jumped out at me.

Blue Dance - Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens

Blue Dance – Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens

# 3. Take flower portraits. Flowers are like people – they have their own personalities if you look for them.  Focus on shooting single flowers, like the one below.  I love the focus on the flower with the muted colors in the background.

Looking Behind - Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens

Looking Behind – Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens

#4. Enjoy the lifespan of a flower.  Flowers can be beautiful while they are a “newborn,” at “primetime,” and when they become “seniors.”

Overcast skies

Overcast skies

#5.  Go black and white when color isn’t the focus.  I always think of flowers as being best in color, but after seeing some of the examples of flowers in black and white at the workshop, it changed my mind.

Early Bud

Early Bud

#6.  Look for the curves.  This is Kathleen’s favorite aspect of the flower – the curves.  She has many beautiful examples in the course, so take a look.  I found one that I took a few years ago, so I thought I would share it.

Orchid Heart

Orchid Heart

Kathleen had many great tips, but one that especially resonated with me was “sing your own song.”   We all have different tastes and ways of seeing, and the photos we take share our “song” with the world.   So join me and grab your camera and go out Camera Walking.


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