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A Meaty Tutorial on Flower Photography

March 26th, 2013 No Comments

SmallPurpleFlowers-2-cropFloral Photography is often a great draw to novices and amateurs . . . who are equally often disappointed by the results they achieve.  Anyone interested in this field can raise his/her game a few notches by following the suggestions in a meaty new tutorial by Jose Antunes on photo tuts+.

Antunes begins his how-to by disabusing readers of the notion that expensive equipment is essential; he says “it’s not the gear that is important. It’s the photographer,” and goes on to show a few images he shot with compacts.

Point 3, “Sit, Meditate and See” should surely have been Point 2.  This is a prerequisite; do this before you touch your camera.

Novice, amateur, or experienced, Antunes wants you to play and experiment with your lens where Flower Photography is concerned.  You may be able to get so close that you can get “just get a little bit of the flower. Do it, sometimes less is more.”  He actually demonstrates this point in another instruction.

Point 7, “Use Contrasting Backgrounds” (the title is poor; there is only one ‘background’) is particularly important in this area of photography.  What is meant is that complementary colours – hues opposite each other on the colour circle – be used as foreground and background colours.  Incidentally, Antunes does this to fantastic effect in his photo accompanying point 1 in which saturated orange explodes against an equally saturated azure.

You may miss the lessons that a single image imparts if you focus solely on the written instruction, as valuable as it is.  For instance, in “Get Down on Your Knees” the accompanying image is an object lesson in composing, cropping, and positioning of the foreground elements relative to the background.  It also indicates the importance of depth of field and choice of aperture.

Read the tutorial through, you’ll surely find one tip you will want to run out and use immediately.  For instance, if you want a sharply delineated flower in a splash of vivid colour, Antunes tells you how to do it in “Control Your Depth of Field.”

Point 8, under the misleading title “Get the Whole Picture,” is probably the most important one.  Not only is the overarching philosophy appropriate for flowers, it is one of the keys to good photography for any kind of still life and perhaps even portraiture.  It is worth closing this post with: 

“I can start by doing the photo that attracted me first, but then I go back to general views and move towards getting more detail again. [This] is a good working solution when you are facing a subject you feel has potential, but you seem to not be able to get a good picture of.  Slowly moving from general shots to more intimate images helps to, eventually, reach a moment when everything fits in place and you get your picture of the day. From my experience I’ve found that the more you stay with a subject, the more you can discover about it.”


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