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Top 10 tips for getting the lighting right in your flower photos

Hi! My name is Sue Bishop and I am a tutor with MyPhotoSchool and teach Flower Photography and Landscape Photography.

This article is an extract from my new course on Flower photography and demonstrates the importance of good lighting.

Try and take flower photos on bright overcast days to avoid shaddows spoiling the image.

Try to take flower photos on bright overcast days to avoid shadows spoiling the image.


In this image I hadn't noticed the shaddows of grass falling on the petals and spoiling the shot

In bright sunlight other flowers or blades of grass can cast shadows on your subject.


Bright sunlight can lead to high contrast giving dark shaddows and bright highlifgts which can sometime be too much for the camera to record



Bright sunlight can lead to high contrast giving dark shadows and bright highlights which can sometime be too much for the camera to record.


Front light i.e. light coming directly over your shoulder as you take the photo can give a very flat, unflattering dusty look.



1. Front light i.e. light coming directly over your shoulder as you take the photo can give a very flat, unflattering dusty look.


Turn 90% and this same flower is transformed into something 3 dimesntional with petals that seem to glow

1. Turn 90 degrees and this same flower is transformed into something 3 dimensional with petals that seem to glow.


Another example of frontlighting is this shot of tulips. It shows all their blimishes and imperfections and makes them look tired

Another example of front lighting is this shot of tulips. It shows all their blemishes and imperfections and makes them look tired.



These same tulips are transformed when I change my position to face the sun and they are now back lit. They glow in the sunlight and look vibrant and refreshed.


Back lighting works better with some flowers than others.   Flowers with strong colours work well like Crocus and Tulips

Back lighting works better with some flowers than others. Flowers with simple shapes and strong colours such as crocuses and tulips can work well.


When using back light be careful to avoide 'flare' sun spots reflecting off you lens.  use a lens hood if you have one or a peice of card to shield the lens.

When using back light be careful to avoid 'flare', i.e. sun spots reflecting off your lens. Use a lens hood if you have one or a piece of card to shield the lens.



This is not to say you should never take flower photos in full sun, but the best shots are usually taken in bright overcast conditions with no shadows so the flowers are shown off to their best effect.

Geoff Harris

I am a photography journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill, Steve McCurry and the late Mary Ellen Mark. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time.

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