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Get a New Angle on Flower Photography

5 tips on how to photograph flowers in a new and interesting way.

Flower, Flower Photography, Macro, Garden, Sunrise, sunset, angle, silhouette, frame, filling, portrait, McClamp, yellow osteospermum

Bored of shooting plants and flowers in the same old way? Here are some blooming brilliant creative ideas
May is a wonderful time to shoot plants flowers, especially if you have endured a chilly, sparse winter and early spring.

As with many other types of photography, it's easy to rely on familiar techniques and compositions that make your images look a bit samey – not to mention quite similar to everyone else's. With that in mind here are some quick and easy tips for more creative plant and flower photography.

Flower, Flower Photography, Macro, Garden, Sunrise, sunset, angle, silhouette, frame, filling, portrait, McClamp,

1) Shoot from a different angle


For starters, try exploring all different angles, rather than just shooting head on. A good tip is to lie on the ground and shoot flowers against a sky – this is particularly handy if you are faced with a flat, grey sky. Remember, grey and even rainy days can enhance the colours of petals and green leaves.

Flower, Flower Photography, Macro, Garden, Sunrise, sunset, angle, silhouette, frame, filling, portrait, McClamp,

2) Try a silhouette


Following on from this, you can also get some great silhouettes of striking graphic shapes against a sky. The key here is to use a stop or two of positive exposure compensation (increase the + on the button on your camera) to reveal detail in your plants and flowers while blowing out the background.

Flower, Flower Photography, Macro, Garden, Sunrise, sunset, angle, silhouette, frame, filling, portrait, McClamp,

3) Get up earlier for gardens


To be a serious garden photographer, you need to be prepared to get up early. The light is wonderful around sunrise, and often plants and flowers are graced with wonderfully photogenic dew. Trying to replicate either of these in photo-editing software is nigh impossible. If that's too much, shoot in the last hour of the day. Once you have got great light, try shooting into it for cool creative effects.

Flower, Flower Photography, Macro, Garden, Sunrise, sunset, angle, silhouette, frame, filling, portrait, McClamp,

4) Fill the frames with patterns


At the other extreme, try going in really close in for creative impact. A macro lens is a great way to fill the frame with a gorgeous colour, pattern or texture. Using a zoom lens can also allow you to capture nice planting combinations or other eye-catching details.

Flower, Flower Photography, Macro, Garden, Sunrise, sunset, angle, silhouette, frame, filling, portrait, McClamp,

5) Approach flower photography like portraiture


When you think about it, many of the principles of good portrait photography also apply to flora. Think about pleasing and uncluttered backgrounds that contextualise the image, and use wide apertures (or long lenses) to keep the subject sharp while getting a nice background blur.

You want your subjects/specimens to be as attractive as possible, so accessories such as the Sunbounce pop-up reflector are also great for bouncing warm light back onto them. Another great accessory is a clamp, such as the McClamp, to hold flowers and leaves still in the breeze.

If you would like to learn more about flower photography why not join Sue bishop on her 4 week online photography course Creative Flower Photography.

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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