Rainy Day Photography Project

By Geoff Harris

It’s been pouring with rain all day.  Pretty much all week, actually.  And just as I sat down to write this blog, the sky went black, thunder and lightning cracked and flashed, and it hailed – huge hailstones hurtling down and bouncing off the ground with the force of their impact.  Speeding lumps of ice and fragile spring blossoms don’t mix too well - somehow I don’t think I’m going to be taking any flower photos outside for another few days now.


I will have to take consolation from the fact that flower photography, unlike some other genres such as landscape or travel photography, can also be done inside - window light can provide a lovely gentle illumination for delicate flowers.  If you’re using the light from one window, it can help to position a reflector on the other side of your subject to bounce a little light back into it.  Or a conservatory can provide a good even light on an overcast day.

Remember to set your white balance to Cloudy, as this will help to prevent a cold, blue cast in your photographs.  If you forget to set the white balance, then adding a little red in photoshop afterwards will have the same effect.

The main difficulty with photographing flowers indoors is finding a good background for the flowers.  If you’re going in really close and filling the frame with just part of your flower, then the background won’t be an issue; but if you’re including the whole flower in your image, then inevitably there will be some background around it. If you have other foliage plants which you can position a little way behind your subject, they can make a nice natural backdrop if they are thrown out of focus.  Another option is to use a piece of card – I’m not personally a fan of coloured card, as it can make a rather stark backdrop, but white can work quite well with the right subject.  All kinds of things can be used if they contain the right colours and you throw them sufficiently out of focus – I’ve used pieces of fabric, or items of clothing such as scarves – and even once a hoody!

I photographed this astrantia in my conservatory a couple of weeks ago, and the backdrop is a largish pot plant which I threw out of focus by using a wide aperture.  I must say I had a lot of fun doing it.  So – on with the wellies, and out to the florist!

Geoff Harris

I am a 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 and Steve McCurry. 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. In addition I write about well being/personal development and antiques collecting for a range of other titles, including BlueWings, the in-flight magazine of Finn Air.

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