Color & Light
Meeting Photo Challenges
Creative Image Processing
Nature & Outdoor
Creating Better Photographics
Night & Low Light Photography
Light & Exposure
Close-Up & Macro
Digital Black & White
Color & Design
Choosing & Using Lenses
Digital Photography Equipment
Floral Photography; The Beauty And Variety Of Nature’s Designs:
In photographing a simple bouquet of flowers in a vase, such as Valentine roses for my wife (#13) I also used a black background. This precluded the need to set up a mini studio and to arrange studio lights. I simply used window light and a piece of black velvet.
Another approach is to shoot on a windy day and let the wind blow the flowers while you shoot them with a slow shutter speed. I photographed California poppies (#16) using a one second exposure while on a tripod and the wind did the rest.
Many floral photographers use selective focus to abstract most of the composition while a narrow sliver of it remains sharp. The tulip in (#19) and the macro shot of the rose in (#20) illustrate this. In order to get this kind of extremely shallow depth of field, I had to use the largest lens aperture plus a telephoto macro. However, I don’t own a telephoto macro, so instead I used a medium telephoto (the 70-200mm f/2.8) plus an extension tube to extend the focal length further. Simply using a large aperture isn’t enough to create abstractions like this.
A unique way to create artistic abstractions of flowers is to combine original images with various textures. You can make your own textures (by photographing rock textures, sand, pastel paint applied to watercolor paper, scratched metal surfaces, etc.) or you can purchase them online. There are also sets of textures that are downloadable for free. I prefer to use two collections of textures from Flypaper Textures Productions (www.flypapertextures.blogspot.com) and for floral work their Summer Painterly collection is especially beautiful. For example, (#21) and (#22) were both created with two different textures from this collection.
The technique is simple. You open the texture image and size it (Image>Image Size) according to the proportions you want. I choose the exact pixel dimensions of the flower photo, and I also make the dpi identical. The flower photo is then copied to the clipboard (Edit>Copy), and it’s pasted on top of the texture (Edit>Paste). You can also do the reverse, of course, where you paste the texture over the flower.
In the Layers Palette, click the submenu that begins with the word Normal, the Blending modes. By scrolling down the list of Blend modes with the Shift + (plus key) depressed you can see all the possible combinations of the way the two images can interact. I have had the most success with overlay. You can also vary the opacity of the floating layer for more effects.
Depth Of Field
To order back issues (Volumes 3,5,6,7,9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20)
Hone your skills with fast-paced tutorials and easy-to-follow tips from the archives of PHOTOgraphic and eDigitalPhoto magazines.