Saturday, 2 August 2014

A floral photography lesson from Amo La Fotografia

One thing I found difficult last year when I started learning how to use a photographer's camera and lenses (rather than my usual point-and-click or my mobile phone), was how to photograph white and pale flowers, especially when mixed with darker flowers. In this posy, the white roses lost their beautiful definition in my photos and just looked like big balls of white light!

So I was delighted when the lovely Kent-based photographer, Karen Louise of Amo La Fotografia, offered to give me an online lesson in photographing white flowers, along with other tips to improve flower photography indoors and outside. The ISO needs to be a low number (e.g. 100), the F-stop depends on whether you want detail in the background as well as the subject - a lower number for less detail in the background, and a faster shutter speed will result in a less exposed (light) photo. I am used to using the histogram as a guide, not the shutter speed, so this was all new to me. works! It's quite hard to get out of old habits, and I can see that many of my photos could improve if I were a bit braver. As Karen Louise says in her tutorial, it's easier to 'correct' underexposed (darker) photos with an editing tool than it is to correct overexposed (lighter) photos. And incidentally, when you look at her tutorial you'll see her flower arrangements are as gorgeous as her photos!

Here are some photos I took of a couple of "all in the garden" arrangements, after reading the lesson. I'm a bit annoyed by the 'Penny Lane' dahlia sticking out like a sore thumb in the middle of the big arrangement - I actually removed it at the last minute before it was delivered - but never mind. The huge heads of white phlox are what I was worried about photographing, but I love how the detail  is kept by using a faster shutter speed. The tiny white flowers of Moroccan mint (I used lavender, orange, and pineapple varieties too) also kept their detail, and the white and red flowers of the 'Hot Lips' salvia kept more detail than usual. And you can't photograph scent, unfortunately, but both arrangements were highly scented, thanks to the wonderful phlox, mints, lemon balm/Melissa, sage, nicotiana, and sweet peas.

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