Tag Archives: reflection

13 Alternative Flower Photography Tips

Flowers are so cliche when it comes to photography… but that doesn’t stop most of us from shooting them! Heck, some photographers even specialize in flower photography and they do a darn good job of it. If you’re getting bored with your current bag-o-tricks for photographing flowers, scan through these tips and get inspired to try something different.

1. DITCH THE COLOR

Flower photos are generally full of vibrant colors, but that’s not the only way to do it. Black and white flower photos can bring much needed attention to details and textures that would otherwise be masked by the blinding colors.

let's craft the only thing we know into surprise
Creative Commons License photo credit: linh.ngân

2. USE AS A FOREGROUND

The flowers don’t always need to be the center of attention. Use them as a foreground or background to lay down some color for your main subject. Bonus points for using complimentary colors in your composition.

Blessed
Creative Commons License photo credit: creativesam

3. LOOK INDOORS

Flowers are inside too! Not every flower photo needs to be 100% “natural” — try your hand at some still life.

3 sisters
Creative Commons License photo credit: mamako7070

4. DOUBLE EXPOSE

Flowers can make for pretty cool double exposures. Experiment with combinations of up-close and far-off shots of the same flowers.

Diana+
Creative Commons License photo credit: Maco@Sky Walker

5. GO ABSTRACT

Flowers have great curves — so use that to your advantage. A good macro setup will allow you to capture abstract images of the colors, curves, and textures.

monstera deliciosa flower
Creative Commons License photo credit: nothing

6. REFLECT WITH WATER

Reflection can be a powerful composition technique, and flower photography is no exception.

Balboa Pond Lily part deux.
Creative Commons License photo credit: peasap

7. FOCUS ON SYMMETRY

Reflections are a type of symmetry, but flowers often exhibit another type of symmetry: radial. Use the radial symmetry of most flowers to create a strong composition.

Gazania
Creative Commons License photo credit: josef.stuefer

8. PAINT YOUR OWN FLOWER

Light painting is another interesting style of photography, so why not mix it up with flower photography?

Night Flower
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brian Auer

9. CATCH A BUG

That’s right, catch a bug in your frame. Those little insects can often add a lot to your image by catching the eye of the viewer. Anything unexpected will generate interest.

ladybug on gerbera
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vanessa Pike-Russell

10. BE A SMURF

Sometimes you have to get a little dirty to get the shot. Macro photographers will often wear grungy clothes for nature outings (or bring a blanket/tarp) because they know they’ll be laying on the ground at some point. Get down there and see how the world looks from the perspective of your feet.

Under the Tulips
Creative Commons License photo credit: ♥siebe ©

11. FIND URBAN FLOWERS

Flowers grow in cities too! Next time you’re in an urban environment, keep your eyes peeled for flowers growing naturally or even landscaped flowers.

urban life
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pedro Moura Pinheiro

12. DO THE DEWDROP TRICK

Most of us have seen these types of photos with the flower inside the dewdrop. Still, it’s a pretty cool trick and you can do it with more than just flowers.

Day 45/365 : All the world in a little droplet
Creative Commons License photo credit: ~jjjohn~

13. USE AS A PROP

If you’re doing people shots or portrait photography, try adding flowers as a secondary subject or background.

Boy taking a rest. (DGM)
Creative Commons License photo credit: Simon Pais-Thomas

Do you have any flower photography tips or examples? If so, leave them in the comments below!

Link Roundup 11-29-2008

For those of you in the US, I hope the rest of you had a great holiday! I know I certainly spent too little time working and too much time eating! But hey, I managed to snap a few rolls of photos, so not all is lost.

Feet on the Beach

Feet on the Beach

Brian Auer | 01/19/2008 | San Diego, CA | 300mm * f/6.7 * 1/250s * ISO100
[Print Pricing] [Contact for Signed Prints] [See it at Flickr]

This one was taken on the Torrey Pines State Beach near my home in San Diego. The feet actually belong to my Mother-in-Law. I spotted her walking along the water near sunset and I couldn’t resist trying to get some “walking on the beach” photos. I shot about 7 or 8 in rapid-fire mode and this one turned out the best from all of them. The reflection turned out better than I had hoped, and the moment in mid-stride made for an interesting photo.

Feet on the Beach Post-Processing

All of the following post-processing steps were done with Adobe Camera Raw — no Photoshop was used on this photo.

  1. Untouched RAW Image
    This is what the image looked like straight out of the camera. Not a lot of color to begin with, so black & white was a natural choice for me.
  2. Black & White Conversion
    Before doing anything, I switched to grayscale. I pushed the red, orange, yellow, green, and aqua to negative compensation while the blues, purples and magentas were pushed in the positive direction.
  3. Basic Adjustments
    I left the white balance set at a temperature of 5100 and a tint of -1. I left the exposure near zero, while I boosted the recovery to 33, fill light to 41, bumped the blacks up to 34, increased the brightness to 76, pushed up the contrast to 19, and I ramped the clarity all the way up to 100.
  4. Tone Curve Adjustment
    Using the parametric tone curve, I set the highlights to +22, lights to +49, darks to -33, and shadows to -47. This gave me the strong contrast I was after, and I actually pushed a few (very few) of the shadows off the histogram. Overall, the image is heavy on the darker tones.
  5. Vignette and Sharpen
    In the lens correction menu, I set the vignette to an amount of -70 with a midpoint of 20 — and this gave me the strong frame around the subject. As a last step, I set the sharpening under the detail menu to an amount of 50 with a radius of 1.5 pixels.

Enjoy!

February Challenge: Day 3 – Shot Glass Mirror

Shot Glass Mirror

Glass FlowerLiquid Ice

WEEK 1 = CLEAR

So week 1 is over, and it was way too short. I was kind of having fun shooting clear stuff. At the end of each week, I’ll post the final photo along with the thumbnails from the previous days. And I’ll also remind you all to participate in the February Challenge if you aren’t already doing so.

This was a CLEAR shot glass partially full of CLEAR liquid posed on top of a mirror and lit with an off-camera slave flash. Funny thing about this photo — it was the first shot out of about 50. I guess I’m just that good. I could’ve saved myself about half an hour of messing around with flash angles and diffusers. Oh well, it’s good practice.

OK, so I kind of cheated on this one too. I actually took the photo on day 4 rather than day 3. Shame on me. But I came up with the idea on the 3rd… does that count for anything?

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

February Challenge: Day 2 – Liquid Ice

Liquid Ice

WEEK 1 = CLEAR

Ice cube on a glossy black plate as it melts into a small puddle of water.

I’m kind of bending the rules on the project… this is actually a grayscale image. The photo was pretty much black and white anyways, and it had some extra impact by going grayscale. I’m going to justify it being ok because my color of the week is clear — so this trick probably won’t work when I choose a "real" color.

My buddy “the_wolf_brigade” justified it well: Clear is like the chameleon of colours, so I wouldn’t say it’s cheating to increase the saturation of the clear tones… :D

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

February Challenge: Day 1 – Glass Flower

Glass Flower

WEEK 1 = CLEAR

The February Challenge is all about color – you pick a color each week and document those colors. So my first color will be my favorite color… clear. It’s a great color because it takes on the color from the things around it. So it’s every color and no color all at the same time!

Now I realize that many of you may think that clear is not a color, but ask yourself this… what color are your windows? What color are your glass dishes? What color is water (assuming it’s clean)? How about diamonds? My wife hates the fact that I insist clear be my favorite color, so this week is dedicated to her.

This particular image is an abstract of a CLEAR glass candy dish lid positioned on top of a purple DVD-R with an orange background (a shirt). The DVD served to reflect some nice rainbow colors that you can see in the refraction of the CLEAR glass.

So is anybody else joining in with the February Challenge?

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

16 Inspirational Portrait Photography Techniques

I’m learning that portrait photography can be tough in more than one way thanks to my participation in the December Challenge. I’m already getting bored with taking the standard cookie-cutter portrait, so I started digging around Flickr for some inspiration. Here’s what I turned up:

[tweetmeme]And yes, I realize that the accompanying text is much shorter than I would usually supply, but the idea of this post isn’t to teach these techniques — it’s to introduce you to them and hopefully give you some inspiration with your own photography. I feel that these photos are strong enough to stand on their own without lengthy descriptions.


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1. PHOTOSHOP

If you’re good with post-processing and manipulations, use it to your advantage. Get crazy with the adjustments, try some new Photoshop techniques, and maybe even a composite image.

2. TEXTURE

If texture is a big part of your subject, make it stand out and make it obvious. Match up the textures between your subject and your background. You might even try texturizing the entire photo for additional impact.

3. OVEREXPOSE

Blowing out the highlights or making a high-key image makes a nice soft portrait with kind of a light airy feeling. Another advantage of high-key photos is that the smaller details and defects are blown away, making the image look much smoother.

4. UNDEREXPOSE

A dominantly dark or low-key image will naturally draw your eyes to the lighter parts. These tend to have a grittier and harder look to them than the high-key images.

5. BACK-LIGHT

Hair lights up like crazy when it’s back-lit, so if hair is a big part of your subject make it stand out by placing your subject between you and a light source. You could also take this a little further and push the image to a silhouette.

6. POSING

Get crazy with the pose and positioning — extra points if it looks uncomfortable. Not only with the poses, but also with your own positioning — shoot from different angles to achieve different impacts.

7. CULTURE

Capture the local culture — what’s mundane to you is exotic to us. Culture is everywhere, even in your own town. Just image you’re visiting from a different country — what things would then seem more interesting to you?

8. REFLECTIONS

Make use of different surfaces to add that extra dimension — windows, mirrors, and water are all very good reflective surfaces that give a different result and texture.

9. SHADOWS

Make the shadow an important part of the image. Sometimes the shadow can even be more prominent than the actual subject casting the shadow.

10. GET CLOSE

There’s no rule against cropping out most of the subject’s face. This draws more attention to the parts that are left in the frame.

11. (UN)FOCUS

Out-of-focus subjects can be more interesting than the in-focus subjects. It kind of adds some mystery to the image because you can’t quite make out who that person is.

12. MOVEMENT

Use movement to show action, even if it blurs out the subject entirely. In cases like this, think of the person as a means of creating the subject rather than being the actual subject.

13. CAPTURE THE MOMENT

Catch somebody doing something they love, even if it’s not staged. Street photography is one of my favorite genres because it captures life as it happens — unstaged and unposed.

14. COLORS

Use vibrant and contrasting colors to draw attention to parts of your subject. This could be makeup, clothing, accessories, or whatever else you can get your hands on.

15. GET SERIOUS

Not all portraits need to have a smile, capture the serious emotions too. Some of my favorite portraits have no hint of a smile in them, and they’re highly emotional.

16. PROPS

Use the props and tools around you to make the setting more interesting. Find things to place your subject in, on, under, around, etc.