Flowers can make great photographic subjects and if you want to make a bit of money from then you can always turn them into cards or prints like photographer Jenny Brough does.
Jenny's found that flower photography is something that can be enjoyed at any time of the year as you can do it both indoors and out. Of course it helps if you know what type of flowers will be around at a certain time of the year but you can also just pop into a garden centre and be surprised by the selection or even buy a nice selection from a florists during the winter months.
The best time for flower photography depends on what effect you're tying to achieve. If Jenny's shooting during the winter months she tries to get outside where the light is and if there's a certain flower that has just come out she often goes to look at it at different times of the day looking to see which light suits it best.
Jenny's favourite flowers are those which have a strong symmetrical feel to them. She likes strong lines and bold colours, real statement flowers that you just know will have an impact as soon as you see them.
“I like to photograph just the flower, I don’t like having a distraction of anything else in the picture, as I’m trying to get across just how beautiful nature can be,” said Jenny. “I focus on the flower which is all I need to make my photographs complete. It’s the flowers that are the stars of my pictures.”
Flowers don't last forever and with cut flowers you need to work quickly as they start to lose their structure and strength very quickly. With un-cut flowers you need to try and get them when they are at their absolute best, something which again changes depending on the time of year.
If the weather is truly appalling then you can venture inside. Each look Jenny creates requires a slightly different technique but generally she uses two flash heads and plain backgrounds. The lights along side a reflector are then used to create shadow, depth etc. The plain backgrounds help exaggerate the bright, boldness of the flowers and if you pick the right colour it can really compliment them too.
Focus or the lack of it can also be used for emphasis and can lead to a much more interesting and creative photograph.
“I like to experiment with different focus techniques as sometimes I end up liking ones where only a small part of the flower is in focus when I was originally intending to have it all pin sharp.”
Composition is the main key to making macro look interesting. Jenny experiments with different angles and positions to see how she can create the most interesting look. Some flowers look better shot straight on and others straight down. It all depends on the flower and the best way to find out is to experiment. Just remember it’s the structure of the flower that makes the shot, not the form or the shape.
When it comes to equipment and camera settings Jenny tends to shoot at ISO100 with a macro 105mm Sigma Lens.
“I always use a tripod too. I know that when I'm using it the picture will always come out really crisp and sharp which enables me to capture the harder angles more easily, i.e when shooting from directly above.
Just remember experimentation is the key, you will always be surprised at what you can achieve if you just give things a go. Another tip would be to keep on taking photographs, some flowers will work straight off and some you thought might work don’t.
Visit Jenny Brough's website
for more details.