Image by Emma Kay
At this time of year, flowers and plants are in ful bloom in the garden. But sometimes, you just can't get the angle and composition of the image right in a garden scene. The answer is to spare a few buds and sprigs, and have a go at arranging your own, homegrown flowers in a more pleasing and thought out way.
This is an ideal technique to have a go at if it's showery and you don't want to get caught out in the rain. You can still recreate the 'wet look' by spritzing your flowers with a sprayer just before you shoot. Another option, if you don't want to cut flowers from your garden is to have a go at photographing house flowers and plants.
For this technique, you'll need a macro lens or a standard 50mm lens, to get in close to the flowers. If you have a compact, such as one from the Coolpix range, most of them have a macro mode built in, and you should use it to achieve a nicely blurred background.
A sheet of white Colormatt makes a good background but you can also use a white sheet of paper, material or anything else you think will work well! A white nylon shower curtain or even unbleached baking paper can work well when using natural light as they can easily be taped to windows. If you have plain walls, this can also make a great simple background.
Having a selection of vases and other containers to choose from will be useful as you'll not be stuck with just one option if you find it to be particularly difficult to work with and clothes pegs, masking tape and florist wire are all useful items to add to your collection of tools so you can persuade stems to go in a particular direction or move an unsightly leaf out of view. To add more height, try using plant stands or any other sturdy object that'll give you the boost in height.
Working with natural light is often the easiest and cheapest option but if you do have studio lights to-hand, do consider using them. If you want to get a little more creative why not try using a desk lamp or similar which has a bendy neck to make the positioning easier? Do check your white balance, though, as depending on the bulb you have in the light it may need adjusting. Reflectors will always be useful and as DIY versions are easy to make, it means you can create a tool that's great for bouncing a bit of light back into your shot rather inexpensively. All you need is a piece of card covered in foil or you could simply try using a white piece of card.