Photo by ePz member cattyal
Spring may be a long way off, especially with the rain and strong winds hitting the UK recently, but this doesn't mean you have to wait until flowers start raising their heads out of the ground to start photographing them. Your local florist or supermarket will have a selection of flowers you can take home and turn into a photographic subject all year round and the best bit is that you get to stay warm and dry as you can shoot your images from the comfort of your home.
When it comes to gear, a compact with macro capabilities can work just as well as a more advanced camera that uses interchangeable lenses so don't be put off if you don't have a macro lens and DSLR in your camera bag. A tripod's always handy but as you're working indoors you don't have to worry about using anything too robust and you can use a variety of light sources (something we discuss further into the piece).
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. A Wimberley Plamp is useful for holding backgrounds in place as long as you have somewhere sturdy for the other end to clip on to. A Spare tripod or even a light stand will work well as your support for the clamp but if you don't have a clamp, taping your background to the stand can work just as well. Clothes rails also make good stands as backgrounds can be clipped to the horizontal bar you'd usually hang clothes from or you could use a still life table if you have one.
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.
Once set up, it's important that you spend some time turning the flower(s) and adjust the positioning while looking through the viewfinder or at your camera's screen. Look from above, from underneath, the front, the back, the edge – there’s usually one angle that suddenly stands out and is 'the one' that you should shoot.
Thank you to ePz member cattyal for helping with the tips on shooting indoor flower shots.
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