Flowers are a popular photographic subject on ePHOTOzine and they appear in still lifes, examples of digital art, in macro shots and out in the landscape (just to name a few). As a result, we've decided to showcase some of the best flower photographers ePHOTOzine has to offer to put their work in the spotlight and to hopefully give you the inspiration you need to get out and give flower photography a go.
So, in no particular order, here's 10 of the top flower photographers on ePz:
joined ePz way back in 2006 and his shots of zoom blur flower heads have always stood out in the gallery. Taking inspiration from site members Mike Smith and Chris D, Stuart's interest in flower photography begin to grow but he soon found he wanted to create something much more than just a 'plain flower shot'.
"The method I adopted was purely accidental," Stewart explains. "I just experimented in Photoshop for a few weeks until I achieved something that was eye catching.
The subject has to be considered also, as the Osteo is nicely spread and flat, it lends itself nicely to this effect.
I had tried using the zoom effect 'on camera' but didn't achieve the same results, my way you can really accentuate the central part of the flower, drawing the viewer in. The blur can and does take away any imperfections with focus and blemishes so all round it's a win win combination."
You can learn more about Stewart's method in a tutorial he wrote for ePz a couple of years ago: Creating zoom blur flower heads
Site member mikesmith
was one of the lucky group of ePHOTOzine members who met up with Clive Nichols earlier in the year for a photo shoot a Kew Gardens. The day gave him the chance to work out of his comfort zone, using a shallow depth of field with natural backgrounds, providing soft colourful backdrops to the main subject. However, even though Mike enjoyed the experience and took a lot from it, his heart still remains with the bold images he has produced and sold for the last five years.
Mike got into flower photography thanks to a Fuji S7000 camera (that he still owns) which has a great macro facility for a camera of its class which helped Mike to appreciate the colours and detail in flowers.
"When I bought my first digital camera, the first lens I bought was my trusty old Tamron 90mm (which has not been replaced by the latest version of the Sigma 105mm. I started to sell my work around 5 years ago and made the decision to incorporate black velvet into each image. That way I knew the colour and detail would stand out and make an immediate impression on the viewer," explains Mike." I market my work as 'photographic art for the home' and I felt that the bold colours would stand out well and make strong statements on any wall."
He adds: "Macro work has always been at the forefront of my photographic work for the reasons detailed above. I knew I had achieved what I set out for with my flower work when at one craft fair a complete stranger came up to me and complimented my work by saying: 'You're Mike Smith aren't you? We've not met but I recognise your style'. That made my day."
Mike, who's been a member of ePz for eight years now, gained inspiration from the many 'magnificently talented photographers' that use the site, some of whom have offered help and advice.
"I owe part of my skill set to my fellow ePz members. However, I have also learnt many techniques by experimenting myself. Many set ups can be fairly complex especially when it comes to lighting. The successful set ups often happen after long shoots experimenting with different lighting from different angles until I find the result that I am looking for. Sometimes I know what I want to achieve and others, I just end up liking one of the resulting shots.
The introduction of glycerine (another tip from a fellow ePz member a few years back) to some of my work adds yet another dimension and opens up a whole new avenue of flower photography."
If you take a look at ading's profile you'll soon realise that many of his shots have received several awards from members as well as our editor. In fact his favourite shot
, taken back in 2007, is one that was awarded an ePz Editor's Choice and a Reader's Choice award.
"The image is composed of two shots and it is a metaphor for marriage as the arrangement of the poppies portrays the union of two families in marriage," says Abdul.
As there's so many flower shots out there, Abdul sees it as a challenge to create something as original as he can. This could be the arrangement of the flowers in the frame or an attempt to create an atmosphere or story in every image he produces.
"I love details," explains Abdul. "And the flower is an excellent subject to capture for that purpose. Every flower has its own individual beauty which could be its colour, shape, rarity or even sometimes its name as this can give inspiration too."
Due to the lack of space and as flower photography can be done any where (as long as you have somewhere to put the flower and a bit of decent light), cattyal
started off working with flowers years ago.
"Add to good light a sheet of paper for a background and maybe some greaseproof paper for diffusing the light and it’s an easy set up," explains Alison. "Now that I have a studio to work in (what used to be the master bedroom) life is somewhat easier and if the natural light is bad I can switch on one of the strobes instead. Also having more room to work in means it’s easier to include extra props such as vases and larger backgrounds.
I also plant my garden very much with flowers for photographing in mind – that way I can just pop out of the back door and grab whatever takes my fancy."
Nowadays, Alison has no particular preference towards macro, full flower shots or a huge vase of them – anything goes. Quite simply, Alison likes flowers because they are pretty, they stay put (usually), don’t talk back or fidget and don’t object when being subjected to the occasional cruel treatment i.e. clamps or wire up the stems when they won’t pose naturally (which is actually quite rare).
"I usually start out just shooting them against plain backgrounds – black velvet and white colormat," explains Alison. "Once those are done I might rummage amongst my rather large collection of small vases and bottles and see what happens!"
If you want to have a go at photographing flowers the most basic items Alison would suggest are:
- A Good sized window
- Some kind of background
- A tripod
- Clamp for holding flowers
- Greaseproof paper for a diffuser
first begin playing around with Photoshop back in 2006 after he started using a digital camera. He was inspired by digital artists such as Victor Habbick and Ben Goosens and even though flowers aren't his main focus currently, he does incorporate them into some of his manipulations.
As well as using flowers as the focus of his images, Clint also turns them into colourful, out of focus backgrounds:
"Pop down to the supermarket and buy the wife a colourful bunch of flowers, wait for her to arrange them nicely in a vase and put them on the window ledge. When she's not looking, you can move them to a convenient place and use them as a back drop. Shoot at f/2.8 at a distance far enough away from the flowers and you get a nice out of focus background."
ePHOTOzine member baker58
first got into flower photography after being inspired by other ePHOTOzine member's photos.
"For me, two that stood out at the time were Terry L (Terry Longley) and fishiee (John Bogle)," adds Paul. "I loved Terry's natural wild flower photos, the subject matter stood out in perfect isolation. While John's stunning butterfly photos similarly stood out for their isolation.
I looked at the cameras and lenses that they were using and at the settings that they took their shots and set about trying to emulate their results.
Firstly, I bought a cheap Sigma lens that John was using at the time, the Sigma 70-300 APO Super macro II. Terry was using more expensive lenses that were beyond my reach and pocket so decided that the Sigma offered real value and a chance to delve into the world of close-up photography.
I started out taking butterfly photos with the Sigma lens and was blown away by the results. Flower photography was a progression from this."
Paul's shots make great use of out of focus foregrounds, something he discovered while getting down low to the ground, using the grasses to his advantage by blurring the lead-in to the flower.
"This gave the effect of the flower emerging from a haze of green," explains Paul. "Through experimentation I also found that if I plucked grass away from behind the flower I could create a clean backdrop for the shot. This gave me the look I was after, a flower in total isolation."
Patience and persistence is a must in any type of photography as windy days, camera shake and poor light can all result in off-days. Looking for suitable subject to isolate is an important part of the process too.
"I tend to visit familiar sites early in the growing season and monitor the flowers' growth. I also look around for things to avoid that may cause a distraction in the photo such as trees, branches and twigs and keep these in mind for when I revisit. For me, early in the season is better for picking out single flowers. I find it much harder to isolate flowers when there are hundreds of them in the frame.
On the subject of focusing technique I like to manually focus on the stamens. I use a short depth of field, usually around f/5.6 and set the camera on AV(Aperture Priority). I tend to under-expose the shots to try and prevent the light areas of the photo from 'blowing out'."
Instead of travelling far and wide, site member chase
decided to look around her house and garden to find something interesting to photograph.
"It saves time and petrol, plus anyone can have a go, even if you live in a flat with a window box or just pick a nice bunch of flowers up from the supermarket/florist," explains Janet. "Flowers have a natural form, some better than others, so I decided to experiment with different lighting methods and backgrounds to see how I could display the colour and shape of a natural object."
Janet always tries to see the finished result as she sets up for a session. However, it's not the only method she uses: "Even though I have a finished composition in my mind before I start I would be very narrow-minded to think that was the only method available to me. I sometimes have several finished images of the same start image. Generally it's the backgrounds that I play around with and I compare them in my editing program to see which suits the main subject matter the best."
is bursting with nature and wildlife shots, subjects which followed on easily from his long-term interest in fungi.
"Once I started photographing flowers I became excited by the wide variety of our native flora - size, shape, colour, detail, habitat - much has been learnt and many new sites discovered," explains Mike. "There is a peace and quiet about flower photography and an immense challenge, first to find the right subject in the right setting and then to capture the image itself."
It's taken Mike a long time, years, to reach his present stage of flower photography. Hundreds of images were rejected along the way and a great deal of trial and error was used.
"For anyone interested in this style of flower photography, take time to choose your subject carefully and set the camera in position on a tripod or bean bag and use a remote or self-timer. Always check the background and foreground through the lens for anything that might distract from the subject and be aware of any shadows, using card reflectors and polarisers to balance the light. Finally, take as many shots with different settings as you can, be patient and enjoy yourself!"
combined her interest in macro photography with her love for flowers to come up with the perfect photography subject for her to work with.
"As flowers are so diverse in colour, shape and texture they give me a wide range of choice," explains Mandy. "There's always something new appearing every day to get excited about."
One of her most recent shots, Papaver passion (above) is one of Mandy's favourites.
"I love the crisp detail in this one and of course its wonderful colour. The lighting is very soft and seemed to really bring out the water droplets and the detail of the papery petals so well.
I really like the shallow depth of field associated with macro lens. I usually turn this to my advantage by using large apertures in many of my images to create backgrounds that fall away to a beautiful blur but for the Poppy shot I used f/22 and went in very close to capture its lovely detail throughout."
After entering an image of a lily into a competition on a Nikon run website, John
found out that the judge for the competition was a certain Peter Bargh. This in turn led John to ePHOTOzine and spurred his interest in flower photography.
"The texture work started about the same time as my flower photography when I was shooting some Carnival Glass that used to belong to my grandmother," explains John. "I didn't like the background I had used and decided to change it rather than re-shoot. I added a texture layer to the image intending to erase the background and allow the texture to show. Before I erased the background though I played with the layer blending modes and really liked the effect of the texture over the glass. I then tried it on flowers and loved the effect.
Finding the right texture and effect is a matter of trial and error. I'll play with an image adding various layers of texture and changing the blending mode and opacity until I achieve an image I like. If a texture doesn't work then I'll try others.
I still use the technique today although most of my recent work are high key flower portraits with no texture."