The national flower of Wales is the Daffodil and as it's St David's day today, where the flower is traditionally worn, we thought it was quite appropriate to kick-off March with a few tips on photographing this Welsh emblem.
Photo by David Pritchard
1. Have a look at a clump of daffodils and single out the most interesting heads that can be photographed without too much clutter.
2. In situations where there's no way you could shoot the daffodil without a distracting background, place a piece of card behind the head to remove all the clutter. If you do have a clutter-free dark background in your garden, such as a conifer, you may need to underexpose by one stop using the camera's exposure compensation feature to ensure detail is picked up in the flower's petals. You could also use manual mode if your camera has that option.
3. The most obvious way to shoot a single head is from overhead but if you position your camera so you can still see the front of the flower but you're positioned slightly to the side, almost as if you were shooting a portrait, you'll produce a more interesting result.
4. Try shooting upwards so you can position the head with blue sky behind it for dramatic contrast. Using a polariser will deepen the blue. Alternatively, as a member has previously suggested, use a mirror and photograph the reflection so you can include the sky without having to get low to the ground.
5. Don't just shoot the whole head, go really close and offset the stamen, placing it in on the left or right third intersection of the photo for a more pleasing balance. Your camera's macro function will help you get closer to the flowerhead or fit a macro lens if your camera uses interchangeable lenses.
6. If you have a large patch in your garden that's a blanket of yellow get out your wide-angle lens which will still let you get in close but with the added bonus of excellent depth-of-field. The flowers will appear smaller but the convergence will make them look like they're reaching out towards the edge of the frame.
7. If it's sunny consider shading the flower with your hand to reduce the contrast.The overall tone will be more even and longer shadows which can appear on the flower's head will be removed.
Photo by David Pritchard
8. Focus can be a little tricky so use the smallest aperture you can to stop blur creeping into your image.
9. Alternatively, use a wider aperture so the back petals fall gradually out of focus, focusing on the tip of the petal nearest to your lens.
10. Don't see cloud cover as a bad thing as a light covering of cloud will act like a giant softbox.
11. As well as creating backgrounds, card can be used to shield your subject from the wind. If you have one, you can use a plamp to steady a flower.
12. Spray the petals with water so that droplets appear making the petals look fresh and glowing. It'll also add another level of interest to your shot.
13. Take a reflector out with you, particularly on dull days, so you can bounce extra light into your shot without having to use your flash. You can make your own reflector from silver foil if you don't own one.
14. Take a cutting and place it on a different background for a more graphic result.
15. Capture your shots from under the flower head, turning it into a strong silhouetted shape against a bright sky. If you don't want it to appear as a silhouette use exposure compensation and expose one stop over what your camera considers to be correct to give your shots a creative twist without removing detail.
16. Don't throw out old flowers once they wilt. Wait until the head has gone crisp and photograph that against the sun to create backlit effects.
17. Play around with your shots to achieve various creative effects. This can be done in camera via Art Filters or during post-production.
Photo by Peter Bargh
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