Jacky Parker is member jackyp on ePHOTOzine. Here, she shares with us some tips and tricks to help you get the best out of flower shots with your Nikon camera.
Jacky has long had a fascination for flowers and plants, and it was while she was studying for a diploma in horticulture eight years ago that she was first introduced to floral photography.
"Part of the course involved producing a thesis including some photographs. Although I had been married to a professional photographer for 20 years I had never shown any interest in photography. So I asked him to lend me a simple camera (point and shoot) to capture the images for my thesis," Jacky remembers.
This was when Jacky's love of flower photography really began. "From the very first images that I produced, I realised how fascinating it was to get involved with the flora & fauna and how I could really observe the intricate details of flowers," Jacky enthuses. "It was obviously very useful to have my own personal tutor to hand, who gave lots of help & advice!"
Jacky's husband, who is a Nikon user, advised a suitable beginner's DSLR, the Nikon D300. "I use a NIKKOR Micro 105mm f/2.8 lens. I still use the lens (my favourite) but have upgraded the camera to a Nikon D700. This is the combination I am most at ease with," explains Jacky.
So what other kit does Jacky use to create her stunning images? "In my bag I also keep a 16-35mm NIKKOR wide-angle zoom and an 80-400mm telephoto zoom for wildlife. I also use various Lensbaby lenses and optics with macro attachments and a Sigma ring flash."
'Darling Buds of Summer' by jackyp
To get good shots, it's important to know your subject well, believes Jacky: "It is important to have as much knowledge as possible about the subject you are taking, which is why I specialise in flower photos.
I am happiest in amongst wildflower meadows where no two pictures are ever the same. I try to avoid bright sunlight, thus avoiding harsh shadows, so I tend to shoot early morning and early evening. My favourite flowers at the moment are probably poppies and corn marigolds with their striking vibrant colours and paper like petals."
"I very rarely use a tripod as I like to get 'down and dirty' in amongst the flowers. I like to use a minimum depth of field to obtain maximum bokeh and it is this bokeh which I consider to be a very important creative part of the picture," explains Jacky.
For those that are interested in getting more involved in flower photography, Jacky believes that drive is key: "I guess my biggest tip is that if you have a passion for the subject, then the pictures will appear."
So what's next for Jacky photographically? "My next two pieces of equipment I hope to get are a tilt-shift lens and a NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 manual lens, which is the king of bokeh!"
For more information on Jacky's images and to see more of her stunning photos, take a look at her portfolio, Jacky Parker Floral Art.