Photographing Flower Blooms With A Lightbox

Denise Ippolito shows us how to take great shots of flower petals with a lightbox and some simple post processing.

|  EOS 5D Mark III in Flowers and Plants
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This article was written by Denise Ippolito.

Flower Blooms 1
Image by Denise Ippolito

In this article I want to share my techniques for using a lightpad and one of the best uses for the lightpad is to help create a high-key look for your photographs. 

I started with a dead Hydrangea bloom; I removed the delicate petals from the stem and placed them in a random pattern on the lightpad.  Then, I turned on the lightpad and by doing so I could see the veins in the petals.

Next I set-up my gear. For this shoot I used my favorite flower photography combo, which I call the "Dynamic Duo" – my Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera and the Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens, mounted on my Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. I chose an f-stop that gave me enough depth of field to cover the entire grouping.  Next I exposed as far to the right on my histogram without capturing too many "blinkies" (highlight alerts). This ensures a high-key look and also reveals some of the transparency that I want in the petals.  By exposing to the right the background renders bright white.

The image above was converted to B&W using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. I used the Fine Art Process preset and made some adjustments to the contrast and structure. After doing the conversion I applied a touch of the BuzSim filter in Topaz Simplify, which I used to accentuate the veins. 

Blue Flowers
Image by Denise Ippolito

To create the look for the above image, instead of doing a B&W conversion, I applied the same amount of the BuzSim filter by Topaz, then took my processing a step further by adding the Nik Color Efex 4 Cross Balance Filter- Tungsten to Daylight and applied it at a reduced opacity. I like both versions as well as the original image. By creating a high-key background for the original capture my creative processing possibilities are endless.
Golden Flowers
Image by Denise Ippolito

For the next two images I chose to take a step back and shoot from a different angle. I may have rearranged the petals slightly. I wanted to create a free-flowing look and change things up a bit. The image above has been processed with Topas BuzSim and Nik Color Efex 4 Sunlight Filter. The image looks very close to the original capture but with a hint more warmth and a touch of a "stained glass look" to the veins.

The image below was processed using Solarized Filter in Nik Color Efex 4. I loved the blue tones with the hint of black & brown throughout. Additional sharpening was added to give a crisp, more dimensional look to the final image.
Blue and gold flowers
If you would like to learn more about Denise and her photography, visit her website.

Photographs taken using the EOS 5D Mark III

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Ptr_A 9 54 United Kingdom
19 Jun 2013 3:55PM
Very nice images. It is something for me to try.

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