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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.

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Photographs taken using the EOS 5D Mark III

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Ptr_A 11 54 United Kingdom
19 Jun 2013 3:55PM
Very nice images. It is something for me to try.

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