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Shooting sunflowers

Shooting sunflowers - Sunflowers can still be found in most gardens and in shops so make the most of these bright flowers.

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Flowers and Plants

In gardens across the UK a flower which towers several feet above the rest is in bloom and this bright, colourful specimen just shouts summer when it's photographed. We are, of course, talking about the sunflower with its bright yellow petals and giant like qualities that make it a popular photographic subject. If you don't have any in your garden plenty of supermarkets are still selling them. You just need to purchase one or two and take them outside.

Photographing sunflowers

Grab your macro lens to create abstract shots of the petals then take your zoom lens out, something such as the Tamron 17-50mm, to photograph the whole head. A tripod's handy but as sunflowers can be rather tall it won't always be needed but you may need your flash to fill in shadows.

Sunflowers are big, colourful flowers so emphasising the yellow of the petals and the overall height of the flower works well. Get low to the ground and shoot up the stem to exaggerate the height of the flower. This works particularly well with a blue sky, just watch your exposure if you do this as pointing your camera up at the sky can make your camera create an image that's a little bright. Step back slightly and focus your attention on the bright yellow petals by throwing the background out of focus or head around the back of the flower and create an abstract shot from the shape the pointy leaves and petals create.

Instead of standing straight on to the sunflower position yourself so you're shooting from the side then pick up your macro lens for some detailed shots of the seeds and petals. Just make sure you check the edges of the petals as you don't want them to be out of focus. If there's a lot of shadow on the sunflower you may need to use a little fill in flash. However, if they're really dramatic and add texture or give your shot an abstract twist you may want to leave them in. If the summery sky has filled with dark clouds and it's bucketed down with rain try capturing the remaining droplets as they fall off the sunflower or find a water drop hanging off another plant and photograph your sunflower refracted on the raindrops.

To ensure the colour you capture is the colour you keep, use Datacolor - the Colour Management Experts.

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