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The Essential Guide To Flower Photography

Here's our ultimate guide to photographing flowers with equipment suggestions, top tutorials, stunning examples and a list of top locations you can visit with your camera.

|  Flowers and Plants
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Photographing flowers can be a really therapeutic exercise and it's something that pretty much anyone can have a go at, no matter whether you're photographing them in your home or garden, in your local park or at a formal garden. It's a great subject ot have a go at photographing now, as our gardens come into full bloom and we're not able to travel as much as we'd usually like - you can photograph flowers in your home or close to where you live. 

You can keep it as simple as you like but if you want to take your flower photography seriously then there are some accessories that you shouldn't be without to up your game. Here, we've rounded up these accessories as well as lots of tutorials, places to go to photograph flowers, handy guides and some fantastic examples of flower photography from our talented site members.

Flowers are a very versatile subject that as we've mentioned above are accessible to most in some form, even if it's buying a bunch of cut flowers from the supermarket. No matter how you are able to access them, there's great shots to be had:

 

Ways to shoot flowers

 

1. Cut flowers

In its simplest form, putting flowers in a vase and photographing them can provide beginners and more advanced shooters alike some great opportunities. Placing the vase on a table near a window and setting the camera up on a tabletop tripod, you can experiment with compositions and the great thing is that cut flowers are easily rearranged within the vase.

Try and find a plain background if you can. If a vase isn't available, you could try putting a few specimens in a tall glass or a decent sized mug (with the stems cut a little shorter than usual) to enable you to set up some shots without needing to buy much new kit.

Cutting wild flowers for this is also an option – but do check they're not endangered or protected first. Even mundane things like wild garlic can look pretty in a display. Consider clippings from your garden too, to give you the opportunity to shoot different blooms in a still-life setting that you wouldn't usually be able to get hold of in a supermarket.

emerging allium

2. Garden flowers

Garden flower photography offers you the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and photograph your flowers and blooms within their natural habitat. Experiment with blurring the background, or if this still doesn't look quite right, why not try shooting from a really quirky angle? Directly above, or directly below using a tripod setup?

Shooting in the garden also bring the opportunity to capture the bees at work, and other insect life amongst the flowers.

The wind can be an issue with the longer stemmed flowers so it might be necessary to use a wimberly plamp (more on this oddly named gadget below) which can hold a flower steady. Sometimes, upping the shutter speed will suffice, if the light level allows you to do so.

 

Wild garlic

3. Flowers in the wild

A walk in your local woods or through the fields, especially in spring time, can be a wonder. You might come across snow drops, bluebells, wild garlic, buttercups and more. Even dandelions and other flowers sometimes classed as weeds, such as poppies, can look stunning.

Shooting flowers outdoors in the wild is a good opportunity to take a wider view of your subject. Whilst for some of the other options listed above, it's often better to get in close, with wild flowers it's nice to show them carpeting the woodland and the sheer expanse of their coverage.

 

4. Dried flowers

Even when they start to look past their best, there's life in them yet! Flowers can be wrapped in a tissue and pressed inside a large hardback book, or in between two, to preserve them. They can then be photographed with an entirely different feel. Things like dried lavender hanging from beams, or crop bunches around harvest time can also look good.

 

Setting up your shots

Scope out the area you'll be shooting in and discover the most flattering angles for the best backgrounds and shapes/sizes of the flowers. Are there items in the foreground that can be made use of? Do you need to avoid certain items? Could a stray branch be trimmed to improve the shot?

 

Lighting your flowers

Often the most natural option for flowers is window light if you're shooting indoors. An overcast day can help to minimise shadows but to really bring the vibrancy of the colours out a bit of sun doesn't go amiss. If you're struggling with shadow, try using a muslin cloth or thin sheet to diffuse the light a little.

Reflectors can also help bounce light back onto the subject and help balance out harsh shadows. For macro and close-up shots, a ring flash may be necessary to help bring out details – more on this can be found in our ultimate guide to macro photography.

 

Lightboxes / product photography cubes

We mentioned dried flowers earlier and a lightbox is a great way to photograph these, with light emanating from behind. You'll need a flash for this, otherwise your images will become silhouetted. Photographing thinks like skeletal leaves on the stark background can also work particularly well.

 

Dogtooth violet

Creativity

Think a little more out of the box with your captures, and you can create something amazing. Take some time to scope out all your options and most importantly, experiment with your captures. Break the plant down into sections – stem, leaves, petals, stamen – sometimes even roots can make a good photo, if you're relocating a plant or pulling up some weeds. Roots look great as a silhouette on a light box. Use flowers as part of other images – a still life display featuring a full vase, for example.

 

Handy Accessories For Flower Photography  

No matter what camera you own, there are some things that will help you to capture amazing images of flowers.

 

Diffuser / Reflector

diffuser reflector

Diffusers and reflectors can be really handy to help you manipulate the light to flatter your subject. Use the diffuser to eliminate harsh shadows from the sun and the reflector to shed light on the shadier scenes. Whether you want to shoot flowers indoors or outdoors, a diffuser/reflector kit will give a more professional look to your images. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Close up filters 

Polaroid close up

If you own a DSLR and you don't have the budget for a macro lens or simply don't feel the need to purchase one then you can get filters which will create a macro effect on your existing lenses. They can be purchased in different magnification ratings, and in various diameters to fit and screw onto the front of your lens. They're a great option if you don;t want to spend a lot to get macro style images as they can be picked up relatively cheaply.

Buy on Amazon UK     Buy on Amazon USA

 

Macro lens

Tamron macro lens

If you are serious about your flower photography and macro images with lots of bokeh are the way you want to go then there is nothing better than a macro lens, for clarity and out of focus backgrounds to further highlight your subject. Macro lenses are ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications. Often third party lenses can be cheaper than camera manufacturer's lenses and often rival them in terms of quality if you're conscious of budget. Take a look at what's available for your camera mount. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA 

 

Plain backgrounds home photo studios

home photography studios

If the background of your flower photos is distracting, whether indoors or outdoors, using a plain background can give your image a more artistic feel. Plain black or white backgrounds will work well with flowers to accentuate the greens and bright colours of the blooms. If you're into DIY, a plain sheet will suffice, you just need to watch out for creases showing up. Home photo studios are now available which allow you to capture images quickly and easily.

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Lightbox

lightbox

A lightbox will provide you with a more abstract view of flowers - it will allow you to create interesting images of petals and skeletal leaves that you lay on it, allowing you to see all the intricate veins inside. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Kneeling pad

kneeling pad

When doing low-level work with small outdoor flowers kneeling for a long time can hurt the knees, even on a relatively soft surface. Investing in a kneeling pad to help ease the discomfort might encourage you to stick around longer and capture that image you've been waiting for. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Wimberley Plamp 

Wimberley Plamp

The Wimberley Plamp is an innovative tool to hold plants still while shooting them. Whether indoors or outdoors, this tool can hold stems still without harming the plant enabling you to position them as you wish and stabilise them in the wind. 

Buy on Amazon UK     Buy on Amazon USA

 

 

Brush to gently wipe plants clean

gentle brush

If you've found the ideal specimen but there is dirt or dust on the plant spoiling the image, investing in a small soft brush will enable you to clean the leaves up ready for the camera. 

Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA

 

Fantastic Flower Photography Tutorials

If you're looking for tips and advice on capturing the perfect floral themed shot, take a look at our techniques and feature sections of the site where you'll find plenty of flower photography tutorials, including the ones listed below. 

 

25 Flower Photography Tutorials To Help You Perfect Floral Photography

flower photography

 

Get 'Arty' With Flower Shots

Black white photos

 

10 Top Flower Photos Awarded POTW

1.99 from the supermarket!

 

Most Popular Flower Photography Techniques On ePz

 

8 Ways You Can Photograph Flowers Creatively

 

8 Techniques To Improve Your Garden Photos

 

 

Places To Visit With Your Camera 

There are places all over the UK where beautiful gardens can be found if you want a change from photographing your own garden. Here are some top locations that won't disappoint, but you could of course just head to a local park if you want somewhere closer by. Make a note of the ones you'd like to visit when lockdown is over. 

 

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Kew GardensImage by ePz member Suzicoo

Kew Gardens in London is the ultimate destination for any plant lover featuring extensive gardens and fantastic floral landscapes and vistas. It's a global resource for plant knowledge and anyone interested in plants and flowers will find it fascinating. You can book tickets online to save some money. 

 

The Eden Project

Eden project

Image by ePz member NeilSchofield

The Eden Project in Cornwall is a marvel of design, with its croissant-like bubble greenhouses. There are Mediterranean and rainforest biomes to explore as well as extensive outdoor gardens including some impressive sculptures. There's plenty to keep the kids entertained too and you can make a full day out from a visit. There are discounted admission on summer evenings and you can also save by booking in advance. 

 

Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Sheffiald botanical gardens

Located to the East of the city, Sheffield botanical gardens is free to enter and offers pleasant photographs with lots of plant variety to photograph. There are music and art performances throughout the year so have a look what's on to make the most of a trip. 

 

Helmsley Walled Garden

Helmsley walled gardenImage by ePz member oldgreyheron

If you want a more traditional and wild, meadow style experience then Helmsley Walled garden in North Yorkshire is a fantastic destination that also offers social and therapeutic horticulture to support and develop people to improve mental and physical health through gardening. There's a small fee for entry. 

 

Threave Estate 

Threave gardens Image by ePz member alancharlton

Threave Garden and Estate is located near Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway. If you find yourself near there then these gardens owned by the National Trust for Scotland have a variety of landscapes for you to explore. There's a discovery garden for the kids, as well as glasshouses, rock gardens, ponds a walled garden and nature trails in the surrounding estate. There's a small fee for entry. 

 

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

birmingham botanical

Image by ePz member cjl47

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is located at Edgbaston and is a sizable garden featuring Japanese gardens, history walks and lots of open spaces. There's also the Kingdon of the Green Man, including a herb garden and play areas for the kids.  There are events happening throughout the year and there is a small fee for entry. 

 

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Edinburgh botanical

Image by ePz member discreetphoton

The Edinburgh Botanic Gardens is free and you can walk to it from Waverley Station (Edinburgh Central). There are 70 acres of landscaped grounds providing a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. There's a Scottish heath garden as well as Chinese gardens and rock gardens. 

 

Belfast Botanic Gardens

Belfast botanic gardens

Image by ePz member mirrorlens

Belfast botanic garden is a free public park featuring an extensive rose garden. There are also rare oak trees and the botanical houses were built by Richard Turner who later went on to build the glass houses at Kew. 

 

Flower & Plant Photography Books

 

If you want to learn more about flower photography, here are some top picks of educational flower photography books. Do take a look at our book review section, too, where you'll find more recommended reads. 

 

Books to identify flowers

Plants and flowers

When shooting flowers it's nice to know what you're shooting - especially when you're out shooting wildflowers. These guide will help:

 

Look For Inspiration 

The ePHOTOzine gallery is full of amazing examples of flower photography so do head that way if you're in search of flower photography inspiration. You can also use our handy filter system to search for specific flowers, styles and other keywords photographers have used when tagging images. 

To show you just how good the images in our member's portfolios are, here are a selection of fantastic floral images:

 

Star of fire'Astrantia major "Star of Fire" by janedibnah

 

hepaticas'Hepaticas' by TonyDy

 

a couple of flowers'A couple of flowers.' by franken

 

iris 'Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin'' by jackyp

 

lanterns'Lanterns' by MandyD

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Comments


28 May 2020 10:03PM
Thanks to one and all at EPZ for setting up all this information. I had set my mind to do flower photography this year, without having hardly any experience to fall back on, to visit the likes of formal gardens etc. This article is absolutely brilliant for me. I do have a Canon 70D, Tamron 90mm F2.8 lens, Canon 300mm F4 which I have taken flower shots with believe it or not, a tripod, and a reflector I bought years ago but really done nothing with. Unfortunately lockdown has got in the way but I do have a few flower shots to practice on. So thanks again for all this information which will come in really handy. By the way I have lost the main article from which this is part of. Three was something about how you can support EPZ which I never read. Can you resend me that information as well please? David

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