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The orchid

By queengu21
I have tried to make a more dramatic scene to this flower. It has been processed thru LR and PS BUT I AM NOT PLEASED ENOUGH BECAUSE I FEEL SOMETHING IS MISSING TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL. Any suggestions?

Tags: Flowers and plants

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IshanPathak 8 202 12 India
31 May 2014 10:46AM
I really am not sure what exactly you mean by " dramatic " effect or whats your idea of a dramatic effect.

So i have loaded a mod, which hopefully will live up to the mark of your dramatic effect. I found the background a bit distracting so removed it.

Rest all tweaking and i would say technically its too dark and stuff but you said you wanted to create a dramatic atmosphere so i am leaving all that and going with how you shot the image Smile

banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4336 Canada
31 May 2014 2:56PM
Hi Ely.

Orchids can be a challenge to shoot well.

I took a look at many shots in your portfolio, including another orchid shot, and I get the impression that many of your shots are well underexposed.

The orchid here is underexposed too; you used a -1 exposure compensation, which you may not have needed, - hard for me to assess as the rest of the shot has been darkened.

The shutter speed you used here is very slow, even with IS, so you should use either a tripod, or very solid support for the best results.

Light is important; I cant tell if this is shot indoors or not, or what sort of light you were dealing with; the result, apart from exposure, is a very two dimensional appearance, with no hint of a shadow to suggest depth. So consider the lighting, less straight on, more at an angle to provide the impression of depth. Aslso consider how an Orchid looks from a slight side view, - they can be quite impressive.

Orchids shot as a single bloom with no stem, with a dark background can appear to be floating, with no connection to a plant, so consider leaving some stem in and perhaps rather than darkening the other flowers, blur them.

Take a look in the gallery here at other orchid shots, look at the shot settings, and see if you can learn some more. I have a few in my portfolio, one fairly recent. I went though a long learning curve too.

So just for some examples I have uploaded three mods; first is your original, with the flower brighter, and rotated so its straight, like a specimen shot; the other two are examples of how the flower can look with a brighter background.

The main thing to take away is the light, and the -1 exposure compensation. Try shots without that -1, and be conscious of the light.


pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2276 United Kingdom
31 May 2014 8:38PM
Rather than "make a more dramatic scene to this flower", Ely, you have tried to isolate it from its background.
My suggestion would be to either include the background, made more subtle if necessary, or remove it completely, and perhaps add a different one, as has been demonstrated in the modifications.

For the drama you are seeking, I feel it is something to be approached at the shooting stage rather than afterwards. In other words, your shooting angle, aperture and lighting will do the talking for you.

You have shot the orchid straight-on, and the beauty of this is that you can get the whole flower in focus, especially with that aperture that you chose. That's fine, and I personally like the whole flower to be in focus, but you are partiucularly wanting more drama, a more creative effect, and a shallower depth of field will help you to achieve this, at the same time throwing your background nicely out of focus.

This is more of a "record" shot showing the beauty of the formation of the specimen. That's good to have as part of a set, part of your several attempts to capture this lovely flower. Try to shoot every aspect of it, and firstly consider which part of the flower impresses you most, then go for that aspect in focus and up close.
Most people will try to get the very attractive centre in focus and not worry about the petals falling out of focus.
Remember, too, that you don't HAVE to have any background at all. You can fill your frame with the flower and have the centre slightly offset in the frame.

Your flower isn't going to run away, so take your time and consider your composition carefully.
What most people do is point the camera at the bloom, fill the framd and shoot, but there is so much more that you can do to add creativity to your flower pictures.
So then there is your angle to consider. Try shooting side on, or slightly so.

It's your selected aperture that will make or break your flower shot. If your aperture is too small, the background will be too focused, competing with your subject, and if it's too wide there may not be sufficient detail to make the image work. So try shooting with a shallow DOF (depth of field), of around f.4 to create a blurred background and make the flower stand out. Then change it and notice the difference by continuously checking the depth-of-field with the preview button.

Most of what I am saying is about selective focusing. Some say that keeping everything in the image sharp means there’s no focal point, and therefore suggest choosing one spot of the subject and keeping that sharp. By choosing a shallow depth of field, normally f/2.8–f/8, you give everything else a slightly blurry, ethereal effect.

So I hope you will have a few more tries and that you will be happier with the results.


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