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Gift during shielding

By Tianshi_angie
Unable to be outside (due to my pain not lockdown) have attempted some indoor photographs and would appreciate thoughts. This was a bouquet of flowers which my daughter sent to me and they arrived in bud. As they have opened I have suspected that they had been in the deep freeze as some - as you can see in the edges - are brown in the middle and others have very brown leaves on the outside. So being indoors was darker and therefore a bit more difficult to get the background really blurred. Help - please.

Tags: Flowers and plants Paeony

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dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1832 England
24 Jun 2020 1:30PM
To get the background more blurred, simply move the flower you are photographing further from it. Try putting it on its own in a small vase four or five feet from the nearest thing behind it.

To highlight the bloom, literally, try putting it close to a window, with the background in shade, so that all of the detail will darken down by comparison with the subject - this can work on its own, or in combination with differential focus.
24 Jun 2020 2:38PM
My problem is that all of my house is a bit cluttered (due to my pain) so moving stuff is not so easy but new tablets today so maybe later I can give this a go. My original idea was to send the entire vase full so my daughter could see what she had bought but then (and only when I had photographed them) did I realise there were so many brown patches. (Not good floristry, I think). Perhaps re-arranging them so that the brown ones are all at the back. Thanks John - I'll have a go to see what I can do.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2211 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2020 3:26PM
It might upset your daughter to see that some of the flowers are brown, Angie, so why not just send her a picture of one or two and tell her you have tried to capture the beauty of the detail for her to see? This is going to make it easier for you to get a good picture.

If you have a piece of card, material or a board of some kind, place it behind your flower/s, and you can have them in a vase or lying flat on a plain surface. Use a tripod if you have one. If not, set up something you can stand the camera on so that it doesn't move. Use your camera's timer, if it has one, so that you aren't touching the camera when it fires.

John's suggestion of window light is fine because it will give a soft light to your flowers. Petals are very reflective and light ones like this can so easily get burnt out (white with no detail remaining). So don't use flash. You can use Aperture Priority, set a large aperture if you like, but a smaller one for overall sharpness. The camera might choose a slow shutter speed, but that's ok because you are using support and the timer. If you aren't then you need a large aperture (smaller f-number), a higher ISO and consequently a faster shutter speed. The settings that you chose here would be ok.

Use a single focus point and focus on the flower centre. With only 1 or 2 flowers, you should be able to have a clean background and, as John says, have your flowers far enough away from the background in order to achieve the blurring you would like.

Keep practicing, and get those pictures before the flowers fade.

24 Jun 2020 3:40PM
Thanks Pamela - I have a sheet of card which I keep as a background but one side is black and the other is cream neither of which I think is quite right for these flowers - but I may have some material around which would be better. The flowers fading is one of my worries - but I will give it a go this afternoon. I too thought that the brown flowers would upset her which is why I had decided on just one.
capto Plus
8 6.6k 25 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2020 3:57PM
When it's too late to put all the good advice above into practice, a little 'cheating' in Photoshop can save the day. which is what I have done in my mod.
Owdman Plus
5 6 19 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2020 5:23PM
I added a mod and used an overlay in photoshop and then adjust the result in the RAW filter. Even if you can't afford photoshop there are a number of cheaper programmes that will allow you to do the same thing. Background becomes much less of a worry as you can sort that out in post processing.
Alternatively you could convert to black and white.
24 Jun 2020 8:35PM
Yes I do subscribe to PS CC and all the additional programmes that come with it. B&W I am not a fan of and as this is to send to my daughter to show her what her gift looked like it wouldn't give her the 'real deal'. But thanks for your thoughts.
24 Jun 2020 8:39PM
Pamela and John - I have attempted a further image, which I will upload tomorrow, but I am not sure if it is any improvement on the one I posted. We shall see what you think.

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