For those of you who have been with me a while, I ask your pardon for
publishing a post of flower images that many of you have seen before, probably
somewhere from one to 10 times. I needed a single location on this
blog for close-up flower images, featuring from one to a few flowers,
where two specific people could view them, and learn from the
treatment of the subject (‘s). These were handy, and were also mostly
images that I like. No fields of flowers and no grasses, leaves, webs
or other such subjects. The concern here was not so much which flowers
are pictured, but why I did what I did when I made them. With spring
“being sprung”, this subject is time appropriate. There is no subject
more camera or art friendly than the flower.
When I am doing this sort of photography, I vary my personal point of
view and my techniques, sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. I
frequently work with the maximum or minimum amounts of depth of field.
In other words, a lot of sharpness or very little. Sometimes I am
attracted to color, sometimes shape, sometimes an entire flower, and
sometimes only one tiny section. Often I prefer (I will take what I
can get) either soft, even illumination, or direct morning light, and
I often like to work with shadows. Mystery (in the shadows) can be our
friend. Sometimes I care what kind of flower it is, and what kind of
story it has to tell, but often I could care less, as my subject has
become a series curves and colors. Flowers are creatively beautiful in
an of themselves, and they allow newer photographers to expand their
artistic horizons in ways that will transfer to a variety of differing
Flowers are great teachers. When I taught workshops to new (often young) photographers, our first subject was usually flowers.
Whatever artistic vision I may have (or have not) possessed when I
created the images below, that and not the Xs and Os, are the primary
purpose for their selection in this post.
Sharp and fuzzy. A single sharp flower with several gently out of
focus flowers in the background makes for a compelling image.
My vision in this picture from the very beginning was to place some
crispness in just the right place, and let the rest go soft.
Soft shadows, soft light, and pollen
Shapes within the flower.
Two ways to look at dewy New England Asters.
Pinpoint focus. Sharpness surrounded by soft.
Two different animals (so to speak) of the same species.
Artistically, clean, black backgrounds, draw attention to the color
and shape of a blossom, and accent light as well.
I have used the compositional powerpoint of this image, to put the
accent where I want. Upper right third!
This image, much like today’s third photo, uses the contrast of light
and shadow to turn a boring image into an interesting one. Spiderwart.
A flower picture or a picture of a Hover Fly? Many plants and animals
have a symbiotic relationship and we can use our cameras to tell their
story. More Spiderwart.
Two more ways for a photographer to view Spiderwort flowers.
Pale Purple Coneflowers, waving in the wind. One sharp blossom makes
this a sharp image, despite the fact that two out of three are fuzzy.
It also makes it more interesting.
I’ve written a lot on these pages about contrast. Color contrasts where laying a warm (yellow, red, etc.) color on a cool (blue, some greens etc.) one creates contrast and a feeling of dimension.
Contrasts of light. Using highlights and shadows to make an image “pop” with contrast.
Sharpness and softness playing off of one another is a form of contrast. It also adds dimension as the sharp parts of the scene, advance and separate themselves from the soft and fuzzy.
Another way of looking at Purple Coneflowers.
A rare and precious White Fringed Prairie Orchid. Light and dark often make
for distinctively beautiful contrasts.
One sharp spot, in a world of out of focus flowers, makes this a
Once again, minimal sharpness can produce nice abstractions.
Another use of point of focus and depth of field that produces some
sharpness with a lot of softness.
This Chicory flower has been composed with the power point technique.
Rules (of art) are made to be broken, but tools are made to be used, and this
These final two images of two different types of Phlox, are very
similar. They are both covered with a fine coat of dew, and they both
are photographed from straight above the flowers. They both contain
black, featureless backgrounds. They differ only compositionally, as
the blossoms occupy the picture frame differently from one another. Of
course, the first image is a vertical and the second a horizontal, but
a bigger difference is the old log which is just as big a part of the
comp, as are the flowers.
So, there we are, not much tech info but a lot about how one
photographer, views the subject of flower close-ups.
Have a great day and may God Bless, Wayne