4 Tips for plant photography

February 12, 2017

Plant photography is fascinating! Get your gears ready? Here're 3 useful tips for you to photograph plants.


1. Lighting 


It's a sunny day and you see beams of beautiful sunlight casting on the plants, you feel peaceful and overwhelmed with joy.


Tip number #1 is to shoot the plant behind the sunlight, which means you should avoid photographing under direct sunlight. Leaves and flower petals appear to be transparent behind the sunlight, creating an artistic sense and a sharp contrast, as well as bringing out the details. Photographing under direct sunlight, on contrary, results in over-exposed and ordinary image.


The red leave was shot behind the sunlight, you can see its transparency and the increased contrast. 


However, photographing the same red leaf under direct sunlight does not bring in the desired result. It was just an ordinary and unappealing image.


Shooting leaves behind the sunlight brings magical effect to your photo and that's how we teach students to take awesome photos in just one class. You can tell the difference!


If you got a high contrast photo, convert it to black-and-white! Black-and-white photos are the best way to express the solitary emotion.




2. Stay Close


A well known quote by Photojournalist Robert Capa suggested that "If your pictures are not good enough, you are not close enough". The quote mainly applies to street and journalistic photography, but I think it can be applied to plant photography, too!


The detail of every visible living creature reveals the wonders of the nature. By getting close you will not only be able to eliminate distraction, but also emphasise on the natural being of the elements. Try to fill the frame with the subject you're shooting, stay very close!


Close-up shot of the flower outside my backyard. I used the double-exposure feature of my camera, overlapping a out-of-focus image and an in-focus one.




3. Double-exposure


This is not a rule, but it is definitely something you want to experiment if you want to bring in more artistic sense to your plant photography. The built-in double-exposure feature of some cameras allows you to overlap two images, and usually I combine 1) a out-of-focus image + in-focus image, or 2) slow-shutter speed, blurry image + in-focus image. You can create tonnes of out-of-the-box photos using vast amount imagination! 




4. Low Depth-of-Field


Photograph your subject using large aperture--F2.8 or larger. Large apertures creates low depth of field, which means that objects in front of, or behind your subject are going to be blurred in your picture, allowing the subject to stand out. It is also an important photo composition technique. Remember to stay close, maximise your aperture, and pay attention to the effect of light, and if you want to go beyond imagination, try double-exposure!











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