Hi Everyone, it’s time for another photo competition!
When I started working on the “SPRINGTIME” theme on Saturday I was so optimistic… 18 degrees, beautiful sunny weather, clear blue sky… I was going to say that spring is finally here! And now today… 9 degrees, thick clouds, cold and rainy… well let’s just hope NOT for too long 🙂
Ok, so the official date was 20th March, but it all really happens in April, when magnolias and cherry trees are blossoming, azaleas, tulips, daffodils, peonies, sweet pea and so many other flowers. So yes, let’s keep it – “SPRINGTIME” is the theme for April.
A few flower photography tips:
– Check the weather forecast – look for clouds.
A nice sunny warm day – yes, but also look for some clouds. The soft even light of an overcast day compliments the delicacy of the flowers and there will no hard shadows and no harsh bright spots.
– Wind is your enemy.
When it comes to photographing flowers up close, the slightest wind can cause a lot of problems, especially if you are shooting macro very very close. If you are planning a trip somewhere special, check the weather forecast and choose the day when wind should be very low.
– Get closer.
Ok, there are few ways of getting these closeup detailed shots.
Best is the macro lens (40mm, 60mm or 105mm f2.8), but you can also use your standard lens 18-55mm or 50mm, just remember that every lens has its minimum focus distance. Most of the time between 25cm and 45cm, so if you are very close to your subject and your lens just cannot lock that sharp focus – maybe you are just too close.
Another way is to use your long zoom, close-up filters or extension tubes.
– Isolate the subject and avoid a cluttered background.
Use a large aperture (small number) such as f2.8 or f4 to get shallow depth of field. So that only part of the image is sharp and the rest is soft and out-of-focus. This way you will be able to isolate your subject and blur the distracting background. If it still does not look good, try to change your position so that there is nothing distracting behind your flower.
Be sensitive to the direction of light as this can increase contrast, shadows, textures and reflections.
– Get your focus sharp.
If you are going for the shallow depth of field effect, it is essential that at least part of the flower is sharp. The closer you get, the depth in your image gets narrower, so f2.8 is not always best. Take few shots at say f2.8, f5.6 and f8 and see how much is in focus. If necessary use manual focus to ensure the camera is focussed on the most important part of the subject.
– Faster speeds, continuous focus, continuous shooting.
If your flower isn’t sharp, try using faster shutter speeds like 1/250, 1/500 or even faster. Flowers always move a little, even if there is “no wind”. Faster speed will ensure that your subject will be frozen.
AF-S – single focus (one shot) is great for better composition, but continuous focus (AF-C / AI Servo) will help you keep your sharp focus exactly where you want it to be.
Also, you may like to set your camera to continuous shooting. Hold shutter release button down and you will capture a sequence of shots. Even if a few shots won’t be 100% sharp, there is a big chance that one will!
– Try different angles.
Think about how would you like to compose your picture. Rule of thirds, filling the frame, shoot through, patterns. Don’t take just one photo. Work the scene, change the angle of view, maybe tilt your camera to get an interesting viewpoint.
As always I’ve created a Pinterest board to inspire you a bit, but you are the artist, so feel free to experiment!
Below are few pics I shot on Monday afternoon at Kew Gardens and my beautiful Putney.
Remember that the winner will receive £50 in course vouchers. Please submit maximum three of your best pictures. We’ll choose the winner and publish a selection of our favourite images.
We are looking forward to seeing your entries!!!
It is easy to enter, and the competition is open to everyone. Entry closes on 30th April 2019.
Your pictures should be saved as jpg files and not bigger than 3MB. Remember to name your files e.g. katesmith1.jpg
Please email your best pictures (3 max) to [email protected]
We will notify the winners on 15th May 2019.