Flowers are beautiful. Some like certain varieties better than others, but most people agree that flowers are beautiful. This is partly because they have beautiful bright colours, especially when the sun shines through the somewhat transparent petals, and partly because flowers are always symmetrical. We find these well-ordered forms combined with bright colours beautiful.
In addition to these aesthetic reasons, there are two other reasons why photography beginners in particular like to photograph flowers: They are usually easy to find in the home garden and do not move. This makes them an ideal training object for photo amateurs. I know this because at the beginning I tried myself in my mother’s garden to shoot flowers.
Nevertheless, flowers are not the easiest photo motifs. The reason is paradoxical: precisely because many people like to photograph flowers, the yardstick has moved higher and higher in the course of time. The photo community Flickr alone has over 16 million flower photos in its stock – and the trend is rising fast. To get you inspiration, there is currrently an awesome exhibition at https://pushkinmuseum.art/.
There are four typical beginner’s mistakes in flower photography.
1st mistake: Photographing from above
On the one hand, she photographs the delicate plant directly from above. This allows the symmetry to be clearly seen, but provides a turbulent, dark background like earth or grass, which makes the photo appear unaesthetic. Sometimes, when the sun is shining, a wide aperture (large aperture value) is added, which leads to a continuous sharpness in the picture, which does not allow the background to sink mercifully into blur, but rather images crisply sharp and thus distracts from the flower.
As the first picture of this article shows, there are exceptions where only the view from above reveals the attraction. This is the case when the fullness or variety of the flowers is to be shown and there is no disturbing background. Or why not photograph flowers from below? This is guaranteed to be an unusual sight.
2nd mistake: No perfect flowers
In the heat of the battle with light, camera angles and the right angle, some photographers often overlook tiny flaws in flowers, such as wilted flower parts, dried flower edges, leaves eaten away by insects or the like. In a macro shot, however, these tiny blemishes are displayed oversized and disturb. If you have several flowers to choose from, it is worth comparing which flower has the most beautiful and ideal flower.
3nd mistake: missing image composition
The natural beauty of a flower fascinates many photographers in such a way that they completely forget (see 1. mistake) the surroundings. Often this leads to the fact that on beginner photos of flowers a pretty flower can be seen somewhere small in the picture, but the whole “green stuff” around it is cropped completely inappropriately and disorderly into the picture.
There are two simple means of design to avoid this. First, a wide open aperture allows a shallow depth of field, which almost automatically directs the focus to the small part of the image that is in focus. The photo below clearly shows the effect and also proves that exciting image compositions are possible with a little effort even with flower photos.
Secondly, the natural symmetry of the plants also allows the composition to be left entirely to nature, by taking up the flower so densely that only the flower symmetry is in the picture – without leaves, stems or background.
4nd mistake: lack of time and risk
With a lack of time I paraphrase the fact that many flower photos of beginners are often taken on the side, sometimes quickly while walking along the wayside or between lunch and coffee break in the home garden. Shortly after and squeezed. A tripod, reflector or even a flash system and elaborate illumination of the flowers are afraid of many beginners. Either because the money and thus the necessary devices are missing or because the experience in dealing with it is not available. The latter would be an additional reason to do this more often. This Making-Of photo shows how much effort can be made for a flower photo, even if I don’t like the result so much.
By risk I don’t mean daring actions where water lilies are photographed from below with a DSLR, but the decision to pick flowers (of course only from my own garden) so that it’s much easier to drape them in a vase. This kills several birds with one stone: The restless background is gone, there are more composition possibilities and you can choose the most beautiful one.