Spring has officially sprung here in the UK, so it’s getting warmer and sunnier, even though we had a solar eclipse today. It’s time to get out your cameras and get some images of the fresh flowers that have opened in the garden. If you do that on a sunny day you need to make a decision about where the light should be coming from. The classic way to photograph flowers is with the light coming from the front and hitting the petals quite flatly.
Take this daisy flower photographed with a short telephoto lens and an extension tube to let me focus closer. The bright sunlight has illuminated the petals well, and the background is nicely out of focus, but it’s not that exciting.
I wanted something with a bit more life to it, so I picked a daisy (we’ve got loads!) and held it at arm’s length so the sun was coming through the petals. The background is a hedge in shadow, so it’s come out very dark. It’s a much more interesting image, almost like it was shot in a studio, with the green sepals having lots of detail. The white petals are a little bit like a firework exploding.
I’ve used the same principle on the small yellow flower (Lesser Celandine?). It’s OK with the light straight on, but is very much a record type image. It’s dramatically improved with the dark background and the light coming through the petals.
An interesting effect with all these images is that there is some quite pronounced red fringing on the petals’ edges. This almost certainly because the lens wasn’t designed to be used with extension tubes, and was past the limits of its optical correction. I quite like it!
So, decide where you want the light to come from, make it happen, and you’ll get the best images.