Just about every great artist has done a piece of art depicting flowers. Flowers and floral arrangements are one of the most popular subjects in fine art photography. Floral photography also has commercial application when photographing floral designs, wedding bouquets, shooting pictures for ikebana blogs etc…
You probably noticed that on-camera flash can ruin an image of a beautiful arrangement. Direct flash produces harsh shadows and glaring front lighting. In this video tutorial we show you how you get a wonderful flower images using, the most inexpensive, clamp lamp style of lighting.
As you noticed when photographing flowers outdoors the most beautiful pictures come out during overcast and even on rainy days. The basic science behind this is the diffusion of light. Mother Nature has a clever way to diffuse sunlight with clouds. With such diffusion highlights are subdued, shadows are softer and thus detail in texture of flowers and color range becomes more visible. Observing natural light is a great way to learn photography lighting because the same techniques can be applied in studio environment.
a. Sun: Direct source of hard light = clamp lamp with clear bulb
b. Time of the day: 6pm early evening , or Morning avoid 12 o’clock over head light = position clamp lamp at a low angle
c. Clouds: Diffusion = Roll of Drafting Vellum
d. Natural light from the window falling onto background (if actual window at the right time of the day is not available) = Backlight from clamp lamp projected onto background through a rectangular hole out in black foam board
a. Use contrasting color wall or background instead of white
b. Use an interesting, textured table as your surface
c. Use Extension Tubes and shoot some macro as well while you have the lighting setup.
Camera: DSLR camera, 17-85mm lens
Settings: A v mode, 50mm, f10, White Balance: Auto. Note: White Balance can be set to Tungsten or Custom (refer to your camera manual)
Main light: clamp lamp on the stand with 100w bulb, Roll of diffusion drafting vellum on Boom arm, White foam-core board clamped to a light stand to bounce light.Black foam board to block the light from spilling onto background.
Backlight: Clamp lamp with 50W bulb through a hole in black foam board on the stand.
Tripod, Light stands, A-clamps
Surface: ply-wood on saw horses covered with white paper, Background- white seamless paper.
For more info on equipment used see: Photo and Grip Equipment for Clamp Lamp Studio
Please tell us what type of floral photography you do, and share your image when get the shot!