How To Photograph Spring Flowers

Everyone needs a break from their area of expertise and I’m no exception. This time of the year the spring flowers  are wonderful, so I headed outside the other day to make a few images.

With scenic images there are some differences in my camera settings. I want a lot of depth in the images, so I set my shutter speed a lot slower than I set it for animals where I need to stop the action by using a fast shutter speed.

Ok, quick review. The shutter speed setting controls movement in your photographs and the aperture setting controls the depth of field. These two variables along with the ISO speed produce the exposure for each image. The shutter speed and aperture are inversely related, so when you choose a slow shutter speed (something I never do with animal photography but can afford to do with a scenic image because there isn’t a lot of movement…well there could be a lot of movement if the wind is really blowing…but that’s another story) you get more depth in your image. That’s a good thing with a scenic where you want to see a lot of detail from front to back.

With action, most of the time, all I care about is stopping the subject’s movement.

But for scenic images, I set my shutter speed for 1/60th of a second.

Setting a slow shutter speed with a wide aperture, allowed me to capture the gate ironwork as well as the wonderful hostas going up the hill.

Other than that, many of the techniques for great animal photography apply. I still have to look through the viewfinder and think about what I want to capture. I still have to be aware of background problems. I still have to consider the composition. However, with a scenic composition, I have a lot more options than I do with animals where I always try to move in close. With scenics, I can move back and take in a larger view as I did with the first photo of this blog,  or I can get closer for some detail of the natural world.

Of course the other thing I have when photographing scenics is time. With animals the attention span demands that I work very quickly. With scenics I can take all the time in the world and wait for the scene to speak to me before making an image.

That means it’s always relaxing to go outside and just play with my camera without having to concentrate too hard, and it is particularly rewarding when there are so many beautiful flowers to capture on film.

Of course the wonderful thing about flowers is that you can bring them inside too. Here’s a snap with my iPhone. In this case, I moved in as close to the flowers as I could to make sure they were in focus. I could have pulled out my “real” camera and set a very narrow aperture to blur out the background, but I kind of like the formality of the room with the formality of the Iris blooms, even if it is just a snap shot.

That’s the fun of photography. You can always create something you like, no matter what the subject matter or the background.

Good shooting!