Flowers are a favorite subject of artists and photographers, their colors, form and drama make for fascinating subjects. There are challenges however for a photographer wanting to capture these delicate beauties.
For example, a common occurrence when photographing images in color is a misrepresentation of the colors due to poor lighting conditions, improper camera settings or a combination of issues. The most frequent issue that arises in flower photography is color saturation. This can occur because cameras use a digital sensor that is unable to interpret the correct color of the flower and the final interpretation by the camera is often quite different.
For example, a macro, or close up, photograph of a yellow begonia would reveal shades of peach, cream and a host of yellow variants. If color saturation occurred in the image the flower may appear in only two to three shades of yellow, with no hint of the realistic coloration. Or, a very dark pink flower that has a beautiful shade you just can’t help but want to capture may actually turn out looking red in the photo due to this digital sensor. This can vary amongst cameras as well. For instance, point and shoot cameras have a very small sensor, while SLR cameras have large sensors that are able to collect more light and the output is one that is more realistic to what you are actually seeing in the flower.
Color saturation issues can be controlled or adjusted at the scene or by using photo editing software. The first consideration is the lighting. Most subjects do not generally photograph well in the bright light of the day, and flowers are no exception. Their details of petals, stamen and leaf textures can be completely washed out by bright light, and a filter will be needed to capture the colors and details accordingly. Many choose a polarizing filter to reduce reflections of color.
Photographers also play with backlighting – and this can be of the photographer or backlighting of the flower itself. Backlighting requires the photographer to either stand with the sun directly behind them, or directly in front of them. Backlighting a flower can allow the sun to shine through it, and illuminate it from within. If photographer is backlit, the sun will be shining down directly on the flower, which will call for an adjustment to shutter speeds to prevent the image from appearing washed out and also to address color saturation from ruining the photograph.
A final method of photographing flowers while reducing the potential for color saturation is to do so on an overcast day, when colors pop, but when conditions will allow for a great deal of control over the amount of light on the image. This can prevent a single color from reflecting or overwhelming the entire image.
Flowers are excellent photographic subjects and both professional and amateur photographers are encouraged to have fun with lighting, composing and creating beautiful pictures of them.