I love flowers! I always say they are two gifts in one when people give them to me - beautiful to have in the house and a great subject to photograph.
Some time ago I 'met' Julie Davies on an online workshop. Julie is The Florist who Teaches. She recently won the BFA's Florist Tutor of the Year for 2016! I did Julie's excellent 4 week flower arranging workshop over a summer - highly recommended if you'd like to do more than just plonk your flowers in a vase! (There's a link for more info at the end of this post.)
Last year Julie asked me to do a guest post on her blog about using my smartphone to take photos of flowers. As its officially 'Floral Design' day today I thought I would repeat it!
I often take photos with my iPhone of flowers - usually because it's the device I always have with me!
Here are some tips for taking great flower photographs with your phone (and other subjects too for that matter!)
Use the right apps
I don’t use the native iOS camera app as the controls are too limited for what I want to achieve. Most Android devices have much better controls as standard.
My favourite apps are:
Camera+ and Hipstamatic (both iOS only) – for shooting
Snapseed and Lightroom Mobile – for editing
There are lots of different apps available today and it's worth finding the ones that enable you to take the photos that you want.
Use the best settings
Tap the screen to set your focus (and separate exposure point if using Camera+) where you want it.
Use the exposure compensation slider to make your image lighter or darker if you need to. This is a separate tool in Camera+ and on Android phones. In the native iPhone camera swipe up and down once you have tapped to select a focus point.
Shoot slightly darker in bright conditions - if the bright areas are too bright you will lose detail. You can also use it creatively, and deliberately over expose the photograph to produce a dreamy effect.
Shoot macro/close up to get even more detail. In Camera+ this is really good and one of the best things about the app. This allows you to focus much closer to your subject than in normal mode. Clip on lens systems which include macro lenses will get you in even closer.
Use the composition grid to help you position your flower or arrangement in the frame. Only centre your subject if you are shooting a symmetrical image. Otherwise place your subject to either the left or right. This makes your photo more interesting by using the Rule of Thirds - a composition tool.
Use stabiliser mode if its available (Camera+ has this). In this mode your camera won’t take the photo until you are stable enough – which means fewer blurry shots. This is invaluable in low light shots and when you are shooting in macro mode.
Photograph in lots of light wherever possible to avoid camera shake.
Some of these settings might be advanced or 'manual' controls and will need turning on in the settings of the camera or the app.
Most smartphone photos can do with a little editing, with the emphasis being little. Too much editing can be obvious and mimic the worst of the Instagram filters.
In Snapseed, I mostly use the tune image, crop, healing (for taking out anything unwanted) and vignette (to make the subject pop out more) tools.
So next time you have some flowers - get out your phone and take some photos!
If you're interested in Julie's online workshops all the details are here: