Think about light
Most flowers look great to the human eye when viewed in bright sunshine, but this is often not the best light for pictures. Direct sunlight can cause problems with contrast, burning out highlights and creating unflattering shadows.
Soft, diffused light is much better and will produce a more attractive result with bright, well-saturated colours. An alternative approach is to use backlighting to reveal fine details on the stem and flower and add impact to colourful petals.
Backlighting is particularly effective when the subject is photographed against a black background for added drama.
In terms of framing, flowers lend themselves well to a variety of compositions in both horizontal and vertical formats, and this is often dictated by the flower’s overall shape.
Try to shoot level with the subject rather than looking down on it, and place it off to one side of the frame. This will lead to a more intimate and sympathetic composition.
Be creative and think beyond a straightforward record shot and more in terms of the shape, colour and form. Don’t just concentrate on the flower itself – the leaves, stem and other parts of the plant can be just as interesting.
It’s also important not to ignore the background. Frame up the flower so that it has a complementary background that doesn’t compete for attention.
Shooting from a low level will help throw foregrounds and backgrounds softly out of focus when using a telephoto lens. Setting a large aperture will also minimise depth of field so that just the flower is in focus.
If necessary, tidy up the background by holding or carefully tying distracting foliage out of shot. Tweezers can also be useful for removing dead stems.
As the days get longer, more flowers will come into bloom, providing you with a steady stream of subjects to perfect your skills.
PAGE 1: How to photograph flowers with the right backdrop
PAGE 2: A step-by-step guide on how to photograph flowers in the wild
PAGE 3: How to photograph flowers in the wild – think about the light
PAGE 4: Experiment with depth of field
PAGE 5: Final spring photography tips for photographing wild flowers