Find out how to give your plant and flower photos a boost with this easy off-camera flash technique. This simple creative flash photography idea can be shot in any home studio, hassle-free.
The essence of good plant photography is about capturing the character of your specimen. Think of a plant as a personality and seek to express that in the same way a portrait photographer will strive to reveal the individuality of their subject.
With this thistle, we wanted to accentuate its intrinsic spikiness. To achieve this, we decided to backlight the specimen to create a strong highlight around its edges. We shot it against a deep black background (light absorbent velvet) to make the subject stand out.
To create the backlit effect we positioned a Nikon SB800 flashgun, connected to our Nikon D200 SLR via a SC-17 TTL Remote Cord, behind our subject, and then pointed it back towards the camera.
Pointing the flash towards the camera also caused some unsightly lens flare, so we positioned a piece of card between the thistle and the camera to act as a shield.
This is a simple but hugely effective technique that’s successfully enhanced the character of this thistle. Why not try it with botanical subjects of your own?
How to shoot and edit your flash photography flower photos
Using a makeshift home studio, we positioned our flash behind the specimen. We connected the flash to the camera using a remote cable and pointed it back towards the lens to create a backlight effect.
Using Lightroom 3’s Tethered Shooting feature, we were able to connect our camera to our computer. This is a great way to work in a home studio and the instant visual feedback on a large monitor proved useful.
Clean as a thistle
Moving our file seamlessly into Lightroom 3’s Develop mode, we processed our RAW file, tweaking the tones, colours and contrast. If you’re not using Lightroom 3, Adobe Camera Raw will be just as good.
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