Photographing Flowers, Part 3: Lighting
|Flower at Lew Gardens|
|Using a Diffuser to Photograph|
Once the sun rises and shines on your flowers, everything changes. The heat from the sun excites the air, which in turn creates a slight breeze. And then there's those reflections and shadows to contend with. A polarizing (CP) filter will go a long way to help here, but even a CP filter can leave too many shadows in certain conditions. Because closeup photos of flowers often have a small area in the foreground and background, you can frequently even out the lighting of the whole scene with a diffuser. I've found that using a diffuser can often restore those ideal lighting conditions I like so much. If you don't believe me, try it just once, and use a white umbrella for a diffuser if you don't have one or want to spend the money on one. I suspect you won't go back.
|Iris with Diffuser|
At the same time, consider using high contrast lighting situations to your advantage as well. You can use reflectors to shine sunlight on shadowy parts of your image to make your lighting more even. If you can find a scene where sunlight is shining on a flower leaving the rest of the scene in shadow (as in the first image above), you can set your camera to spot meter, and expose for the flower, allowing the rest of the photo to fade toward black.
|I'm a Sucker for Waterdrops|