Photography is a great hobby, and I have personally found it very therapeutic. No matter how stressed out I am, all I have to do is grab my camera and head out for a few hours to take some photos of the world around me. By the time I am back, I am already feeling like a whole other person. Nothing feels quite as satisfying as getting that perfect shot, even if all the others are lackluster. Trying to get it is half the fun.

Every photographer has a list of things that they like to shoot more than anything else. My favorite have always been flowers and plants. Naturally beautiful, holding the perfect color and something all people can relate to, they really are a wonderful subject. Some of my most praised shots have been of flowers I have seen in nearby parks, or even neighbors yards. But photographing flowers isn’t quite like photographing anything else. Here are some tips to properly capture the essence of plant life.

Flower Photography Photo credit: License: Royalty Free or iStock Link: http://smartphotostock.com/

Find a Simple Background.

The whole point of nature is that it is beautiful on its own. When focusing on a specific element of nature, you want it to stand out from everything else. That means removing distractions that are not imperative to the shot. Angle the camera to only capture the part of the flower you want, and make sure nothing in the background is too complex to take away from your subject. It is even a good idea to blur the background in editing to sharpen the image of the flower.

Rose Closeup Photo credit: License: Creative Commons
Link: http://smartphotostock.com/view/pink-rose

Get Up Close and Personal.

Some faraway shots of flowers can be nice, such as a shot of a field of sunflowers. But most will lose some of their effect if you do this, and it is better to zero in on your subject as much as possible. Zoom and physical proximity can be used to achieve this. Don’t be afraid to frame the shot so only part of the flower is seen, as well. This can make a more dynamic image while still capturing the details of it up close. Don’t get too close unless the image is meant to be a more abstract representation of your subject.

How To Photograph Flowers Photo credit: License: Creative Commons Link: http://smartphotostock.com/view/the-bouquet-of-archidea

Keep An Eye On Lighting.

Sometimes, it is nice to have harsh shadows in your shot. Sometimes it doesn’t fit with the tone of the image. You should be careful of the time of day – and type of day – when you do your shoot. If you want things to look more gentle and simple, go with an overcast day sometime between the mid afternoon and early evening. If you want a more dynamic and harsh shot, utilizing lighting and shadows, then go on a bright, cloudless day in the late morning to early afternoon. For that delicate look of morning, go just after sunrise.

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Take Advantage Of Nature.

Sometimes the little extras can make all the difference in a flower photo, and nature provides you with plenty. Dew or raindrops on petals, a lady bug crawling on the outside of a bloom, bees or blades of grass, these are all great additions to a flower image. Always be on the lookout and ready for these more candid shots.

Autumn Leaves Photo credit: License: Creative Commons Link: http://smartphotostock.com/view/virginia-creeper

Not All Beautiful Things Are Living.

It might sound creepy, but death can be beautiful. In nature, the image of a dead tree or sparse wasteland has a lot of appeal. So do dead flowers and other plants, which had a unique tone all their own. Don’t always focus on living flowers, but take advantage of shots involving dead ones. This includes wilting flowers in vases, or dried ones from bouquets. They can be full of symbolism, and give a nice twist to the usual emotion behind a picture of a flower.

Get A Little Crazy With Angles.

I recently saw an image of a flower that was taken from the underside. You could see the veins in the petals, and the bulb attached to the stem. But you couldn’t see the top section that most of us see when we look at them. This showed how brilliant you can make a picture when you shoot it from an unconventional angle. Don’t be afraid to get crazy with it. The best shots are the ones that look the silliest when taking them, I always say.

Do you have any tips for photographing flowers? Let us know in the comments!

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