Garden flower closeups

Flowers are a rich source of color, pattern, texture and form. Lighting is therefore very important. Shooting against diffused sunlight out in the garden is a good way to show the transparency of petals and leaves, emphasized by shadowed background. Back- or side-lighting also reveals the stalks and other structural detail in a three-dimensional way. Direct sunlight from

Figure 21.8 Good lighting is essential for close-up work, as low light levels can contribute to aperture and shutter speed settings that produce shallow depth of field and perhaps even some camera shake.

the side is good for emphasizing texture (see Figure 21.8). Even when sunlight is diffused, fit a lens hood or shade to your lens to minimize light scatter and flare caused by light falling on the front element of the lens. Measure the majority of your exposure from the delicate petal detail, because even if this approach results in dark stalks it is still more acceptable than burnt-out flower colors. Use soft, even lighting for strongly patterned flowers, as it will cause less confusion than direct light, which will add shadow and texture to the picture as well.

One advantage of working so close to a small subject is that it is not difficult to modify natural light to suit your needs. Something as simple as a piece of tracing paper hung between a plant and direct sunlight will bathe everything in soft, even illumination. A hand mirror can direct sunlight into the shadow areas and a white card held close behind the camera reduces the excessive contrast of back lit shots.

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