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Thread: Photographing Flowers

  1. #1

    Photographing Flowers

    I'm going to take a photograph of flowers with Linhof in my apartment. It would be two or three flowers in front of simple color background, as you can see from the link below.

    In this case, I want to know what I need beside lens. Can you tell me about material and color of background, and lighting. Is there any step-by-step book that I can acquire the knowledge of these kind.

    Thank you for kind reply.
    Chamonix 45N-2, Chamonix 45H-1

  2. #2
    MIke Sherck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Elkhart, IN

    Photographing Flowers

    Is there a book? Probably -- there seems to be a book for everything these days. If not a book then there must certainly be websites somewhere, probably half-contradictory, but what the heck.

    Besides a lens you need to know how to use the camera, know something about your film, but basically you just need to be observant. Look at the light and how it falls on the subject. Is that what you want? If not, change it: move the lights, add/subtract reflectors, or wait for the outside light to change. Do you like the way the background looks? If not, change it! Change to something of a different color, move it closer to or further away from the subject. See what happens on the ground glass and in the negative. See, observe, learn! That's half the fun!

    Good luck! Don't be discouraged if you don't much like the first few of these that you do. Even with the best book in the world you probably can't duplicate someone else's results with your first few photographs. That's a good thing! If everyone limited themselves to duplicating older work, where would exciting new photographs come from?

    Politically, aerodynamically, and fashionably incorrect.

  3. #3
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Rio Rancho, NM

    Photographing Flowers

    As Mike suggests, cut-flower photography can be approached in an infinite number of ways. I see it as part flower selection (from scruffy to perfect, depending on the artistic objective), part flower arranging (spacial aesthetics), part camera mechanics (magnification, focus, etc), and part lighting science.

    Some like to use natural light from a window, others use hot lights or strobes. With strobes, a variety of light modifiers (softboxes, grid spots, snoots, etc.) can be used to achieve shape, texture, drama, etc.

    I often use a "thunder gray" seamless paper background, which is slightly lighter than an 18% gray card. With different lighting ratios, the gray can be rendered as anything from white to black, and with gels on the background light, virtually any desired color.

    For the lens, you may find it handy to use a lens that will allow up to 1:1 magnification with the bellows extension available on your camera. That gives you flexibility with compositions. A lens that is optimized for close-up work might be preferred, but I wouldn't worry too much about that.

    The key point, I think, is the exploration of compositional aesthetics - mostly a combination of the arranging and lighting parts. Here's an example of one I did with the gray background, a grid spot on a studio strobe, and a 240mm G-Claron lens on an 8x10, shot with Polaroid Type 804:

  4. #4
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Rio Rancho, NM

    Photographing Flowers

    Oops. Forgot to mention - you might find The Flower Forum a useful resource.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2000

    Photographing Flowers

    Once again Ralph, I'm amazed at the resources you have at your fingertips.

  6. #6

    Photographing Flowers

    Hello younghoon Kil,

    Depending on the way you work things could be simple or "sophisticated".

    I use to make my own still life wotk with a 60watt light , I don't find any use of more power full light . My work ismostly in Bw and it also play on the choice of the light source. and I make my work in 8.5x6.5 to 12x15 inch.

    If you want to wotk in color a flash systee will be better. ( avoid recipocity learn mulitple flash)

    For backgroung I use black tissue or hand paint card paper. ( really easy to paint a back ground with "knife brush or any plastic card")

    lighting tungsten 60 Watt but sometime 1000 watt ( some flower had a tendancies to move in a 2 second exposure)
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    lens: always wide angle.

    Do not forget exposure correction. (take the Quick disc available on the waeb page)

    You can take a look at my work here:



  7. #7

    Photographing Flowers

    Thank you for all kind replies, esp. with great examples. It helped me a lot. ;-)
    Chamonix 45N-2, Chamonix 45H-1

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