Wednesday, August 21, 2019


The reason I call myself a life photographer is because, although I too am attracted to landscapes and scenics as so many of us are, I can find art in almost any subject around me. One of those many subjects is florals, specifically flowers. 

I am not a botanist, so I am not as familiar with the many species of flowers around us. However, I don't need to be because when I'm out and about, my goal is not to take pretty pictures of pretty flowers. I look for shapes, colors, lines, and shadows. My imagination takes over from there and thinks of the unseen-- drama, moods, impressionism, mystery. beauty, etc.

Once I have something in my mind, then, and not only until then, do I start thinking about f/stops, shutter speeds, exposure, exposure modes, etc. In other words, I work backward.
I start with the end in mind. Of course, viewers don't know that. They only see the end result. So, let me show you some my end results. 

Let's start with this image, on which I received many comments and questions. I liked the shapes and colors of this midday arrangement, but the background was absolutely horrible. I also wanted to enhance the shapes and colors. So, to eliminate the ugly background and enhance the colors, I used a large black non-reflective flannel material as a backdrop then did an in-camera double exposure to create this. In my new book, RIGHT BRAIN PHOTOGRAPHY, I go into step-by-step detail on how I create my double exposures in camera. 

Don't be afraid to shoot toward the sun, even though most folks advise against it.
Get behind back lit subjects for unique perspectives. And, to add drama, increase your exposure to bring out those hidden details in the shadows--don't hesitate to disregard your histogram--it doesn't know what you want; it only knows what it thinks you need. I overexposed this scene by a +2 2/3!! That's 266% more light than my built-in light meter thought I needed. 


I liked these flowers, but the background was too busy, drawing attention away from the
"headliners." What to do? I gently slid my 32" diffuser behind the flowers in the foreground, slightly touching the flowers in the background to subdue their presence. It worked!

When photographing flowers in water, get down as low as you can in order to pick up their reflections in the water. It's not a comfortable position to be in, but the results are worth it. 

For this artistic rendition I used a combination of diffuser as a backdrop and an in-camera
double exposure. The result is a soft, artistic impressionistic effect.

The thought of white-on-white occurred to me when I saw this beautiful white bloom. So, a white diffuser behind a white flower seemed like the right thing to do. I don't like to overdo it when it comes to sharpening flowers--it counteracts the soft dream-like feel. 

For this last example, I want to show what a huge difference a diffuser makes when photographing flora. They help create the feel of in-studio photography, even though the actual photographs were done in the middle of the day with flowers in their natural environments..

Here is that studio look.

Now, if you don't think a diffuser makes a big difference, notice how this same scene looks like in its natural form. Big difference, right?

Have fun photographing flora. Go against common rules and no-no's. Don't think of them as simply "flowers." Treat them as elegant artistic subjects, and look, not for the labels for which they're known, but for the shapes, colors, forms, and moods they offer--go beyond the obvious.

Loosen up and enjoy creating art from nature!