• Eight Tips to Help Your Wildflower Pictures

    May 24, 2016 | Brian Snyder
  • Wildflowers, they look beautiful along the road or a hiking trail in a park, but if they come near our lawns, look out, we throw a fit calling them a pest or weed that need eradicated.

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    The first weekend of May I participated in a wildflower workshop at Caesar Creek State Park in southern Ohio.  The workshop was held by Tom Croce and we had a small group which allowed Tom to give individual attention as needed.

    Wildflower Workshop_May072016_0024

    I have created pictures of flowers before but never really concentrated on wildflowers.  Usually I would photograph tulips, lilies, and cut flowers bought at the store.   Now, after the workshop, I have been noticing wildflowers everywhere.

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    Below are some tips to help get great wildflower pictures:

    • Use a tripod. This will help you set up your composition for multiple shots and remove any chance of camera movement.
    • Telephoto lens works great. Using a telephoto lens causes your depth-of-field to be shallower than a normal or wide-angle lens and this helps with blurred backgrounds.
    • Use a wired or remote cable release. Not having to touch the camera once it is set up on the tripod will remove your chance of camera movement during the exposure.
    • Use overcast or shade light when possible. The softer light will allow for more gradient tones in your pictures.  Bright sunlight can sometimes work, but often you will need to under-expose by several f/stops to keep certain colors from blowing out the details. I have had trouble with reds, yellows, and purples in the past.
    • Using live view, if your camera has that option, can be of assistance with low-angle compositions and pre-visualizing the depth-of-field at different apertures before taking the picture.
    • Try the “Shoot Through” method. You do this by placing another object, in this case a plant, between your camera lens and the subject.  Having your lens really close to the object will cause it to be soft, out of focus, and almost invisible, creating a softening around the sharp wildflower.
    • Use a wide-open to middle-range aperture. This gives you a shallower depth-of-field than if stopped down small.  Shallower depth-of-field helps with foreground and background distraction to be out of focus.
    • Watch your shutter speed. Shooting wildflowers means breezes may be blowing and your shutter speed will need to be 1/60th of a second or faster, probably faster.  Many times I had to raise my ISO to get the shutter speed I needed to stop any flower movement.

    Wildflower Workshop_May072016_0106  Wildflower Workshop_May072016_0070  Butterweed, Yellowtop, Cressleaf Groundsel, Floodplain Ragwort_050716_0010  Dwarf Larkspur_050716_0073  Wildflower Workshop_May072016_0030

    These are the major things that can help most anyone get better wildflower pictures, so go out while they are still blooming and practice your technique. Please posted any comments or questions in the Comment section below.

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