16 Choose the best viewpoint
Portraits of people and animals often look more impressive when they've been taken from eye-level to the subject. The same can be applied to flower photography to great effect.
17 Kneesy does it
Because shooting flowers outdoors involves spending a lot of time on your knees and elbows, a gardener's mat becomes an essential piece of kit. If you plan on spending a lot of time taking flower pictures, it may end up being the best £5 you've ever spent.
18 Watch your backgrounds
The background that you choose to photograph a flower against can either make or break the final image. A plant photographed with a soft, uncluttered background can stand out; a distracting, messy background can easily ruin what could have been a great shot if you'd thought a bit more. Use longer lenses and wider focal lengths to minimise any distractions.
19 Behind the scenes
If you can't isolate a plant from background clutter, an easy solution is to place a sheet of card behind your subject: white will give it a botanical feel, while coloured sheets can be used to complement its colours.
20 Gardening tools
When photographing plants, you need to remove distractions to improve the final shot, but you won't be very popular if you start breaking plant stems or pulling flowers up. Clothes pegs or twine can be used to hold plants out of a shot without damaging them. Tweezers can also be useful for removing small, distracting items from your subject or the background.
21 Composing flower photos
Placing the subject slap-bang in the middle of the frame rarely works well and can result in a flat, boring image. Composing with the subject off-centre according to the rule of thirds can instantly give your images a professional look. Many beginners to flower photography tend to compose shots horizontally.
This may be because it's easier to hold and use the camera when held this way rather than turning it on its side to produce a vertical composition. However, more vertical images are used in magazines and books than horizontal ones so you should make the effort to shoot both formats if you'd like to see your efforts published!
You may be able to tell just by looking at your subject which composition will work best. As a rough guide, plants that are wider than they are tall will work as horizontal shots and those that are taller than they are wide will work as vertical shots. This is a rough guide - keep looking through the viewﬁnder as you move the camera to ﬁnd the best shot.
22 Plant portraits
Consider cropping right in on a plant to isolate details. Look for colour and detail and what it is that makes each subject unique: only by focusing on a plant's character - the sweep of a leaf, say, or the point of a petal - you'll be able to create an image that's more of a portrait of the plant than a standard shot.
23 Be wary of wind
A strong wind can be the flower photographer's worst enemy. Even a gentle breeze can cause long-stemmed plants to bob about, resulting in blurred images that are no use to anyone. You can use a strong wind to your advantage and record the movements of flowers and leaves to produce an artistic image but, generally, it's best to venture out when it's calm. Early mornings are usually better - and try using a clamp on long-stemmed plants to steady them between gusts.
24 Move indoors
If you don't have the luxury of being able to wait for a bright, overcast day with no wind, then you can always photograph indoors. Shooting indoors enables you to really concentrate on photography without worrying about your subject moving.
25 Just add water
It's possible to recreate the look of a dew-covered flower by careful use of a water spray. Adding a few drops of water can really help to bring your flower photographs to life.
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