how to turn boring flower photos into art,

One of the great joys of owning a camera is being able to take photos of everyday objects around you with very little effort. And with the advent of Spring in Australia, we are literally surrounded by blossoms of every colour, shape and arrangement to choose from.

Boring Photos

However, how many times have you snapped a photo of what appeared to be a stunning flower as perceived by the human eye, only to see the photo on your computer later – and sigh with disappointment.

Unfortunately it is a well-known fact that our eyes can see a far greater depth of field and range of colour than our cameras can at present, and that often leads to photos being later deleted when they fail to live up to our expectations.

The Answer

However, there is an answer to ensuring you can capture great images with every photoshoot, and it starts with a little forethought at the time of taking the photo. The image above is the end result of an image we snapped in our back yard on a very sunny Spring morning this week. But it started with taking the very ordinary image below.

how to turn boring flower photos into a work of art, flowers

Once the photo was taken we could see that while the flower was in the shade, the backlight was going to cause us problems unless we could boost the strength of the speedlight or LCD lights we had on hand. We decided to play with the exposure setting and found that as we changed the exposure, the leaves became almost transparent as the light was enhanced.

We finally settled on the following settings:

  • Manual mode using a 60mm macro lens
  • 1/40th shutter speed
  • f11 aperture
  •  ISO 400
  • spot metering
  • exposure dialled up to 1.5

Of course it is to be expected that photos taken by other people in different environments will differ to the above but we hope you can get the gist of what we are saying. By getting the right light and exposure settings we were left with a photo of a flower that was almost without leaves, other than the main spine of each leaf and a few straggly bits that could easily be removed in post processing.

So, once we had the photo we wanted, we popped back indoors and loaded the photo in Photoshop where it was a very simple task to:

  • remove the excess bits of greenery
  • brighten the shadows in the main part of the flower head
  • bring out the flower’s true colour
  • and add a coloured background.

To Photoshop Or Not To Photoshop

Now we know that sometimes even mentioning the word ‘Photoshop‘ gets some people upset, but we hope that in this instance, if you are of that mind, you can at least read on and see whether this is right for you. And remember, we are not suggesting for a moment that we actually took the top photo in-camera without any embellishment.

Of course it has been altered and we are fine with that. And the reason for that is simple. We are simply suggesting that by combining the use of good photography and Photoshop you can produce a final image, not easily achievable with a camera alone. And one that might rightfully be called fine art.

So why not try it and see if you can produce an image that you can be proud of and might even want to hang on your wall as a work of art. You are guaranteed that it will be an original, and very much talked about by your family and friends.

If you do try it, let us know how you go – we would love to see what you can produce.

Chris and Trev Barre

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How to turn boring flower photos into a work of art
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