A while back, we featured the work of Amber Fite, whose wintery photos from Alaska are a tour-de-force in photography.
Well, Amber has done it again, this time with flowers as her subject.
I live in Southern California, so I don't have to suffer through a long winter like many of you do.
That being the case, I thought a feature on Amber's incredible flower photography would be a good way to get all you snowbound readers ready for spring!
One way that Amber makes her flower photography so unique is by using a very shallow depth of field.
In the example above, a very small portion of the pink flower is in sharp focus, while the rest of the frame is beautifully blurred.
And, again, in this photo, the same technique is used, however, the shallow depth of field casts not just the background into beautiful blur, but the foreground is nicely blurred as well.
The value of using such a shallow depth of field is that it brings our eyes directly to the point where Amber wants them to go.
By directing our attention to that specific point, the flower becomes an even stronger subject in the shot.
As with any kind of photo, images of flowers benefit from good light.
Often, waiting until there's some cloud cover is a good plan when photographing flowers because the clouds act like a giant diffuser.
The resulting light is flat and even, so you can avoid harsh shadowing and bright highlights in the photo.
That being said, even on days when there's no cloud cover, you can capture beautiful flower photos, like the one above.
In this case, the placement of the light was critical such that the sun's rays illuminated the flower while casting the rest of the scene in shadow.
The key here is to keep your eyes on the lookout for interesting light patterns like this so you can create more unique photos of flowers.
Of course, the best flower photos have small details that give the image more visual interest.
In this case, Amber timed the shot perfectly to capture a bee visiting these flowers.
Notice how the sharpest area of the photo is in the middle of the frame, right where the bee has landed. That was no accident!
In this shot, it isn't just the presence of the bee that creates an interesting dynamic in the photo.
Instead, the fact that we can see his little wings buzzing away is a fun detail.
Speaking of details, finding the right shooting angle can help you capture the intricacy of the flower.
In the photo above, notice the interesting star-shaped structure is inside the flower.
The shooting angle - which is neither too high or too low - is perfect for highlighting this feature.
Typically, you'd want to use the Rule of Thirds to compose a shot like this.
But as Amber demonstrates, breaking the rules and placing the subject smack in the middle of the frame resulted in a great shot.
Another common photography trick that we're taught to use is leading lines.
Although they're typically associated with landscape photography, as you can see in the image above, lines can be used in even the smallest of scenes.
The line created by the branch helps draw our eye from the nearest berries to the most distant berries, helping to give this shot better depth.
Lines don't have to be so obvious, though.
In the image above, the combination of the vertical line of the tree trunk and the shallow depth of field brings out attention to the delicate white flowers at the base of the tree.
Not every photo of a flower has to be a close-up, nor does it need to have a completely obscured background.
Much like the leading lines in the previous photos helped give them more depth, the fact that we can see the background in the photo above accomplishes the same thing.
Despite the gorgeous blur, you can perceive the more distant foliage in the midground and make out the shape of a mountain in the background.
This trick works even when the background isn't all that distant.
In this case, the waterfall and pond are both obvious, but because of the shallow depth of field, they don't compete with the yellow flowers for our attention.
Of course, you can get gorgeous results when you frame the shot with a nondescript background, too.
In this case, the darkness of the background contrasts beautifully with the light that illuminates this flower bud.
In this example, the tight framing on the sunflower combined with the nondescript background helps amplify the importance of the flower in the shot.
Note again how the Rule of Thirds has been broken to create a more compelling shot with the flower in the middle of the frame.
But don't think that to capture beautiful photos of flowers that they have to be in full bloom or have typical petals.
The wiry detail of this flower provides more than enough to delight our eyes.
In this photo, the puffy, cottonlike remains of these flowers adds a delicate touch to the shot.
And, again, we see how Amber used a very shallow depth of field to help direct our eyes to a specific spot in the photo.
When it comes down to it, beautiful flower photos really depends on the same tried-and-true techniques you need to capture any good photo.
Good lighting, appropriate depth of field, a strong subject, leading lines, an eye for composition, and some post-processing wizardry will take your photos (no matter the subject) to the next level.
Connect With Amber
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