Wildflower Photography Tips:-
for the non-photographer.
If you don’t have a camera or just didn’t bring it with you when you spot a wonderful wildflower, you can still take some great photos using a mobile phone camera. These wildflower photography tips will help you.
Our eyes are always drawn to the sharpest part of an image so consider carefully which part of the wildflower you want to be in focus.
Using a tripod is always helpful but they take time to set up. Shoot lots and lots of photographs because wildflowers are often so gentle that the slightest breeze sends the flowers bouncing and bobbing. Try to protect them from the wind, using your own body or get a friend to hold your jacket as a shield. This can be difficult and also sometimes means that the lighting direction becomes spoilt by your own shadow. You can always try to capture the flower in between the movements of the wind. Again, you will need to shoot lots and lots to stand the best chance of a sharp result.
A good background is essential because it helps to draw attention to the main subject of the flower. Often the best backgrounds are:-
1) a strong contrast colour from the flower
2) smooth and seamless
3) out of focus
You may need to look around to find the best bloom that with a background made up of one smooth colour which contrasts well with the flower. To get the out of focus background without the use of any specialist equipment or lenses, you simply need to maximise the distance between the flower and the background.
Creating flower portraits.
The perspective you choose when you take your photograph makes a big difference. If you stand directly above the flower (the most natural angle in many ways) you will be looking down on the flower and this psychologically diminishes feelings of friendliness. To create a more intimate and friendly feeling it will help to make the viewpoint eye to eye. This may mean lying down on wet grass or other unpleasant surfaces, but the results will be worth it.
Leaving no trace.
Be careful where you step. Stick to paths where possible.
Clean away seeds from your shoes and backpack before and after your hike. To help prevent the spread of invasive species.
Only clear dead vegetation from your backgrounds. Don’t remove anything that’s growing no matter how tempting.
Leaving no trace ensures that the next visitor can enjoy the same experience but importantly it greatly increases the chances for wildflowers to return again next year.
Make identification easier.
One of the most rewarding aspects of wildflower photography is learning how to identify them. When we can place a name on something, we feel more connected to it. To help with this process, take photographs from lots of different angles. Take photographs of the leaves, both the stem leaves and basal leaves as these may be different shapes or sizes. See how the leaves attach themselves to the stem, e.g. some will have stalks, some will clasp the stem. They may be arranged in directly opposite sides of the stem or be alternately placed on the stem. Look to see whether the stem or leaves have any hairs on them. If there are seed heads, photograph these for reference also as their shape and size are likely to prove important. All these details can help as you look through any wildflower guidebook. When you have identified your flower then label your photograph. If you are not sure what it is, then consider its specific location as that can also provide important clues. If you are stuck and would like some friendly help you can try posting it on #wildflowerhour onTwitter. Lots of keen experts are online between 8.00p.m. and 9.00p.m. on Sunday evenings to help if they can. I recommend posting your photos, alongside the question:- Can anyone help with ID? Don’t forget the hashtag #wildflowerhour.
I hope these simple wildflower photography tips will encourage you to capture the next beautiful or interesting wildflower that you see. Go on, give it a try.
Kim Mackenzy Andrews is a children’s book author, nature writer, photographer, and artist.
Find her Nature books for children on Amazon.
Wildlife articles for nature lovers: – patch reporting for the BBC Wildlife magazine.
Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children’s Author
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