There are guidelines and techniques to photographing a single flower close-up. But like anything in photography, once you understand the “rules”, they are meant to be broken.
This beautiful white dahlia was showy. It was the size of a dinner plate and cost a fortune. I was determined to photograph it as much as I could. You will see in some of my images the bloom starts to look tired as the petals brown and shrivel.
The images below were taken with either a Canon 180mm or 100 mm macro lens.
Guideline #1: place the center of the flower off-center and fill the frame. I usually like to place the center of the bloom on the left-side of the image. There is no particular reason, perhaps because I read left-to-right. I fill the frame with the bloom, unless there is a beautiful complimentary background, and then I let the background peak through for a small portion of the frame.
Guideline #2: Don’t always follow Guideline #1. If I have a particularly complex and interesting bloom, I will sometimes place the center of the flower….dead center. For this dahlia, the petals. were sculptural, and almost had a sense of movement. I chose to fill the frame to keep the focus on the petals. Because this is a white dahlia, I made the image monochromatic, and then added a cool tone to the second image.
Guideline #3: Photograph the flower against an interesting background, and intentionally place the flower so the bloom and background are balanced. The subject is still the flower, but the two different backgrounds add a texture and contrast. I thought thebackground deserved more visual presence in the image than a mere “peek through”.
Three simple composition techniques to help jump start your creative juices.