Floral Photography 101

Taking photographs is a learning process, and I was asked by a reader to share information about how I do it. It’s taken a while to get a system that works for me. First you need a background, some people use fabric but I find it hard to keep from wrinkling, I use seamless background paper. You can get rolls in different colors (I use mainly Studio Gray and Super Black) in rolls that are 53″ wide by 12 yards long. They’re cheap and come in an easy to store cardboard box and they available at any camera shop like Ritz Camera, B&H Photo and even at Pearl Art stores. Choose neutral tones both dark and light (I have several shades of gray and black, different shades of white are good also). I have the complete set- up of metal stands and crossbar to put them on, but since my apartment is so small I rarely use that anymore. Instead I have a makeshift method that works in the small shared studio. My partner suspended a roll of white paper by strings from the bikes we have stored suspended from the ceiling. Sounds awful, and I am sure my inital reaction wasn’t great, but it does work quite well. I simply attach the roll of seamless paper to the end of the white paper roll with clips and clothespins and roll it down and off the old farm table. It’s quick and easy to use, so I can get my photos done without a lot of time wasted setting things up.

I do have studio lighting, and occasionally use it but I prefer natural lighting. This makes taking photos a bit trickier, but you don’t have to set up lots of lights. I have windows on two sides of the studio, facing north and west. The best indirect light is early in the morning and mid afternoon and late evening, so you should be aware of when the light is best in your space and take note. Sometimes I can’t time the light right so I try to use the shadows and direct light coming thru the windows.

Ikebana with red pepper and dried materials

I’ll follow this post up with some other hints that might help with photography. In the meantime feel free to ask questions!

  1 comment for “Floral Photography 101

  1. frederick
    September 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I love this post with the studio pictures and explanation of your technique.

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