Help with flower photos ...

jedirunner

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I took a few photos today of some flowers in the back yard, and need some help. I always seem to have a hard time with the solid-colored flowers, as they seem to be so easy to blow-out, or not get focus how I'd like.

I shot these manual mode, keeping specific aperture and shutter speed, and allowing auto-iso.

So here are a few. These are completely unprocessed other than:
  1. lens-corrected in lightroom 5
  2. zenfolio will only let me post the images for the somewhat scaled down versions

I'd like to find out:
  1. What post-processing adjustments would you do with these?
  2. What would you change compositionally (and why)?
  3. What obvious mistake(s) did I make while shooting?

1.
p1764572938-5.jpg


2.
p1746098932-5.jpg


Thanks for any tips you can pass along!

Kevin
 

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The light seems harsh. The out-of-focus bud at the back throws the composition off. The background, while fairly neutral, is still somewhat busy, and not necessarily complimentary.

Take along a large card of whatever color is appropriate, and place it behind the flower. Some distance behind will probably be best.
Use fill flash or scrim the sunlight, maybe both.
#1 is better because we can look right into the throat of the open flower.
 

hirejn

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The obvious mistakes would be overexposing, putting the flower right in the center, not waiting for or creating interesting light, not choosing a better background, choosing an uninteresting subject, not making it look any different than what we've already seen. Better composition, light and exposure are free improvements you can make. This is the beauty of photography. Skill is more valuable than equipment. If focus is a problem, go to manual. I also recommend a hand-held incident meter for perfect exposure, and of course understanding light and exposure to begin with. In manual mode, if the camera chooses ISO, it's still only a version of program. Manual shooting is controlling the full exposure triangle.
 

ronlane

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I think #1 could have used a diffuser (hand held one that comes in the 5-in-1 reflectors).

As far as LR adjustments, here is what I do. Lower the highlights and lower the shadows. Hold the alt key down while raising the whites until they start to show and then back down. Hold the alt key down while lowering the blacks until they start to show. Then I add some clarity and usually have to desaturate a little.

You could also play with contrast or the curves to see if they help you with what you are wanting.

Hope that helps.
 
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jedirunner

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The light seems harsh. The out-of-focus bud at the back throws the composition off. The background, while fairly neutral, is still somewhat busy, and not necessarily complimentary.

Take along a large card of whatever color is appropriate, and place it behind the flower. Some distance behind will probably be best.
Use fill flash or scrim the sunlight, maybe both.
#1 is better because we can look right into the throat of the open flower.

The obvious mistakes would be overexposing, putting the flower right in the center, not waiting for or creating interesting light, not choosing a better background, choosing an uninteresting subject, not making it look any different than what we've already seen. Better composition, light and exposure are free improvements you can make. This is the beauty of photography. Skill is more valuable than equipment. If focus is a problem, go to manual. I also recommend a hand-held incident meter for perfect exposure, and of course understanding light and exposure to begin with. In manual mode, if the camera chooses ISO, it's still only a version of program. Manual shooting is controlling the full exposure triangle.

I think #1 could have used a diffuser (hand held one that comes in the 5-in-1 reflectors).

As far as LR adjustments, here is what I do. Lower the highlights and lower the shadows. Hold the alt key down while raising the whites until they start to show and then back down. Hold the alt key down while lowering the blacks until they start to show. Then I add some clarity and usually have to desaturate a little.

You could also play with contrast or the curves to see if they help you with what you are wanting.

Hope that helps.

Those are great suggestions. I've wanted to play around with flower photography more, and those are all good suggestions at what some of the "intentional" things are that I sometimes leave out of my shots. I'll spend more time thinking and setting up for shots rather than just snapping.

Thanks again for the suggestions,

Kevin
 

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