I sat down near these irises to spend some time looking at them and practice taking better photos. I sat there so long a couple of large birds landed at the top of the trees right in front of me.
They were squawking loudly but I couldn’t see them. I wanted to, so I got up to try and spot them and of course I startled them. As they flew away I got a glimpse of one that was brown . . . I think it was a hawk. I have a friend who never believes me when I say I saw a hawk, but I’m pretty sure it was one.
I was using my Nikon DSLR with a kit lens and I was shooting in aperture priority. It was around 10 to 11 in the morning, and the light was slowly moving and landing on different parts of the flowers. The shade of the trees acted as a natural diffuser so the sunlight wouldn’t be too harsh on the delicate petals.
I’ve taken so many pictures of irises since they bloom every year in my yard and all over my neighborhood and I don’t want to get caught up taking the same boring pictures of the same flower, like in the photo below.
The light is flat, the background is boring and distracting, and I could have gotten closer to focus on a specific part of the flower.
3 Things to Remember When Photographing Flowers
Light – Flowers look better in a flattering, soft, light just like in portraiture. You can use a diffuser to soften the light on a bright day, clouds on an overcast day, or shade from a tree.
Background – Using a shallow depth of field helps to separate the beautiful flower from a potentially distracting background. Always be aware of the area all around your subject and decide if your background will add interest or take away interest.
Get Closer – Unless you’re taking a landscape photo of a field of poppies or bluebonnets, you should practice getting closer to the flower. It will help pull your viewer in closer to the subject and highlight unique details. You could also sprinkle water onto the flower and get close to the droplets and play around with the light.
If you’d like to know more about irises , I found this article at American Meadows interesting. I’d also like to share a video about light metering, by the Angry Photographer. I came across his stuff a while back, and this guy knows his stuff.