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Tips for Photographing Wildflowers

 
Fleabane

 

Poet Alice Oswald said about the season: "Spring, when the earth tilts closer to the sun, runs a strict timetable of flowers." As the earth is renewing itself, many of us are finding more time to spend outside. One of those is Heather, the Mast Store photographer. When she ventures out on hikes, she loves to capture wildflower beauty she encounters along the way. This week's blog features some of her tips to help improve your photography. 

If you’re like me, your cellphone camera is likely the only camera you carry. Let’s face it, it’s lightweight, easy to use, and takes images close to that of a DSLR. Now of course you won’t be able to do everything that a DSLR can, but here are some tips that can help you get the most out of your cellphone camera.

Cutleaf ToothwortI have the iPhone 7, which takes beautiful images compared to earlier models. The portrait mode is one of my favorites for photographing people and wildflowers. It allows you to highlight your subject while having soft focus on the objects behind and around your subject. Now, we can’t let iPhones have all the fun, so there’s a way to create the same portrait mode with android devices. The Google Camera App can help. Follow this LINK to see the step-by-step process.

Another feature I find extremely helpful is the grid. The grid feature utilizes the rule of thirds. The grid is split into nine equal sized squares, which will help you compose your photo in a pleasing manner. Your subject or point of interest should fall along the grid lines or where they intersect to create a more balanced composition. This a photography rule that can be used with any subject, not just photographing wildflowers. To turn it on, go to Settings and choose Camera. For Android users, Google Camera also has this feature with few extras, the standard 3x3, a 4x4, the golden ratio, and a square.

Now to the meat and potatoes of photographing wildflowers.

Choose your photography day wisely. It’s best to take photos early in the morning, just before/near sunset, or on an overcast day. The soft light during these times enhances the color of the wildflowers without the harsh shadows that would be present during a very sunny afternoon. If your photography day is out of your control and a sunny mid-afternoon is your only option, don’t despair there’s a work around.  When I’m out and about, I make sure to carry a small daypack with me. There have been plenty of times when I’ve used the daypack to block the harsh light while still having plenty of light to get a great shot.

Spring BeautiesUse a tripod. If you’re like me, I have difficulty keeping the camera still while trying to take an image. Using a tripod helps to keep your cellphone stable and allows for hands-free photography. I like using the KobraTech tripod mount adapter which comes with a Bluetooth shutter release for iPhone and Android. Here's a LINK for the KobraTech tripod adapter, a great product that won’t break the bank.

Pay attention to the surroundings of your subject. Photographing wildflowers can be difficult when trying to set apart your subject. Often the background can be cluttered with busy shapes and colors. Of course, you want your focus to be on your wildflower. Here’s where portrait mode comes into play. With the soft-focus background, you draw more attention to your flower while blurring the distractions in the background.

Perspective! We can change the way we view our subject by changing our perspective. It's easy to fall into a rut of taking images from one angle. But just think of what might happen if you were to change it up by taking the same image from a lower angle or a higher angle. Move around, get low, stand tall, change it up. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Bring along your wildflower field guide. If you love photographing wildflowers, then you’ll most certainly love identifying what you discover. I always carry a wildflower guide with me just to see how many different varieties I can discover on my adventures. This is the GUIDE that I use. I purchased my copy at the link below.

BluetsNow let’s talk about some useful apps.  I love using the app Snapseed for in-phone editing. It’s a great tool for editing exposure, colors, creating masks, applying filters, and loads more. When first beginning, it can be a little overwhelming with all the choices but don’t be put off. If you ever feel lost, simply tap the question mark icon for help. It’s best to try out all the options until you get a better feel for how you’d like your images to look. Snapseed is available for both iPhone and Android. They also have a cool YouTube channel, so you can learn more about using the app to improve your photos. 

Another app favorite is VSCO. Available for both iPhone and Android, this app allows you to have near DLSR control with your cellphone camera. This LINK gives you a step-by-step tutorial for all VSCO options.

Shoot everyday. That is probably the best tip I can give you. The more you shoot, the more acquainted you become with your camera and the more subject matter you become comfortable shooting. And find a photography forum where you can interact with others. Facebook provides numerous opportunities to learn from others by observing their work and asking questions or by posting your own and asking for feedback.

Good luck...and get out there and snap away!

 

 

 

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