Showing that great flower photography can be done even on sunny days, Ray Scott takes you through a fast paced tutorial on how to position yourself and your camera to enable super backlit flower photos. Using backlighting can be a powerful, fun and creative way to take picture of foliage, in this case floral arrangements, on days where you might not normally see good results. When shooting flowers on bright days with lots of sunshine, images of flowers tend to look washed out and too bright. By positioning oneself so that the flowers are between the photographer and the sun allows for the sun’s rays to filter through the petals creating beautiful colour and texture while leaving a terrific sky as the background.
How to photograph flowers that are backlit is made easy with this tutorial on photographing flowers that are backlit.
When in studio or in the field Ray uses Canon gear. This is a choice he made years ago knowing that he was buying into a system that he could grow into. His go to camera is the Canon EOS 6D with the second camera being a Canon 5D. Lenses used are all L series f/4 except for the 50mm macro with extender. 16-35mm f/4L, 24-105mm f/4L, and 70-200mm f/4L round out the kit which is carried about with either a Lowepro Urban Reporter 250 messenger bag for city shooting or a Lowepro Sling Bag for landscape field work. While Ray does more camera handholding than before due to the image stabilization capabilities of his various lenses, he still is a believer in using his Manfrotto carbon fibre tripod. It’s light and it is sturdy.
Ray is a firm believer in exposing himself to as much photography and its history as possible. By looking at other people’s photos, he has gained a big appreciation of what this medium has to offer. Ray doesn’t think that “copying” someone else’s style is a good thing but rather feels that exposing oneself to others work can work as a teaching and inspirational tool. With this in mind, Ray has amassed a list of favorite photographers that he uses for inspiration. Some of these artistic photographers are Galen Rowell, Ansel Adams, Frans Lanting, Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Freeman Patterson, William Neill and Richard Avedon.
One of the playlists on this channel is called “neighbourhood photographer” which covers tutorials shot in urban and suburban areas. It’s always a challenge to see different things of interest when you’ve been to an area many times yet this is the best way to create good images. You need to return to familiar locations many times. To do so, Ray often drives by car to an area but when he really wants to cover ground yet see things more clearly, he uses his bicycle…bike…and explores the given place.
Whether shooting landscape, macro, portrait or abstract images, Ray always tries to be aware of his surroundings to capture the best pictures possible. Part of this workflow means he is very aware of composition and uses various tips, such as the rule of thirds, as a good starting point in composing. He also likes to break rules from time to time to add new effects to his photos. Being aware of angles, shadows, shapes, lines, textures, patterns and colours goes a long way to making good pictures. He is also a big believer in “getting out there” and shooting as much as possible as it is the only way to improve and flex one’s imagination. His message is it doesn’t matter if you do your photography in the city, suburbs country, mountains or by the sea, just make sure you do it and follow your artistic passion.
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most of the time when I make images of flowers I use an overcast day so that I have that soft diffuse light but on sunny days sometimes you can get some great shots by putting the flower between you and the Sun and getting back lit flowers hi I'm ray Scott and welcome to backlit flowers on visual art photography tutorials so in order to get started properly in flower photography we have to have flowers now we may not all have backyard gardens or rooftop gardens but we all have access to flowers if you live in the city try your local park or maybe even City Hall they usually have flowers around there are flowers everywhere if you live in the country a nothing better than a field of wildflowers let's get started as we go through this tutorial if you have any questions or comments please feel free to address those down below and feel free to subscribe as well now if you're shooting in midday like I was here the Sun is going to be up quite high in the sky so what you want to do is you want to get down very low to these flowers now in this particular case I was lying down flat on my stomach and I had my elbows up there my camera was propped up like that and I was shooting up now if you have an articulated view up LCD that's great because then you don't have to do that you can just swing it any way you want and shoot up and it makes life very easy but I don't have an articulated LCD screen so I was down on my stomach so I guess that's tip one get down very low especially if you're shooting in mid daylight which I was doing here now tip 2 and I've used this before in some of my other videos do not under any circumstances look at the Sun in the viewfinder if you have to compose in the viewfinder make sure that your eye is not looking directly at the Sun look anywhere else in the screen but don't look at the Sun you'll burn your retina better still of course use the LCD and then you won't have any problem that's what I was doing here using the LCD to compose and also to focus now for another tip if you like the sunburst effect that you see here use a small aperture like f-16 or f-22 and I was shooting this by the way with my wide-angle lens by 16 to 35 millimeter wide angle but I was shooting it at about 20 millimeters and you may or may not like the cloud effect sometimes you wait for the clouds to pass so you have a totally blue sky now the important thing here of course is exposure now the Sun is shooting down through the petals here and through the leaves but your meter wants to underexpose this because you're shooting into very very bright lights so you may want to use your exposure compensation dial and dial up an extra one to one and a half stops of light especially if you're shooting JPEGs now I was shooting raw so I made some adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw you can also do it in Lightroom or some other type of software but if you're shooting JPEGs you don't have that kind of flexibility so make sure that you make sure there's enough light down here so that it doesn't go completely black so maybe an extra stop of light and extra stop and a half should do it try it out now this one was taken at 55 millimeters the Sun is not in the picture but again I'm down very very low shooting up making sure that I get the light coming through and coming through the petals of the flowers and by the way you know you don't have to have the grande field of flowers or even a garden you can shoot you know a potted plant and you know something like that and this is not a potted plant but you can get that sort of effect this is shot at 200 millimeters alright so I had my 70 to 200 millimeter lens on at 200 millimetres everything else it was shot at a very shallow aperture of f/4 so that everything else in the background is blurry and all you see is the flower and the blue sky again the Sun coming through the petals 200 millimetres again different kind of flower daylily and that's the composition with the light coming through and for something just a little bit different sunburst in back of the flower so even for photographers who insist upon shooting on overcast cloudy even light type of days there is opportunity to shoot flowers on sunny days using backlighting I hope that gave you some ideas until next time I'm ray Scott reminding you it's not what you see it's how you see it and I'll see you soon