New here, looking for tips.

sumnerfanApril 23, 2011

I'm currently remodeling my kitchen and I have one wall that can hold art. I decided it would be fun to take pictures of flora in my area and use them in a gallery style on the wall. I've got what I consider to be a couple usable photos, but I need some tips on how to photograph flowers and leaves in the best way to create interesting wall art. Here are some of my photos. Please let me know what you think and what I could do to improve my pictures.

Thanks.

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sumnerfan

gosh, I guess I should have resized.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 1:21AM
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alisande

I like your idea for wall decor, but most of these are terribly out of focus. It's okay to have some of the shot unfocused, but something in the picture should be crisp and clear.

A common mistake is to shoot in the noonday sun, but you didn't do this. Too much sun results in too much contrast, but I think your pics could use a little contrast. I'll be interested to see what input others have to offer.

Pictures #6 and 7 are the only two I would consider using, and even these could do with some help. Questions:

What camera/lens are you using?

What kind of post processing do you do?

I did a couple of minor things to photo #7, and I think it looks better. But it's not my wall we're decorating, so a lot depends on what looks good to you. :-)

Here's another version:

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:43AM
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sumnerfan

I'm just using my dinky cannon powershot. I really know nothing about photography. I don't even know what post-processing is. Please educate me.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 2:19PM
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alisande

Post-processing is making adjustments to an image with the goal of improving it. I use Photoshop Elements.

I'm not familiar with Canon Powershots, but I'm guessing they're point-and-shoot cameras. I suspect you're getting too close to your subject, making it impossible for the camera to focus properly, or the images are blurred from camera shake, or both.

If you have a viewfinder on your camera, try using that instead of holding the camera out in front of you. If the camera is braced against your face, it tends to shake less. If you have a closeup (macro) setting on your camera (usually identified with a flower symbol), try using that. Otherwise, get farther away from your subject. You can always crop it later. Cropping is also part of post-processing.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 2:29PM
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sumnerfan

Thanks. You are right. My camera is point and shoot. You are also right in that I was using the screen instead of the view finder. I was getting very close to the flowers because they are so small. I didn't think I could zoom in that much later and still be able to print them in larger format pictures.

I'll take some new pictures tomorrow and see what I can do with them. I don't have photoshop; I've just been using the tools in photobucket.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:01PM
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alisande

How big do you want to print them?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:43PM
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susieq07

Try downloading a free photo editing software, I use this one, luv it, you can do all kinds of things, like sharpen a fuzzy photo, or lighten a dark one etc. here's link to download:it's always FREE (photoscape) Enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: download

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 3:31PM
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mongoct

A lot of lenses have a minimum focal distance...the lens can't focus on anything closer than 5", or 18", or 3', from the lens.

Point-and-shoots can usually get close, but check out the specifications of you camera to see how close.

Generally, standing back further and zooming in, or standing back further, taking a wider shot, then cropping, will give satisfactory results when simply putting the lens right up to the subject won't.

One other thing is to see if your camera has a "macro" setting. Macro generally allows you to snug right up to the subject.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 2:22PM
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lazypup

Sumnerfan,,, Under the broad heading of Power Shot Canon offers a number of different models, all with differing user definable controls...If you could tell us the model number of your camera we could look up the specs and give you better information.

Having said that, there are some basic things you can try now that may greatly improve your results.

For shooting flowers, rather than move in close try moving back and zooming your lens in to get the composition your looking for. By zooming your lens to a longer focal length it will effectively shorten the depth of field.

Now allow me to explain depth of field and why you might want to do this. When a lens is focused on a finite point the depth of field is the distance in front of and behind the subject that will remain in focus. For shooting a scenic you want the maximum depth of field so everything from the subject to the horizon will remain in focus, but when you want to concentrate the attention on a specific thing such as a flower you want to minimize the depth of field so many of the leaves or other objects in the background will blur into a soft pastel background, rather than attract the attention of the eye.

Next, get yourself a tripod. Even a light inexpensive tripod will be adequate for your camera, but it will provide rigid support and help eliminate out of focus conditions or fuzziness in the photo caused my minor camera shake during the exposure

Pay very close attention to the wind conditions. You cannot expect to get a good shot if the flower is moving.

Now here is a trick for shooting flowers that you will never find in a photography book. Generally the wind starts blowing about 10am and will almost quite about 6pm in summer. As it was mentioned before, if you shoot during mid day you will get very harsh lighting and contrast conditions, but if you can plan to shoot before 10am and after 6pm, you will get a softer lighting condition and the wind is not moving your subject as much.

Now I know many people will say I am crazy about the wind, but I read that in a fly fishing book back in the early 70's and I have been watching it every day since and from my experience we generally have little to no wind before 10am and if it is windy before 10am you can expect that day to be excessively windy. The exception to this rule is near the seacoast where the wind blows 24/7.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 1:32AM
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