Shooting Flowers against the light

amber courses, Image, tutorial

You have probable heard that you should always shoot with the light behind you but there are occasions where you might want the light source in front of you. One of them may be when you are taking pictures of flowers – here’s why ….

It is can make an interesting photo to get the light showing through the flowers from behind since you get shadows reflected inside the flower from the sun shining through from the other side.

Best to show an example – here are two shots of flowers in my favourite London park…

In the first shot the light is behind me and directly onto the flowers.

flowers i n sunlight

tulips in direct light

In the second shot the light (the sun behind the tulips) filters through the flowers to the front, giving a softer and painterly effect. This image was stopped down by 0.7, taken at F11.


flower filtered light

example of filtered light

There are a few things to remember: because of the intensity of the light the colour (especially red) may go out of gamut (meaning the intensity of colour will lose you detail leaving a bright but flat red). What you need to do in this case is stop down the camera by about one stop ( experiment for the best) – this will give you more detail and the image can be further refined in software like Photoshop or Lightroom.

Also remember not to point your camera directly at the sun even through a viewfinder – word is this can damage your camera sensor (not verified practically by us) – as well as being bad for your eyes!