Flowers are beautiful subjects to photograph. The question is, can our smartphones do it justice? In this time and age, literally everyone has a mobile or smartphone in their pocket and that’s great because it means that we can capture anything on-the-go. Though some still prefer using the professional DSLRs or compact cameras to take shots but if you don’t have a DSLR or compact camera with you, it is not going to do you any good. As the saying goes “The best camera is the one with you”. The big DSLRs are great but if it’s too big to fit into your bag or purse, you probably not going to carry with you. And if it is sitting in your house, you can’t take any pictures with it. That’s why it comes as no surprise, most of us whip out our mobiles or smartphones when we need to take a picture.
So, if you’re someone who loves taking shots of flowers on your phone, read on to get 16 tips for creative flower mobile photography.
Everyone might have different reasons for taking pictures of flowers. It could be because you receive a beautiful flower delivery in celebration of a special occasion and you want to document the memory, or it could be as simple as wanting to capture a shot of a beautiful wildflower you spotted along the road. Whether you take pictures of flowers/a flower bouquet to post on any of social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc), or for your own personal collection, one thing is for sure – You want your picture to look amazing.
It is not true that we can’t take amazing pictures without using a compact or DSLR camera. Today’s mobile cameras come with the dual 12-megapixel rear cameras on popular smartphone brands such as Apple’s newest iPhone X and Samsung’s Galaxy S9, some might even argue that smartphones are equivalent or if not, even better than using a compact camera to take such pictures. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also compact and digitally enhanced functions such as ISO, Aperture, White Balance, and Shutter Speed. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or feel like under-utilising these functions, but fret not, we are going to lay to rest these camera jargons and just give you easy-to-understand tips and methods to make your flower mobile photographs look so much more spectacular.
Keep in mind that it is not exactly the phone or brand or the price that matters, what matters is how we use the mobile camera. Just about any modern mobile camera take great pictures, but the truth is, it’s the person behind the lens that makes the images not the camera. With that, here are the 16 tips
1. Focus On Your Object
The basic knowhow of any photography is how you capture your object. The object in this case would be the flower or flowers – the blooms or bouquets that you want to capture in images.
Flowers look great and most of the time, they come in a bunch. “More’ is not necessarily better when taking pictures of flowers. You may be tempted to capture a shot of the entire bunch of flowers to ensure you don’t miss out any of its beauty but sometimes, choosing a main focus and just capturing that alone makes for a better picture.
Just like the two shots above, the flowers look gorgeous but when trying to use your phone from afar to capture the whole bunch fails to point people to the main focus. Whereas, if you zoom in and focus on the just a singular bunch or flower, the focus is clear, and you get to see the intricate details of the flower clearer.
A great way to do this on the smartphone would be by using Samsung’s selective focus mode or the iPhone’s portrait mode. Both are inbuilt camera functions that allow you to point and manually choose on a focus while it blurs out the background. Photography made easy, we say.
One other way you can do this is by using apps such as Snapseed to help you edit the shot after it’s been taken –
Object taken in symmetry looks beautiful. Same as flowers, by nature, flowers are created in symmetry. Human beings are born with an unexplained appreciation of symmetrical shapes. Symmetry has a calming effect on all of us.
3. Rule Of Odds
Flowers taken in odd quantity such as 1,3,5, etc are visually more appealing and pleasing. As such a minimalistic arrangement of 3 stalks of monster leaves placed into a vase would look stunning in front of a light or white backdrop.
Framing your image helps you isolate your object and draws viewers directly into the focus of the object in the picture.
5. Rules of Third
The Rule of Thirds is a type of off-center composition where the flowers are placed along a 3×3 grid, where the object is placed and focused where the grid crosses either on the off-centre right or off-centre left. This type of composition is a basic way to give structure to photographs and make them more appealing. Take a look at the illustration below:
6. Get your lighting right
Screenshot of #flowers on instagram
Lighting is key to taking great shots of flowers. Just by searching the hashtag #flowers on Instagram, you can see that the most popular shots of flowers are shots which are taken in natural lighting, with the flowers being illuminated by the natural sun or light. In order to get a creative yet great shot of the blooms, you have to first get the basic rights and one of the key aspects is good lighting. Take a look at the difference between the two pictures below – The one on the left was taken indoors with bad lighting whereas the one on the right was taken in natural lighting.
Of course, it doesn’t always mean that shots of flowers taken with indoor lighting is bad. Depending on the mood you’re going for, it could turn out great too. Generally, taking shots of flowers indoors might cause the flowers to look a tad duller. In comparison, shots of flowers which are taken outdoors look more vibrant and the colours are far more natural. Under good lighting, the bright colours of its petals stand out more, making the flowers look far more radiant.
7. Backgrounds are key to your composition
Create depth in your photo by choosing the right background. Even if the flowers are the main subject of the shot, the background still plays an important part in the composition of your shot. You need to choose the right décor and colour.
A small item in the background of the shot can affect the overall composition. Opt for plain backgrounds with colours such as white or black as it helps showcase your main focus – the flowers.
Take a shot like how how Sandy Beach (Above left) was taken
Alternatively, you can rely on using natural elements such as contrasting the flowers against the green grass or the blue sky. Go for contrasting backgrounds to make sure that your flowers don’t blend into its surroundings.
8. Play up the colours
Flowers are naturally colourful and vibrant in nature. Its’ colours are one of the main features which make them attractive and beautiful to photograph. Don’t be shy to play up the colours of the shot and make the colours pop even more.
How to do so? Increase the saturation of the colours of your shots using external apps! (Read on to tip #9 to find out which apps we recommend) Saturations makes all the difference but do remember not to overdo it by increasing it to a point where the colour of the flowers look artificial.
9. Nothing like a good filter
Applying a filter goes a long way. It doesn’t mean that the shot is bad but there’s nothing wrong with a little post-editing to help enhance the picture. Some of the apps to check out include Snapseed, VSCO Cam and even Huji Cam (if you like a good retro feel). Best part about these apps – They’re all free to use too!
Picture edited using VSCO cam which offers an array of free filters. You can also choose to unlock more filters by purchasing the set.
The picture above is edited using Snapseed which also offers tons of filters. They even have a range of vintage filters, if you’re into a softer look.
VSCO and Snapseed are apps that allow post-editing but if you’re up for a different experience, you could try out Huji Cam which allows you to take picture on the spot and get it processed like how an old film camera would. The only drawback is that similar to a film lomography camera, the effects are unpredictable! If you don’t like the filter it assigns, you have to retake the shot.
10. Get creative with your angles
Have you tried creating optical distortion using your do-it-your own filters for your smartphone? A cool idea to would be to paste a plastic cling wrap or a piece of transparent plastic over your smartphone’s camera.
The end result? A dreamy and romantic picture of your flowers. This inexpensive yet innovative method not only adds a hint of mystery to the picture but also gives it a softer feel. Make the shot even more interesting by choosing a specific portion of the bouquet or flower to picture.
A typical frontal view shot of a flower is safe, but how about changing your angle? Adopting a different angle allows you to view the flower differently. Instead of just sticking to the norm, be daring and try out new styles. You might be surprised with what you might capture!
Some other angles you could consider include taking shots from the bottom, top down, through a mirror or even playing with shadows.
Break the rules and be creative with how you frame your object in the image. Below is a creative way how to use negative space to capture you object more interestingly.
Another way is to have the foreground blurred and the object in focused in the background. You can do this vise versa too.
Another popular way of taking photos of flowers in mobile photography or iphone photography or smartphone photography are close up shots – they show beautiful intricate details of the object.
11. Style the shot by using props
If you’re the sort that doesn’t want basic boring shots, how about utilizing props such as baskets or even objects around you such as books to beautify your shot?
Not only do they help contextualise your picture, using the right props help complement the chosen flowers. Choose props with colours that go well with the shades of the flowers. Also, remember that the composition is still key – retain the focus on the flowers and do not let your props steal the limelight.
12. Add on a lens to your smartphone
Smartphones are versatile. The great thing about it is not just the number of modes or camera function it has but that it’s easy to also add on external lenses. These include wide-angled or fisheye lenses.
These lenses are especially helpful when you are limited by the space around you or when your phone just doesn’t allow you to get closer to the flower.
Fisheye lenses are also a great way to get a different perspective and change the depth of the shot.
13. Taking flowers with models
Most of us are either at the receiving or giving end of bouquets/flowers. When you gift or receive a lovely bouquet of flowers, it’s natural to want to capture the moment or bouquet which made you smile. How do you take a shot of your loved ones or position your own shot to make it look flattering?
The focus should still be on the bouquet which is what the two shots above illustrate. Keep the background minimal. Poses should be kept simple too – looking down or smiling at the bouquet are some of our recommendations. Or you can keep it direct and hold the bouquet while smiling! The number of poses is endless.
Bonus tip: How do you take a great picture of a bouquet without a human subject?
The answer is simple, focus on the bouquet and position it against a plain background. The texture of the background can be different, (Wood/ plain wall/ Marble floor etc) but the bouquet should be the focus. Some examples are shown above.
14. Time your shoots
Sunny and bright, or rainy and gloomy. You decide. No matter the choice, remember to time your shoots right to get the correct effect you wanted.
Different settings affect the stylistic element of the shot. If you opt to use your phone and take pictures of the flowers after the rain, you would be able to capture the raindrops on the petals or leaves. For shots taken under the bright sun, you would be able to play with the light rays and position your shot accordingly.
15. Know your flowers
To take amazing shots of your blooms – you might have to do a little research on them first as this might affect the styling of your shots.
For example, roses go great with some baby breath flowers as fillers as the white juxtaposes against the crimson red petals. Likewise, for hydrangeas, know that they come in a stalk so plan your shots accordingly.
16. Hold your phone steady and don’t forget to clean that lens!
This last tip might seem like a given but there’s no way you can get a great clean picture of flowers without having a clean lens and a pair of steady hands!
Do remember that it’s easy for your phone lens to get dirty, so bring a lens cleaning cloth out and remember to wipe it before you take a shot! This little action goes a long way in ensuring that you don’t get random dirt shots showing up on your otherwise perfect picture.
Same rule applies for having steady hands! It’s easy to shake while using your smartphone to snap a picture due to its small size. Shaky shots are less common when handling a DSLR and camera as the weight and frame allows photographers to have a more stable grip. Also, remember to double check your shot!
Have fun and always try different methods
Flowers are amazing subjects to photograph. And with smartphones, you don’t have a reason not to. There’s a quote which goes “Take time to smell the flowers”.
Here at 24Hrs City Florist, we also believe in not just smelling the flowers but also appreciating them, which could include taking pictures of them to remember their beauty after they wither, or by gifting them to others.
A photograph lasts forever, so make sure that the next one you take of flowers using your smartphone is one worth keeping! Most importantly, remember to have fun in the process and never stop trying to get that perfect shot.
Written by: Elizabeth Tan