I hope this may offer some inspiration……
Why do we photograph flowers?
Not only do flowers have great emotional value and we as blokes can use them to our advantage as either peace offerings or as gifts to show our women how much we love and appreciate them. But, in photography, because of their bright, bold colours, they can also be used to our advantage as foreground elements to draw attention to a background subject. Such as in landscapes or mountainous scenes, in wedding photography bridal bouquets and corsages can be used to draw attention to the bridal party. Collectively, they can produce an overwhelming array of patterns and shapes, from filling the scene with acres of wildflowers to getting right in close and personal Macro shots of single flower heads.
To photograph flowers, you are only restricted by your imagination and of course the equipment you have at your disposal. But even some of the current digital point and shoot cameras will allow you to get in very close. But remember, the closer you get to your subject, the more susceptible you become, to, not only light loss and loss of depth of field, but also camera shake and even the best built-in anti-shake facilities are restricted to a degree, so a tripod is vital in these close-up situations. Including a remote shutter release, but if you don’t have one, you can get by with the camera’s timer facility.
One piece of equipment I couldn't do without whilst photographing flowers, is a little pair of scissors. They help with the removal of any dead leaves or petals so they can't spoil the shot.
If your camera is fitted with a polarizing filter, I would suggest you remove it, because it is not advisable to photograph flowers with a polarizer, as it tends to alter the natural colours of the flowers. if you are concerned about reflections from leaves, etc., in the background, simply alter your position.
It is important too, for obvious reasons, that there is no wind. The longer the flower stem, the more they are susceptible of movement. The manner in which you photograph flowers is virtually limitless and from whatever angle and/or viewpoint you choose.
From a mouse’s eye view, looking up the stems to an interest sky, to a bird’s eye view, looking down to the patterns they produce within the landscape. Or, to an ant’s eye view, (Macro photography) from a petal looking back at the stamens and deep down the throat of the flower.
Composition is also up to your imagination. It all depends on how you wish to portray your subject.
If, for instance, you are looking straight down onto the head of a daisy, keep the subject tight, but not too tight. So that all of the petals are in the frame, there are no distractive elements in the background and the inwardly pointing petals draw the viewer’s eye into the scene. But for other examples and ideas, I would advise you take a look at some gardening books to see how professional photographers portray their subjects.
There is no real best time of the day to photograph flowers, however, wind-wise I find it better, early to mid morning. It is preferred not to do it in the height of a bright, sunny day. It is far better if you have some light cloud cover. This diffuses the light source somewhat and allows for a more acceptable, even lighting effect on the subject, with very little or no contrasty shadows, which can act as unsavory, secondary interests and draw attention away from where you want it most. And as the surface of some flower petals can be smooth and shiny, bright sunlight can cause them to have unwanted, washed out areas. A reflector could be used to bounce light back into the shadow areas of the flower.
Please see "Reflectors on the cheap"
I said earlier that photographing flowers can be challenging, but also a very rewarding and addictive experience.
Wildflowers:If you are shooting wild flora for a photo competition, part of the competition rules probably state, they cannot include any cultivated or hybrid plants, only those which are growing in the wild and/or indigenous to a certain region.
It pays to thoroughly check the competition guidelines. Pretty much the same attention applies to wildflowers, but this is a little different to shooting in your own garden. You may have to drive for miles till you get to where your subjects are. And then, there could also be quite a bit of trekking involved, so you have to go prepared.
Check beforehand with your local tourist information service. It's amazing what they can inform you about your own locale, more than you'll ever know.
With brochures and leaflets that explain the best times of the year to view certain flowers and how accessible they are, And take the brochures with you, so you can identify which flower species is which.
What about the terrain? Is is it hilly or flat? Is it boggy or dry? You have to also ask these questions so that you will know what sort of equipment you need to take. That might not only include your general camera and bits and pieces, but what about a plastic ground sheet, in case you need to get down on the boggy ground? And your rubber wellies of course. You'll find some of the best blooms can be found in the most unreachable boggy places, accessible only to those who spent a little extra time in planning and organizing their trip.
You should also wear long trousers or jeans to guard against scratches, etc.
I have listed below, in order, some of the things you will probably remember to take, but also some that you might not normally consider. Especially if you are going a long way from home. But some you may not have anyway.
1. Camera and bag/backpack, usual lens and/or Macro, any other close-up gear, filters. You do not need a polarizer to shoot flowers. As mentioned above.
3. Remote shutter release
4. Check Media Card, or film
5. pre-charged batteries plus extras for.....
6. Flash unit
7. Fold-up reflector
8. Rubber boots or waders
11. Bottled water. You can quickly dehydrate wandering about in the sun.
12. Mobile phone..charged
13. A white handkerchief or tissues to cover and diffuse the flash
14. Small note book and pen
15. A small pair of scissors. (as mentioned above)
16. A roll of adhesive tape.