Make Art: Lighting for Floral Art Photography

Quick tutorial on Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs. Great way to diy art for your home decor.

Create, Photography, Uncategorized | March 10, 2017 | By

Howdy my friends!  I hope you are well! This post is a first for me in that it came about at the request of one of my fantabulous readers. She requested that I give a wee tutorial on how I photographed the Star Magnolia that I framed to put in my dining room. So, because I’m just that kind of gal, I’m going to show you how I photographed the magnolia and share my tips on lighting for Floral Art Photography (there has to be a better name, but I just can’t think of it!)

And this post almost has a Science Fair feel to it! It’s been few years since my kiddos were involved in one, and this brought back fond(?) memories.

Quick tutorial on Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs. Great way to diy art for your home decor.

And at the end of the day, it’s all about light…and where you put it.  In this case, I directed the light right on the face of the flower, but you could just as easily direct it to the backside if that’s what you prefer.

What you Need for your Floral Art Photography:

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  • Flower, of course! The color is up to you. I was able to find one last Star Magnolia, it’s about at the end of it’s blooming period.
  • Black Background. I use a black foam core tri-fold board, like you would use for a Science Fair.
  • Light…I have a light set that I used for the first image. But for this post, all the following images were taken without my light set. Instead, I used a just a simple clamp light, the kind you would use in your garage
  • Lightbulbs…this is where it got interesting. For my photo above, I used a bulb marketed for photography. It’s a CFL 50W bulb, equivalent to 250 watts and balanced for pure white light. However, for this post, I played around with several other bulbs to show you the different outcomes, a GE Energy Smart 20W CFL and a GE Reveal 75W Traditional BulbQuick tutorial on Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs. Great way to diy art for your home decor.
  • DSLR Camera, I use a Nikon 3300
  • 50mm Lens, I used an AF-S Nikkor 50mm. You don’t need a 50mm lens for all of the shots I took.
  • Tripod or something to keep your camera steady. I use a Vanguard Alta Pro

How To: Lighting for Floral Art Photography

  • Set up your space. I did this on my kitchen table, with the tri -fold board blocking the light from the window. 
  • All of my lights were off except for the bulb shining on the flower. 
  • I clipped the light on to a chair, but it needed a wee bit of support so I also rested it on the box of lightbulbs.
  • I placed the flower about 3.5 feet from the board. This is helpful so that you can really just light the flower and not the board.Quick tutorial on Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs. Great way to diy art for your home decor.
  • My camera was about 4-5 feet from the flower. If you are using a telephoto, your distance could be different.
  • I shot the flower on a couple of different settings using the 3 different lightbulbs. Every shot was at ISO 100 and automatic white balance. I set my focus so that the center (is that the stamen? the pistil?) was the focus target.Quick tutorial on Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs. Great way to diy art for your home decor.

Quick tutorial on Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs. Great way to diy art for your home decor.

Quick tutorial on Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs. Great way to diy art for your home decor.

Observations (there’s that Science Fair feeling):

  • Those very faint, little blue lines running to the right of the flower are from the light coming under the bulletin board. You could avoid that all together by putting a towel behind the bulletin board or edit it out in PhotoShopor LightroomAdobe Photoshop Lightroom 6.
  • While I love the true light that my 50W produces, it really did light up the back of the board more than the others. I was able to edit that out in Lightroom, but if you don’t have light room, you might want to push that board even farther back or try to angle the light such that it doesn’t hit the back of the board at all.
  • I was really surprised at how yellow the 25W CFL made the flower. I went back after seeing this and changed the white balance to fluorescent and it really wasn’t much different.
  • None of these images were edited at all…this is the way the came out of the camera with those settings. If you do have editing software you could punch up or down the white/black, change the contrast and do all sorts of things. 
  • I was pleasantly surprised at how the 75W Reveal bulb performed, especially at f5 for 1/40 seconds.  Here’s a closer look at that one, without any editing.Quick tutorial on Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs.

I hope this answered the question on this gives you some encouragement to get your camera out and start shooting, it’s one of those ‘practice makes perfect’ things. I am by no means a professional photographer, but would be glad to answer any questions you might have on what my experiences are.Quick tutorial on lighting for Floral Art Photography showing how to photograph against a black background with a comparison of the effects different bulbs. Great way to diy art for your home decor.

We’re very excited about our online gallery and shop at Society 6 – much of the artwork that you see on our pages is available for purchase as a print or on a variety of products – from coffee cups to phone cases. Click on the image below, browse around and have a look for some great gift ideas!

 

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Until next time,

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Tammy
    March 10, 2017

    Ok…I feel like such a photography geek. I absolutely loved this post.Thank you for sharing all the great information. I am always playing around with lighting and camera settings. My favorite shots are always food and smaller objects. Photographing a larger space overwhelms me. 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      March 11, 2017

      Hey there fellow Geek! I completely agree with you, so much easier focusing in on those smaller items where you can control the space a bit more. But the more we practice, the better we will get!

      Have you started packing yet?

      Have a great weekend.

      Hugs, Lynn

  2. Leave a Reply

    Mary - theboondocksblog
    March 13, 2017

    Lynn thanks for this tutorial. I don’t have a manual camera just an instant. But when I get one you can be sure I’ll be using all your great tips. I was interesting to see just how much the light bulb affects the image.

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      March 14, 2017

      I was really surprised about the difference in light bulbs! I will surely be able to save some money by using those Reveal bulbs instead of the expensive ‘photo quality’ bulbs.

      Have a great day my friend.

      Hugs, Lynn

  3. Leave a Reply

    Beverly
    March 23, 2017

    Your picture was lovely and your instructions so clear, thank-you for sharing all of your great insights!
    Beverly

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      March 26, 2017

      You are so very welcome Beverly. I am by no means an expert, but glad to show what worked for me.

      Many hugs!

      Lynn

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