August 02, 2023
For the past three years, I have been photographing flowers indoors at home. Photographing flowers at home is an excellent way to take pictures of beautiful flowers. Photographing flowers indoors is not weather dependent and can be done anytime of the day especially using the natural light of a window in your home.
Sometimes photographing flowers outside can be very difficult as the weather, such as wind, rain or limited lighting, dictates your ability as to when you can photograph flowers outside. However, when photographing flowers indoors you can dictate your own timetable and photograph when you want to. Photographing cut flowers or potted flowers in your own space in your own home allows a lot flexibility.
I start with what I call “my portable photography studio.” My portable photography studio includes a small foldable rectangle table, LED light, remote shutter release on a lanyard, bubble level, and an assortment of small portable backgrounds and props. My photo equipment includes my Vanguard tripod with Vanguard tripod and ball head, Canon EOS RP mirrorless camera with my Tamron. 19-400mm lens with R-adapter.
Behind the Scenes
Behind the scenes as Lori A Cash uses her mobile photography studio to photograph flowers indoors in her home using natural light from her big picture window in Hampton, Virginia.
Using natural light to photograph your flowers is the best way to illuminate your flower subject. It is best to look for a big window or patio doors, as the greater your source of natural light, the more light there will be illuminate your subject. Also, take in consideration which way the window faces in your home as this will dictate your natural lighting and what time of day would be best to photograph flowers using the direct sunlight from your window. Another thing to consider with your source of natural light is how you want to position your subject, camera and self to the natural light source.
Photographing flowers with a shallow depth of field (DOF) is essential in outdoor photography as you need to create a blurred background which makes the flower stand out. However, I find photographing flowers inside with control over my background choices lets me be able to use a smaller aperture like f/16 to f/22. I must admit that for all of my indoor flower photography, I do use aperture priority because I always use a tripod and do not worried to much about shutter speed. But if the situation dictated, I would switch to manual camera mode so I could control the shutter speed, ISO and aperture.
Manual focus is strongly suggested for flower photography, especially for macro or close-up photography, and in manual mode, you need to set the ISO, aperture and shutter speed on your camera settings. However, I often use autofocus and priority mode. Although when dictated, I may use manual focus.
I like to shoot in a range of apertures to make sure I capture the image I was envisioning. Since I use a tripod and shutter release, I shoot with the lowest ISO which is either ISO 100 or 200, and sometimes I may increase my ISO to 800 depending on my natural lighting situation.
Use different compositions and perspectives such as the rule of thirds, leading lines and fill your frame with your subject. One of my favorite styles of photographing flowers is to use a single flower, and I will shoot this flower in various angles and perspectives to give me a unique capture of the flower. However, there are times when I like to photograph bouquets or multiple flowers.
With my indoor photography, I have moved away from using a standard flash mounted on or off the camera to using a photo LED light that I can hand hold and move around to find just the right angle for my subject. But make sure to only use the light to shine on your subject and not the background. The LED light I use is a 42 light with two settings for low and high. The LED light just gives so much more control over your lighting of your flowers. And using my small photo LED light with the natural lighting is all that I need.
As part of my portable photography studio, I have purchased several types of backgrounds with different colors and different textures or patterns that are double sided with two different backgrounds on one sheet that are sized 16.5 X 26 inches. I clip these backgrounds to foam core boards to use as backgrounds. Also, I have discovered black felt works really well as a background. Having a variety of different backgrounds or props to utilize when photographing flowers will give you many different feels to your flower images.
Also, reflective cardboards with white, black, and silver sides are very useful if using glass vases in your shots. The reflector boards will help eliminate reflections, shadows, and soften the light on your flowers.
I recommend using a macro lens or a telephoto lens using a variety of apertures. Using a wide-open aperture will separate your flower from the background while using a smaller aperture will give you more detail in your flower. I tend to use a smaller aperture like f/16 to f/22 more with inside flower photography but sometimes will use a larger aperture on occasion all depending on the feel of the image I am trying to create.
A great benefit to using a telephoto zoom lens is that you can zoom in for a tighter image of your flower or zoom out to capture more of the flower subject without moving from your spot. I would suggest using single point autofocus so that you can move the focusing point around to your desired location on your flower subject.
I mainly use my Tamron 18-400m f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens with my EF-R adapter to photograph flowers in my home. I do have a macro lens, but I have really been enjoying using the Tamron 18-400mm as it gives me so much more flexibility when photographing flowers.
Using various techniques for photographing flowers indoors provides me a lot of creativity in creating my flower images. My most favorite technique is to use a water bottle and spray water on the petals of the flower(s) to recreate dew or rain droplets. I really love this look, but I try not to do this for every photo I take of flowers inside my home. Also, I have a variety of vases to use if wanting to take photos of flowers in vases. Often, I will take my close-up photos of the flowers in a vase even if I just have one flower in the vase to take pictures of. In addition, a clip is useful if you want to clip a single flower to photograph instead of using a vase.
Another technique is to create a feel that your flower photo was taken outside. To create this feel, you place another flower in a vase or a potted flower behind your main flower subject to use as your background. Like with flower photography outside, you would use a very wide aperture to blur the flower in the background and keep your focus on the front flower as your main subject.
My Final thoughts: The best benefit for photographing flowers indoors is that you can always find flowers as your subject by purchasing flowers at a local store or garden center or even flowers grown in your own yard. Plus, photographing flowers close up inside gives you plenty of opportunities to practice and develop your flower skills so when you are outside at a park, botanical garden or in a field of flowers you can use these skills you have developed from your experience photographing flowers inside your home.
Check out this other article I wrote on photographing sunflower fields. See the link below.
Thank you for reading my Field Notes Blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.
Let’s preserve and conserve our natural world.
All the best,
Copyright © 2023 Lori A Cash Conservation Photography, LLC