Tips for Taking Great Smartphone Photos of Plants
Even though I consider myself an urban photographer, I recently found myself obtaining a great deal of pleasure from photographing plants.
I have been fascinated by plants for as long as I remember, but this has grown on to a whole different level when I got my own place and started buying tropical looking plants for decoration.
Luckily, since the cameras in our smartphones are getting better and better, we no longer need to drag our big DSLR camera on these relaxing strolls. This means that photographing plants and flowers has become more and more accessible for everyone; after all, everyone has a mobile phone!
Check out the photos below and you will soon be convinced of the many pleasures to be gained from photographing plants. I have also included a few useful tips to get you started.
Tip #1: Understand light
When shooting outdoors, the most important factor is to have enough natural light. ‘Enough’ is the key word here as there is no point in shooting in low light conditions just as there is no point in shooting in harsh sun light; it’s best to avoid the two extremes. Depending on the time of the day, the light has different qualities. It’s to do with the angle at which the sun hits the Earth, with the clouds adding their share to the equation too. I personally prefer overcast light when it comes to photographing greenery as the light is nicely balanced and you will have no patches of bright light or shades that will negatively interfere in your composition.
Tip #2: Look for patterns and textures
The beauty of nature is that leaves and flowers come in all sorts of colours and textures, and it’s up to us to capture the wonder of it all. Get close, set your focus on the leaves and experiment with the different angles. Move around your subject and explore the difference when changing your position. When doing so, a little extra patience will go a long way and will eventually result in the perfect composition. Sometimes I take about 5-7 photos of the same subject, slightly changing the position so that I get a far better chance of selecting the best one when choosing the keepers.
Tip #3: Get up close and personal
When first photographing plants, lots of people make the mistake of being too far away. If you don’t get really close to the plant, you often miss out on so much; detailed patterns, shades, colours, intricate details of the subject and things that you might not normally see. By getting as close as you can, you can focus entirely on the plant, blocking out any background objects or colours that might distract or clash. The focus of the shot will be only the plant, so give it the attention it deserves, particularly when it comes to the design elements. Fill your frame with all of the plant, making sure that you concentrate on the important aspects and any essential details (that would otherwise have gone entirely unnoticed).
Tip #4: Go the extra mile
Sometimes you may be looking to photograph plants that are not easily accessible. You may have to do a bit of climbing or gymnastic-type contortions before you can reach the plant or get the perfect shot. Don’t let this worry you. When you are passionate about photographing plants (the true beauty of nature) it is worthwhile looking a little silly at times. If you are lying on the floor or scaling walls and roofs to get that perfect shot, it is worth it. Don’t fret about looking a little crazy in public or maybe letting people think that you are eccentric or unconventional; just go for it! All that matters is the end result. After all, you are preserving forever a little piece of the natural world that normally would not last for long. What is looking exquisite today may be dying off in a short time, so catch your photos while you can.
There is much to learn about plant photography and your technique will improve as you go. Take a look at some of the shots that you did when you first started and compare them to what you are producing now and you will be surprised. Like all art forms, you need to let your personality through when you are working and maybe take those shots that others would miss or avoid. By making the most of unusual angles, the play of light, repetitive patterns, flowers while they are in full bloom and the many wonderful and unusual aspects of plants that are always there but often ignored, you will be adding to your portfolio and creating something of lasting beauty.
Whether your preference is wild plants and flowers or the ones found in parks, botanical gardens and greenhouses, make your photos well-prepared and exquisite. Photographing plants is all about getting ready to experience immense feelings of satisfaction at what you have finally created.