When photographing a flower to create a motif for your designs or illustrations, you may need to cheat a bit.
Manipulating An Iris For Photography
This lovely Iris is from my garden. It was a beautiful flower, but the composition wasn’t quite working for creating a motif for my designs. The top flowers were too bunched together and I wanted the bottom flower to have more separation from the stem. I needed to cheat a bit in both pre photography and post processing to get the look I wanted.
My Pre Photography Edits
- Not Shown: I’ve already snipped off dead flowers and checked for bugs.
- Top Flowers: I used a straight pin to separate the flowers from each other. (See below.)
- Bottom right flower: I had to slightly break the flower at the base to make it separate. Fortunately, the break is hidden by the spathe. (Yeah, I just looked that up. It’s the covering.)
My studio has a lot of natural light with a skylight and 2 windows, but I do use some flash fill. I just propped up a foam core board as a background. The iris is set into one of those foam block thingies that florists use. A piece of paper with a hole cut in it covers the foam block so the stem is easier to cut out in Photoshop. Note: it would be better to use a large sheet of paper to create a seamless effect, but I didn’t have any more large paper. This set up does the job since I’m cutting out the background anyway.
- Canon 7D
- 60mm Canon Macro
- f/11 , 1/6, ISO 100
- Tripod, mirror lock exposure.
- Natural light and bounced flash fill.
Post Photography Edits
The top flowers ended up being a bit too far apart, so I put the top right flower on a separate layer and used the free transform tool to change the angle. It’s a subtle adjustment, but I think it does look more natural. I had a tiny bit of editing to fill in a small gap made by the angle change.
Additional Photoshop Edits
I won’t go into detail in this post, but all of my plant part images that are intended for design use get my standard edits for what I call my Master.
- Overall contrast: I use a Levels Adjustment Layer to bring the background to as close to pure white without compromising the flower.
- Basic Edits: I zoom in and retouch out dust, bugs, etc.
- Background Cut-out: I use basic Photoshop selection tools and the Refine Edge feature to separate plant photographs from the white background. (I only do this for flower photography meant for designs. I don’t do this for textured floral photography.)
- Topaz Lab’s* Clarity: At least 90% of my images are edited with Topaz Lab’s* Clarity filter. Plants usually get one of the Macro presets tweaked.
After I make my Master, I then explore filters to give a more artistic feeling to the “illustration.” In an upcoming post, I’ll be showing some of those filter effects. I’ll leave you with a little teaser.
Topaz Lab’s* Filters is an affiliate link. I get a small commission from any sales resulting from a click from this site (at no extra cost to you.) I really do love these filters. Nearly all of my own images use one of these filters. Thank you for supporting the site!