Plants and Flowers Photography Composition Tips
Besides going to botanical gardens to photograph exotic plants and flowers, I am often able to do it during regular street photography.
One thing to be mindful of is that plants in urban areas may not have pure nature in the background. But with creative framing, and experimenting with different vantage points, inappropriate backgrounds can be edited out or even incorporated into the image.
This beautiful bird of paradise flower was photographed alongside a beach walkway in Waikiki. The time was just before sunset so the flower was already in shade, which is the optimal lighting for flower and plant photography. The soft diffused light of open shade yields saturated colors.
I like beauty and the beast concepts and fortunately there are countless ways to create them, some subtle and some more in your face.
As I was walking along Waikiki Beach I noticed this perfect pink hibiscus flower but without a really good background to place behind her. But as I passed by the public toilet suddenly lined up in the backdrop. This beauty and the beast concept would definitely fall under the subtle category, I still like the juxtaposition of scent and smell here.
Aloha is for sale everywhere in Waikiki, and nothing epitomizes it more than plastic lei flowers sold at the local equivalent of 7/11 stores: ABC stores.
I enjoy different vantage points and admittedly I do not explore compositions shot while laying in the ground often enough. The lines the trunks and fronds of the palm tree create are tailor made for this type of framing.
What I looked out for when taking this photo was to place the trunks in such way that they draw diagonal lines which usually create a more dynamic and visually exciting composition.
As opposed to looking up as in the previous image, looking straight down while doing plant and flower photography can also yield interesting results. This plant was soaring for the sky so I decided to depict them as skyscrapers of Manhattan.
Just a still life style framing of a plant on the beach, focusing on the visually interesting juxtaposition of shapes. Once again, the plant is in open shade therefore the colors are saturated.
This is an intentionally out of focus and motion blurred photo of a beautiful pink flower that can be found on trees throughout Waikiki. These flowers were about 7 feet high, so with one hand I pulled the branch down and took this one handed image. There was not enough light this late during the afternoon to take a perfectly sharp, close-up flower photo but I didn’t mind that.
I could have come back on a sunny day and make an attempt at a more technically perfect picture. But I really liked the blurred result that complimented the color and shape of the flower petals thus creating a painting like photo.
Finally with vignette applied in Photoshop, this picture is one of my favorites from this day.
A powerful composition from a high vantage point. Even though everything is green here, the shapes are quite dominating which drew me to this plant on Waikiki Beach.
Banyan trees are excellent photography subject as they have so much character and wisdom. A low vantage point and wide angle approach were the obvious choices for me so proper dramatic perspective could be created. I wanted to have at least one powerful line leading the eyes from the bottom of the image which was achieved by drawing a diagonal line starting from the lower left corner.
The small plants at the foot of the tree were lucky details I could incorporate for contrasting color and texture.
Photographing this mighty and proud tree at Fort DeRussy Park in Waikiki gave me the rare chance to create a mirror effect/composition using a tree. The roots/trunk and branches interestingly mirrored each other in a very symmetric fashion.
The shape of the tree trunk is amazing and I am sure would yield many different compositions and moods throughout the day. I will definitely revisit this tree which is only 2 minutes fro my apartment.
Taking this picture of fallen leaves and snake-like roots was a fun exercise in creating a balanced and pleasing composition. There were many choices to consider: how wide angle to use, what to include and exclude, where in the frame a root should enter and exit so the eyes of the viewer are lead on a visual journey.
I shot a quick video to demonstrate how I arrived at this composition: Photography Tutorial: Best Compositions.
Another exercise to patiently explore subtle details and how to arrive at a balanced composition. The root of this tree reminded me of giant feet and the surrounding plants were just a special find for me visually speaking.
But of course all unnecessary elements had to be deducted from the composition. Here is another video to show how I photographed this image: Photography Tutorial: Balanced Compositions.
A low rock wall in Fort DeRussy Park that is being overgrown by plants was not a particularly eye catching vision from where I was walking, but I saw potential in the juxtaposition of lifeless and alive. This is reminiscent of Angkor Wat in Cambodia on a much smaller scale: how nature in time takes back structures built by men.
Banyan tree photographed in Fort DeRussy Park against the sun. I closed down the aperture as much as I could to control the uncontrollable: shooting straight into the sun. I do like the results as the photo conveys the mood of that walk in the park.
Not so much plant and flower photography but I will attach a few more images from that afternoon. Local Hawaiian kid doing BMX bike tricks on a war memorial in Fort DeRussy Park – which got some war/veterans sensitive tourist upset who was walking by.
An artistic stone fountain in Waikiki. Since the background cannot really be manipulated, I tried to place interesting shapes in the doughnut hole of the sculpture.
This is Fort DeRussy Park, the location for some of the above images. It is a minute from my apartment so it was just a matter of time I would walk outside and see this awesome double rainbow over Waikiki. These rainbows are often seen, mostly a couple of hours before sunset.