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Soft & diffuse lighting
Exposure settings for a white background
Camera position & floral arrangement
Using the sun for natural lighting
Gallery of floral images

Flower photography tools

Taking good quality pictures of flowers can seem intimidating.  However, there are some simple techniques which even amateur photographers can use to obtain dramatic results with minimal effort.   The following examples show the basic setup that should allow anyone to achieve results they can be proud of.

These images were all taken using an inexpensive two mega pixel digital camera.  To simplify our setup we used a large 30inch EZcube® to soften the shadows and lighting while providing a clean and clutter free background. We used Digital TableTop Studio Two-Light Set as the light source, equipped with true color daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs as the main light source.  (More details on the equipment can be found at the end of this page).

The keys to good flower photography are focus and diffuse lighting.
It is worth getting your camera's manual out to find out how to put the camera in "spot focus" mode.  The normal focus mode of most digital cameras is some sort of average focus mode.  That means that the camera will try to look at an area and base the focus on an area of what it sees.  It's better for close up photography to put the camera into spot focus mode, this will allow you to see exactly what the camera will  be focusing on.

Getting the camera to focus properly on the flowers entails some effort, but the results should be worth it. A final word on focus.  The above steps assume that you are using your camera's auto focus feature.

A couple of words about tripods and product photography. Use one. As you get closer to an object any motion of the camera is greatly magnified.  Even a surgeon probably doesn't  have hands steady enough to take a good product photo without using a tripod.  A sturdy tripod is essential for sharp images.

We mentioned above that the other key to good bouquet photography is the lighting.  You have probably already discovered that an on-camera flash does not lead to good flower photos.  Not only is the camera's flash too bright at such a close distance, but it is probably in the wrong position to actually light up the flowers properly.  We prefer daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs for lighting.  Not only do they provide nice natural colored light, but they produce very little heat so they can be left on for long photo sessions without over heating the flowers, the camera or the photographer. Compact fluorescent bulbs fit in standard light fixtures, so a simple adjustable pair of clamp-on lamps fitted with a daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulb makes an acceptable (and very low cost) light source for flower photography. (If you can't locate daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs, you can use a standard 100 watt light bulb.  However you will need to compensate for the yellowish color cast  it will produce.  You can compensate for the color either with your camera's white balance (WB) setting or with imaging software). To diffuse and soften the light and shadows we use the EZcube. By positioning the lights on either side of the EZcube, the light shines through the translucent fabric, evenly lighting the flowers and eliminating harsh shadows.

Now lets look at some lighting setups & specific situations.

An EZcube® with one light placed on either side works well
for most floral arrangements

In some cases, a boom light may be helpful to add
additional lighting from above.


Photographing a floral arrangement on white

One way to ensure you get the best exposure is to take at least three pictures. The first exposure use the default camera exposure setting of (0). The second, exposure increased by (+) to make the image lighter. For the third, exposure decrease (-) to make it darker.

  1. In the first image the exposure was set to E.V. -1.0. Its way too dark.

  2. The second image is set to the cameras default setting of E.V. 0. In this particualr scene, it's still too dark.

  3. In the third image, I raised up the E.V. to +1.0 for a lighter and brighter image.

E.V. -1.0  too dark E.V. (0) somewhat brighter

E.V. +1.0 bright enough


Camera & subject position determine the angle of view

Turn the bouquet to see which side you like best

While working with flowers in the EZcube®, I chose to insert a large piece of paper from an art supply store, on top of my sweep.  I did this because I did not want a mess if the water spilled from the vase onto my clean sweep.

  1. In the first image my camera and floral arrangement were aligned improperly, and the paper and tent seams would have shown up in my image.    You can adjust this some with software manipulation, but it's usually quicker to shoot it correctly in the first place.

  2. By repositioning the camera  lower, the seams of the paper and tent can now be hidden.

From this camera position, the paper and tent seams will show in my final image Proper positioning; no seams
will show in this image after it's cropped

Spin the arrangement to find
your favorite side.


Emphasize the beautiful flowers and not the vase

Turn the Bouquet to see which side you like best

Keeping a photo diary of successful set-ups and settings is a great idea. It will save you time in the long run, when you shoot similar set-ups down the road.

  1. In the first image the camera was parallel with the floral arrangement. This camera position shows more vase than flowers.

  2. By raising the tripod and moving it closer,  more of the bouquet can be seen in the image.

  3. By adjusting the tripod  and camera height a bit more, a nice compromise was found.

This camera position shows most
of the vase.
By raising the tripod, and moving it
closer, our new view shows more flowers.

A compromise. My favorite view shows a bit of each.


Photograph flowers outside using natural sunlight

New feature allows you to place the EZcube® over your flowers...

Natural sunlight can provide wonderful lighting. Just use a diffuser to soften the bright sunlight, and reduce harsh shadows.

  1. In the first image the bright sunlight produces very harsh, unflattering shadows

  2. The EZcubes new zippered opening allows you to place the EZcube right over flowers and shoot through the front.

  3. The results are natural soft light with softer shadows.

Bright sunlight produces harsh shadows ...new feature allows you to place the EZcube® right over flowers

...nice, soft diffused light.

A horizontal tripod can be useful for shooting straight down on the flowers

Even amateur photographers can obtain dramatic results with minimal effort.
images were cropped, but otherwise unaltered and were taken using an
 inexpensive 2 mega pixel camera.


Floral Photography Tools
Great for shooting Bouquets, Bonsai, Orchids or any other floral specimen

The EZcube's double zip top flap makes
for easy placement over flowers

EZcube® light tent
For soft, diffused lighting, softer shadows.

TableTopStudio lights

  • 10" Flood lights/stand mounts
  • Adjustable 6' stands

    Trumpet top bulbsTM

  • 5000K CFL
  • "daylight color"
  • cool to touch { plants won't wilt from heat}
  • 10,000 hr lamps

    Horizontal tripod
  • Max height = 71"
  • Arm length = 15"

    * Photoshop/Photoshop Elements
    * These items are sold separately
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