3 Quick Tips for Photographing Your Flowers (so they can last forever!)

photo: Alexis the Greek

What’s better than some fresh blooms, am I right? They instantly perk up a kitchen, dining room, or end table and make everything in life seem a little more hopeful. And they can perk up your Instagram grid, too, if you want them to “last” more than 5-7 days!

But flowers can be a little tricky to capture in photos… so here are 3 quick tips for perfecting those flower shots!  

Tip #1: Know whether your flowers are the subject or a prop.

The cleanest, most pro photos give the viewer’s eyes a clear place to “land.” This place will tell the viewer what the photo is about--the story of the image.

When you’re shooting with flowers, you should know before you snap the shot whether the flowers are that place you want the viewer’s eyes to land, or if the flowers are just one element in an overarching story. If you don’t know, chances are, your viewer won’t know either, and the arrangement ends up being a distracting element that confuses the viewer.

If you DO want the flowers to be where your viewer’s eyes land first, then they should be front and center in your photos. It’s also a good idea for them to be the most beautiful or most stylized part of the picture. For instance, if they’re the centerpiece on the table at a big gathering, you want to take a photo of them when the table is set, but before all the food is on the table (or your guests’ plates), because once there’s food on the table, there could be so much going on your viewer won’t know where to look first. Similarly, if you want a photo of you holding the flowers, you might zero the image right in on the flowers, even going so far as to not include your face in the frame.

If you DON’T want the flowers to be where your viewer’s eyes go first, then it can be a good idea to have your flowers set a bit back in your photo, perhaps far enough into the background that they’re out of focus a bit, and/or to have the arrangement not fully visible inside of the frame; i.e., poking in from one edge of the picture, but not fully visible. This will tell your viewer that they are part of the scenery, but the main character of the story is elsewhere.

Tip #2: If you’re shooting a flower wrap, pull the flowers up to the top and tilt the wrap toward the camera.

Nothing is more elegant or Instagram-worthy than a wrap of freshly-cut flowers. They’re one of the themes on Instagram that has transcended time and trends--everyone loves a good flower wrap!

photo: Alexis the Greek

But truth be told, sometimes we don’t capture flower wraps for all their true potential. Why? Because the flowers slide down into their paper, and then in our photos all we see is the wrap, not the flowers! But this problem is easily remedied:

Before you start shooting, push the stems up from the bottom while gently tugging the wrap downward. Do this for about 2-3 inches until the flowers start to “loosen up” inside their wrap. This will give you the chance to see any blooms that had sunk so low in the wrap you forgot they were there, and you can wriggle them back up to the top and into view. 

Then, when you’re shooting, remember to tilt the wrap toward the camera so that the flowers are facing out. Without this step, you’ll get the side of the wrap, which is almost entirely paper, and the camera won’t catch all the color and beauty of your blooms.

Tip #3: Don’t hesitate to remove anything that’s distracting or wilting. You can always put it back after the photo is taken.

Sometimes you forget to snap a photo when you first get home with the flowers and a stem or two is looking a little sad by the time you go to photograph them. Other times, there might be a leaf or a particularly “loud” flower that’s taking all the attention in your images. This is usually an easy fix!

You can pluck off wilting petals from otherwise beautiful flowers, pull your focal flower up and out a bit so it’s the clear star, or even remove a flower or bit of greenery to put in fresh water while you take your shots. No one is going to miss what they never knew was there, right?

photo: Alexis the Greek

Of course, if you’re worried about wilting flowers, snap your shots when the wrap or arrangement is freshest, and if that’s not possible, remember to give your flowers fresh water each morning, keep them in a cool spot away from direct sunlight or blowing air, and just snap your photos when you have a good opportunity!

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