Photographing Daffodils

This time last year I wrote about photographing bluebells, so with the peak of the daffodil season about to happen here on Islay, here is a little guide to these yellow flowers.

The options available are whether to shoot a single flower head or a bloom and whether that should be done inside or outside. Shooting outside will give you a natural background and possibly easier if you are going for a full bloom depending on the inside space and lighting you have available.

Shooting outside.

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So the upsides are that a natural or even a blue sky can be the backdrop, as with any garden photography, a simple clean background will always work best. The downside with working outdoors will be weather conditions, a very still day is needed to stop the plants moving in the wind plus you could be working on your hands and knees unless you can find some at a height.If shooting a bloom outside, finding a perfect set of flowers could be a challenge.

Shooting Indoors.

6935When working indoors, without a lot of hard work then natural backgrounds are out of the question, that’s the negative of this method.

On the plus side then controlling lighting and backgrounds along with choosing only perfect or near perfect plants are possible. There are of course no weather issues either!

Exposure and focus are critical for any close up work, for exposure always expose for the highlights rather than the shadows. Depending on the subject to camera distance then a very small aperture will be needed to give even a minimal amount of DOF. Nowadays with high quality available from current DSLR’s at high ISO’s especially full frame cameras then a small aperture and a higher shutter speed are easily possible. The above picture was lit be a single daylight balanced LED panel to the left of the camera (to replicate the sun) against a black background, there was no other lighting used in the shot.

My experience of both Canon and Nikon macro lenses means that only manual focus should be used if possible. AF will never give the sharpest results.

A useful accessory that can be used is a field monitor, this makes manual focussing much easier and also composition if you happen to be on your hands and knees. The picture below shows the set up for the picture above.

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