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FLOWER PHOTO ART BY BEN UPHAM
FLOWER PHOTO ART ON FINE ART AMERICA BY BEN UPHAM
“YEAR ROUND FLOWER GARDEN”
THE HAMMOND TIMES
JULY 21, 1963
(Although my Flower Photography is all done digital these days, I found this vintage 1963 newspaper article to have many fine and interesting tips that might be taken advantage of. It’s fun to read old articles anyway)…
A collection of color photographs or slides of your best flowers will give you a long-lasting bouquet that you can show the year around or use in your garden planning when the snow is deep upon the ground.
The picture-taking process can toe particularly rewarding and, if you follow a few tested procedures it’s not difficult at all to get good results.
The first and most important step is the preparation of the flowers themselves. Just as we don one of our best outfits before stepping in front of a camera, so too we should see to it that our flowers are at their Sunday best before we start clicking.
DEAD LEAVES should be removed along with dead flowers, weeds, fading petals, and anything else that’s not part of the picture.
In trimming out dead blossoms, particularly on roses or other flowers where there is a relatively large stem, cut away from the camera position. If the cut stem of a rose shows, it becomes a distracting white dot in your picture. For a detailed clean-up of your flowers the best magician’s wand to use is a soft camel’s hair brush If you want your flower to open up a little bit more, brush the petals open gently with the brush. Your camel’s hair brush can also be used to brush any dust or rain spots away and it is the best possible way to put dew on your roses. Just dip the brush in water and shake it over the blossom. You get finer, more dew-like drops than you do by sprinkling water on by hand. If there is any spray residue or dust on the leaves, wash it off.
The good flower photographer is also very careful of what else appears in the picture along with their prize blooms. It is a good idea to clean up the ground as much as possible, to break up any large lumps of soil or, if you’re shooting horizontally, to remove any off-color leaves or blossoms which might intrude upon the picture.
THE SKY. Lawns and the bare earth provide natural back drops for your photographs or you may want to pick up some inexpensive poster boards at a stationery store. With a variety of colored boards, you will be able to select one that compliments the color of your flower and gives the final picture a piofessional touch as well.
There are two other props that mam flower photographers use. A square white cardboard covered on the reverse side with wrinkled aluminum foil is a tremendous help as a light reflector to throw light down into the blossom and to fill in shadow areas.
The white side of the cardboard will give you a diffused soft light; the aluminum side will give you a brighter more-contrasty light.
If a breeze is blowing a screen made out of a piece of burlap and two sticks is also handy to shelter your flowers and cut down on their movement.
FOR THE ACTUAL picture-taking, you can use any type of camera, whether it is a simple one with a sharp lens, an adjustable camera with a variety of shutter speeds and lens openings, or a versatile single lens reflex. Generally a camera which will make color slides is to be preferred because the slides themselves can be used in so many ways.
You don’t need a lot of accessory equipment, although a closeup lens is almost a necessity as well as a tripod or an improvised method of holding your camera still in the position you want it.
BY FOLLOWING the instructions packaged with your film and close-up lens you should be on your way to good flower photography but there are a couple of additional tips. One way to make sine you are at the right distance from the flower is to attach a piece string to your camera and then knot it at the distance indicated in the close-up lens instruction sheet. With the help of your string gauge, you can easily position your camera as you change from one flower to another.
Also, if your camera has a viewer at the top, remember that at short distances it may be pointing at another part of the picture than that which your lens is. This is known as parallax. It is better at this distance to align your flower visually with the center line of the camera.
In short, just as there is a knack to growing a prize flower, so also will experience and experimentation with various colored
backgrounds, different camera angles and varied lighting effects give you a green thumb in the field of flower photography.