Week 14: Getting an even light for floral flatlay

Canon 6D, 50mm, ISO 100, f16, 1/13 sec, tripod (+1.5 exposure compensation)

Canon 6D, 50mm, ISO 100, f16, 1/13 sec, tripod (+1.5 exposure compensation)

When you want to fill the frame with lush peonies, these are 3 things you need to watch out for:

1. your camera Thinks all flowers are grey

On aperture priority, this is the camera's auto exposure

On aperture priority, this is the camera's auto exposure

The camera exposes everything for a mid-grey tone. The camera doesn't know you are shooting white flowers - it assumes they are mid-grey, so it calculates its exposure for a mid-grey flower. To override this, either dial in plus 1-2 stops of exposure compensation, or shoot on manual mode.


Learn exactly how the camera exposes, in my free workshop

If you have never heard about the mid-grey thing before, sign up for my free online workshop which explains it all in a step by step, entirely understandable manner. You'll never have photos that are too dark again:


2. Without a reflector the image will have uneven light

The lighting set up here is very simple: indirect natural daylight coming from above the peonies (to the right in the image above). Notice the reflector propped up against the tripod legs: it is a sheet of 5mm foamcore and reflects enough light back onto the near peonies to even out the light. 

Without a reflector the near peonies are in the shade of the peonies immediately above them

Without a reflector the near peonies are in the shade of the peonies immediately above them

3. If your camera is not perfectly parallel to the table the flowers will seem to slope

Can you tell that the camera was pointing too much towards the bottom of the frame, and wasn't perfectly parallel to the peonies?

Can you tell that the camera was pointing too much towards the bottom of the frame, and wasn't perfectly parallel to the peonies?


This post is one in a series. Read the rest here: