Week 13: Floral swing

XT-1, 100mm, f2.8, 1/210, ISO 400 (I would have preferred lower ISO but it was windy so I couldn't risk a longer shutter speed)

XT-1, 100mm, f2.8, 1/210, ISO 400 (I would have preferred lower ISO but it was windy so I couldn't risk a longer shutter speed)

Some things you just can't plan. But when life serves you up the perfect shoot, just make sure your sensor is clean and you haven't left your ISO on 800.

I was shooting with Whispers and Snippets last week, for The British Flowers Book. I arrived in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village with skylarks singing, cows trying to stay cool in the long grass, and the smell of the village green being mown ready for the summer fete. Melissa and Laura set up their iconic floral swing in the shade of a long established tree, and I got to work. 

1. Light

It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun was high overhead. Although flowers might look bright and summery in the full sun they don't photograph well. Better to give a hint of a blue sky or a sunlit field in the background, and keep your flowers in the shade.

2. Background

My first shot was fine, but I thought the flowers might have got a bit lost in the background greenery:

I turned through 180 degrees and shot the flowers against the house in the background, which I prefer. (Although I do like the gate in the background of this shot.)

I also shot a slightly different angle which allowed me to get more tree in the foreground, and a hint of the fence. I like this one too, just not quite as much as the headline image:

3. Exposure

Unless you have brought lights to brighten the flowers in the shade, the light differential between the flowers and the background will be too big to capture. Always, always expose for your subject and let the background blow out. 

This is what happens if you expose the background correctly and ignore the flowers (and what would happen if you left your camera on auto exposure):


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