Shooting Dahlias

Dahlia days are almost at an end so I salvaged some still lovey heads from some very floppy and mildewed stems and set about photographing them.

Now whether you are painting from life (or still life) or shooting for later reference – or for that mater, taking photographs for the sake of photography, there are some keys to a successful image.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - low light, similarly hued background

Here you can see that the tungsten light casts a yellowish light over the purple toned flowers and walls, making everything appear monochromatic and flat. I find that natural light is always best.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - overhead

This shot has several things going for it, the natural light from the window really illumuninates and defines the petals and gives a truer picture of the real color of the flowers. The charteruse backdrop provides a nice complementary contrast to the flowers, giving them a dramatic boost but the overhead shot leaves the arrangement ungrounded.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - back lit

In this one, the image is more grounded but the backlighting doesn’t do much for this subject.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - low light, cool, high contrast light

Here this side lighting from the window does a fantastic job of defining the blooms but it’s a little cold for my taste.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013- Using Flash

I used a flash in this shot and you can see how it flattens the image and is far too contrasty and cold.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - side lighting

Here the light is perfect, warm, natural side lighting gives the flowers and vase great definition, the soft warm green is just enough of a complement to the dahlias without competing and the the black base is a great grounding surface that gives just the right amount of contrast to the image. What about that clutter in the background though? In a painting it could be made to be more abstract and less irritating, but it slightly distracting.

Shooting Dahlias - Marie Cameron 2013 - low light, contrastingly hued background

Oh, finally – the perfect shot! There is nothing extraneous in this shot to pull your attention away from the gorgeousness of the dahlias in their simple but perfect presentation. I think I’m ready to put a new canvas on the easel!

“Dignity and Elegence – ForeverThine”

  1. Raha says:

    Thanks for the helpful tips. Well shot!

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