Painterly flowers

Submitted by ormiret on Wed, 24/04/2013 - 17:03.

This picture is one of many I've taken when at my parent's place with not much to do. The mix of free time and loads of photogenic plants and animals has led to many pictures.

I really liked this plant and wanted to get a picture of it, but for a worryingly long time I just got stuff that was a cluttered mess. Eventually I decided most of the plant and pretty much all of the background needed to go away. So, I switched to using a flash to light just the flowers. The flash is pretty low power, hand held just out of the frame at the bottom left and pointed over the plant so the edge of the beam catches the highest of the flowers.

I like the really high contrast - it draws the attention to the three face on flowers in the middle. I like the splash of light hitting the table in front of the plant. Overall I like the picture.

But. There are some things that start annoying me if I look at it for more than a few seconds.

Firstly, the line created by the difference between the bright flowers on the right and the darker ones on the left is annoying. I think the picture would have been better with the flash hitting all the flowers (or at least all the ones it does currently plus the three on the left). This was just me being too vague with where the flash is pointed when holding it. I should have gotten it set up on something (ideally an actual light stand, but I didn't have any handy - a chair would done though) and then tweaked the position with a series of shots to get it hitting where I wanted. The vague aiming really does detract from the picture.

Secondly, the edge on flowers at the top go to black too abruptly. There needs to be some light on the face of the flowers. I wouldn't want them as bright as the lit side but disappearing into the background looks odd.

What I did wrong here was shooting with flash the same way I do when working with available light: all handheld and thinking more about the composition than about tweaking the light. Daylight isn't as abrupt as this so I can get away with thinking of it very vaguely.

I got pretty much what I wanted with the three central flowers, but I need to learn to look at everything else as well.

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