Photographing Pink Roses in Diffused Light

JGaulard

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Roses are notoriously difficult to take good pictures of. Actually, many types of flowers are, but roses almost always come out over-saturated if they're not photographed under the right conditions. I think it has something to do with the vibrancy of their colors. If you're attempting to capture images of almost any color rose on a sunny day between the hours of 10am and 4pm, I honestly don't think you'll have much success. You'll need to shade the flower before taking any shots. That's just the way it is.

There's a great thread in this forum that talks about contrast and what kind of effect light can have on a scene. In the thread, there's discussion about diffused lighting, which is what I would like to talk about today. With regards to roses, the lighting will most definitely need to be diffused. If you aren't familiar with what diffused lighting is, it's light that's scattered across an area, such as the sun on a cloudy day or a light behind a white sheet, as opposed to light that's hard and direct, like that of the naked sun or the light that's given off by a flashlight. Diffused lighting can help tremendously when it comes to photographing roses. And to prove my point, I just took some photos of a few pink roses I have right on my property. The sky is currently cloudy here in Maine, so I thought I'd take advantage of the opportunity. Really though, I don't know why it's so challenging to take good photos of roses. Even with the cloudy sky today, I still had a slight over-saturation issue that I had to correct in Adobe Camera Raw. I guess it's just those vibrant colors. Perhaps even the diffused light was too much.

What I'd like to do is show off a few photos of the roses along with some camera specs and Camera Raw slider positions. It's peak rose season here in Western Maine, so get ready for some nice looking flowers. My goal is to help you out with your own flower photography. Sometimes it's nice to know that not everyone takes perfect pictures the first time around. Oftentimes, it's necessary to pull some of the flower saturation out of the image during post-processing. It's also nice to see some specs and what was done in Camera Raw or Photoshop.

This is the first photo. It's probably one of the best.

beautiful-pink-roses-maine.jpg

Camera: Canon T7i
Lens: Canon EF-S24mm f/2.8 STM
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: f/5
Shutter Speed: 1/100 second
ISO: 100

I had the camera in Program mode, so it made all of the decisions for me. As you can see, there was enough light to set the ISO down to its least sensitive setting. Also, the aperture isn't huge and the shutter speed isn't slow, so what I'm getting from these specs is that the camera was trying to shut out some of the available light coming from the sky. If I were to seriously take photos of these roses, I'd most likely use a neutral density (ND) filter or some other apparatus to cut some of the light reaching the camera's sensor. Let's look at the Basic panel sliders in Camera Raw.

camera-raw-basic-slider.gif

Let's take a look at the second photo.

cluster-pink-knockout-roses.jpg

Camera: Canon T7i
Lens: Canon EF-S24mm f/2.8 STM
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: f/5
Shutter Speed: 1/100 second
ISO: 100

You can see that the camera specs for this picture are exactly the same as those for the previous one. That's to be expected. The only thing I changed was the distance between the camera and the flowers. Everything else was constant. The reason I wanted to show you this photo was to talk about its depth of field. Since I was using my Canon 24mm prime lens, I was able to get rather close to these subjects. In the previous shot, all the flowers were sharp because I held the camera about a foot and a half away from them. In this shot, I about halved that distance. Those soft flowers in the foreground are evidence of that. What's the moral of this story? The closer you zoom into a shot or hold your camera to your subject(s), the more shallow the depth of field will become. So it's not only aperture size that controls depth of field. Focal length also has an impact.

Let's check out those Camera Raw sliders.

camera-raw-basic-slider.gif

Not much different from the previous sliders.

Okay, here's the last photo. It's the quintessential tough rose picture. These always come out overexposed and over-saturated. Today I had some good luck.

single-pink-rose.jpg

Camera: Canon T7i
Lens: Canon EF-S24mm f/2.8 STM
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: f/5
Shutter Speed: 1/100 second
ISO: 100

You're not going to believe this. This photo used the same exact specs again. I took many more photos and those specs were all different. It's strange that the three I chose were all identical. Oh well.

I may head back out another day with a lens filter, just to see what happens. I'd like to cut down some of the light. Perhaps I'll even do this when the sun is out, just as an experiment.

Okay, here are the Camera Raw sliders.

camera-raw-basic-slider.gif

There's not a lot of adventure here either. These sliders were very similar to those above. I bet we'll see some change with the next round of photos.

So let me ask you something - how are you at taking pictures of roses? Do you find your images over-saturated? Do the different colors play a factor with you? I think red and white are the toughest to photograph. I see big blotches of both colors when there's too much light in the atmosphere. I'd love to get some of your input though.
 
Photographing Pink Roses in Diffused Light was posted on 06-25-2021 by JGaulard in the Photography forum.

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