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Friday, July 17, 2009

Keep a Spray Bottle Handy for Flower Close-ups

You probably don't think of a gardener's spray bottle as a standard photo accessory when you're photographing flowers, but I always have one nearby--even on (especially on) bright sunny days. Nothing is as pretty in the garden as a mist covered rose in bloom, but the problem is that when the sun comes out natural mist burns off quickly. Besides, I'm not that much of a morning person (an understatement) and so I rarely see the morning mist on anything.

You'll also find mist on flowers and plants if you shoot after a gentle rain, of course, but often the skies are still gray and the lighting is kind of bland. Hard rains also tend to damage delicate flowers and if you want until they pop back into shape, again, the mist will have vanished.

The solution is simple: carry a small misting bottle that you can buy in any garden center. After you compose your shot and have your exposure set, give the flower a few quick sprays and you'll get a wonderful mist-covered blossom. I've found that different misting heads create different size beads of water, so experiment different bottles or different spray settings (most bottles have an adjustable spray head). Also, if you continue to spray several times the water tends to bead up in larger drops and that can look interesting too.

By the way, if the roses (or other flowers) in your garden are looking kind of tattered and you still want to do some close-up work, consider visiting your local florist. I bought this rose (with several others) to shoot for an ad assignment because the roses in my area are all past. Long-stemmed roses are only a few dollars each and if you're careful buying them, you'll find perfect specimens in all different colors, shapes and patterns. Then just pop them into a vase with some bloom extender and they'll last for days. When you're done shooting them, give them to your sweetie and she (or he) will look much more kindly on the time you spend taking all of those pictures.

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