iPhone Flower Photography Tips

 

In my career as a flower photographer, I've worked through seven cameras, which included a Hasselblad and three DSLRs, the latest being a Canon 5D. Today I certainly use my Canon, but my favorite and most used camera is my iPhone 6s!

Roses_and_flowers

I had the pleasure recently of sharing phone photo tips at a workshop in Sacramento, and thought why not continue the fun here on the blog. Before I went out the door that day, I had to take this shot of some of the photo ops I was bringing to the workshop. Spring flowers and leaves and two buckets of early blooming roses made the cut. The blush rose is G. Nabonnand  and the pink is Grandmother's Hat.

 

Photo Possibilities with One Flower

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To create handouts for the workshop, I gleaned my camera roll for workflow examples. There is so much a photographer can do with just one flower. I often go through numerous variations per subject before finding an image that I might want to publish on Instagram, Facebook, my blog or a publication. From left to right:

1- camellia shot in the garden

2, 3, 4- in a small bronze vase; the first two shot from above

6, 7, 8- the camellia rests in a square glass dish

4, 6, 8- in front of a white cotton curtain (it was not a sheer)

2, 7- kitchen counter background

3, 9- black foamcore background

5, 9- both are cropped

 

Editing Photos in iPhone

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In our living room there is a picture window with two sets of curtains: both are white cotton, one sheer, the other opaque. In the first two shots, the garden is the background. (Would have been nice if I'd moved the wheel barrow and trash bin!) In the bottom shots, the sheer became the backdrop. In these four shots I was warming up to get something better, which happened in the next shot. But how did I get the exposure to lighten up so much? 

 

Iphone_focus_exposure_camera_feature

I used the iPhone exposure slider (oh I love it), it's that sun icon. Tap on the part of the flower you want in focus and a yellow square will appear, the square will focus the image. Now hold the camera still, put your finger on the sun and slide it up or down for more or less light. 

 

Finding the Background

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I can easily go through several backgrounds to get the shot I like. On March 9, I had just a tiny bunch of blooms (middle shot). 

5- this is the first shot on a stone paver

3,4- still on the stone, but not so pretty

9- old table outside; no, too much going on

6, 8- metal garden chair outside; maybe 

1- black metal table inside; yeah

2, 7- kitchen counter; yep

 

Inside the iPhone's Photo Tools

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To use your iPhone's photo adjustment tools, take a look under one of your images; note the four blue icons. Click on the one above the X.

 

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Now click under the next X (by the way, the icon at left is the crop tool).

 

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Next click on the down pointing arrow for 'Light' and a list will appear. I use the exposure tool first. Check each one out and know that you can always revert to your original, even days later.

 

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The two shots above are of a double bucket of goodies I took to the workshop, photographed in the garden right after they were harvested and inside the house on a piece of white foam-core.

 

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At the workshop everyone especially enjoyed photographing Grandmother's Hat. In the first image the blooms, shot from above, hide the bucket, and the last one is a close-up without cropping.

A Few More Tips

  1. For a sharp image, look at your shots as you take them to make sure they are in focus.
  2. Always crop after you take the shot, expanding the picture while framing degrades the image.
  3. If you press your finger on the focus square it will lock in the focus, and you can still use the exposure slider.
  4. Some Android phones have exposure adjustments in the settings menu. 

It was fun putting this post together–I hope it was helpful. Let me know if you have questions. If you would like to have one-on-one instruction, I am available at an hourly rate.

Take lots of photos, experiment and have fun!

 

  


Harvesting Roses in Miriam Wilkins' Garden

 

Dorothy-perkins-rose

For five years after Miriam Wilkins' passing, we have had the privilege of harvesting roses in what remains of her garden. The property is a wild thing now with no care taken and the few roses that remain are the hardy species types that Miriam loved best in her later years. These pictures were taken last year, once again, on the Friday before the Celebration of Old Roses. You will see that amongst the ruin we still managed to gather spectacular things. This rose is Dorothy Perkins.

 

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First a nod to the species roses Miriam loved. 

 

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This is a hardy European rose- if you think you know the name, let me know.

 

White-rose

Year after year, this rose thrills me. It is a monster though, huge, extremely thorny, but with the most compelling and photogenic blooms. I've taken many pictures of it and you will see it in the bouquet below. I've never seen a rose to compare with this one, and who knows, this may be the only one in existence.

 

To me, a garden of the heart would be a modest affair, whatever the true gardener who loves to work in the soil comes up with, not lavish estates. We are all limited in one way or another. Visitors to gardens must take this into account. That is why I never hesitate to let anyone see our rose collection. There must be something here to teach or please.

~Miriam Wilkins

 

 

Heritage-rose-bouquet

 

Magenta-rose

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5-petal-rose

The harvestees are now ready to wow people at the Celebration.

 

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As we were harvesting, I noticed the steps and pots below Dorothy Perkins, and then realized Dorothy had demolished a pergola.

 

We bought our dream lot in 1944 when Dick returned from the South Pacific. It looked out at the Golden Gate, a mysterious sight when wreathed in fog. Five years later the house was built and we moved in with three children under five years. Soon we had a lawn with play equipment, and a badminton court. I was buying old roses from Roses of Yesterday and Today. They were planted in neat rows with paths between the plots. The lawn and everything went in 1952. Roses grew as roses will. I began to garden on my neighbors back forty. That was soon filled. Five years ago (2002), the two yards were well worth a visit, but it's been downhill every since. I do not encourage visitors but they may come if they care to.

~Miriam  Wilkins

 

The wonderful thing is that she always welcomed us and in that overgrown state there was wonderment! Miriam's garden has given its all again and again and here it's 2016. I hope to see you at the Celebration–there will be many wonderful roses for sale propagated especially for you!

 

 


Spring '16 Just Before the Big Bloom

 

Rouletii-&-M-Tillier-Roses

The garden continues to be in fat bud stage, except for a few Tea roses that are now in full bloom – Monsieur Tillier looked like this yesterday. That's Rouletii overhead. I shot this and all the rest of the images in this post with my iPhone 6s. There is something so appealing about the phone's mobility. This shot would have been hard to come by with my big Canon.

 

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Here's another shot of the darling Monsieur.

 

Rose-Garden-from-Outside-Fence

This view is from outside the deer fence. With all that land how could I not continue to plant roses and hope for the best? M. Tillier back there actually is guarded with wire fencing, which handily is not showing in the photo. That's the mighty wanderer James Mason in the foreground.

 

Gilbert-Nabonnand-Rose

This is Tea, Gilbert Nabonnand, who is a tallish sprawler in my garden. It's been blooming for a few weeks now and I've made many bouquets. Gilbert is planted outside wire fencing – deer rarely munch it.

 

Melianthus

And last but not least. I'm very proud of this gorgeous melianthus, not the typical rose garden companion, but so very wild and fun. I cut it to the ground yearly and it comes back full force every time. Happy spring to you all!