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!


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

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



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? 



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


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


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.



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



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.






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.





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!



Posy Parade

Rose posies are part of the sweet dailiness of life in our rose garden, and the magic of it all urges action with a camera. However backgrounds can be an issue, and sometimes our friendly yellow wall is just too convenient. I had to try something different.



Only feet away, and through a door to the side of our house, there were several possibilities I'd never thought about before.


My artist husband, Leroy Parker, likes to make mono prints of manhole covers. On a search in Oakland, CA, he found this one from Portland (The City of Roses), Oregon. When Leroy told the attendant at the manhole yard that his wife was born in Portland, the man gave this to him. We now use it as a stepping stone.


Portland is famous for their annual June Rose Parade. As a child, I enjoyed many, and I remember sitting on the sidewalk watching the rosey floats go by. I placed the little posies on this glorious memento to try it out as a background.



Here are Yves Piaget and Lillian Austin.



Well, that was fun! But hey, there was another manhole cover near by, unpainted.



Then I spotted a painted piece of rusty metal.

Rose posies



Was that enough photo fun for one morning? Not quite, even ready for transport the posies are photo fabulous.

Posies to go


As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs.

~Sam Abell


Hermosa Rose


One of the "ideas" circling my head finally took form a couple days ago--



a photo session with Hermosa roses and a Japanese porcelain lunch box.



Way back in the early 70's I purchased this hand painted treasure for only $15.00! I'd never seen roses in Japanese brush work-- this is the lid. Recently, the image reminded me of Hermosa's lovely loose blooms.



On day one of the photo session, some of the roses were in bud, and I started with just our yellow walls as a backdrop. I usually begin by shooting straight on showing all there is to offer and then go on from there trying new ideas. I always hope I'll end up with something I did not anticipate. I like surprises, however they were slim that first day and I thought waiting for the next day's more open blooms might be worth while.



Next day- with buds open- I tried the traditional white background I always go for- looks ok- but where's the excitement?



I remembered this old painted backdrop, grabbed a navy napkin, and sought the morning light on the same surface from the day before. Timing is often everything in photography. I kind of like this one.




Here's the trusty surface I used and said backdrop propped up by the picture frame. I originally hoped to use my husband's fabulous big lotus pot, but I couldn't make it work except in the image below, and sorry to say, it's barely there.





And then the next day with the drama of morning light.




The bloom is only a couple inches across.



My Hermosa shrub reaches four feet though I've seen it much bigger.




Here you can see the lunch box components- they're only an inch deep and are meant for tasty little morsels.