Creative Flower Photography

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This 3-frame in-camera multiple exposure dahlia image was created with the hand held Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro lens (now replaced by the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body.

In natural light with a reflector. Exposure set to Average. Denise loves her 5D Mark III as much as I love mine. See here for my reasons.

Image #1 courtesy of and copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Creative Flower Photography

Most of the time that I see flower images in books and magazines I am left scratching my head. Flowers make great subjects but you need to avoid photographing them in harsh, direct sun, you need to put your thinking cap on when it comes to the direction and quality of the light and the use of diffusers and reflectors, and you need to think creatively. Simply put, Denise Ippolito is a flower photography master. The first four images in this blog post are Denise’s.

Denise often hand holds her 100 macro for flowers as it gives her freedom to move around when looking for cool images and compositions. She is quite skilled at keeping the camera still once she has focused manually and decided on her image design. Even when she winds up using a tripod she usually finds the image that she wants while hand holding to explore.

You Like?

Take a moment to leave a comment and let you know which of the 7 images here are your faves, and why.

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This dahlia image was created with the Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro lens (now replaced by the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body.

Tripod. Manual focus. Moved in tight for a closeup of the petals. Natural light. Processed in Nik Color Efex Pro using one of the Duplex filters.

Image #2 courtesy of and copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito. Click on the image to see a larger version.

See Denise’s February 1, 2013 blog post, “Composition Exercise” here.

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This 3-frame in-camera multiple exposure dahlia image was created with the Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro lens (now replaced by the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body.

Tripod. Manual focus. Exposure set to Average. Photographed in natural light on a black cloth. Two stems were removed in Photoshop.

Image #3 courtesy of and copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito. Click on the image to see a larger version.

If you liked the first and the third images here you will surely want to get yourself a copy of Denise’s “Creative Multiple Exposures” MP 4 video tutorial. To learn everything that you need to know about your 5D Mark III check out my EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide here. It includes everything that I know about the great new AF system (including my customs case for photographing birds in flight), recommendations and explanations of all the menu items and custom functions that I use, and how I set up my 5D III for both in-camera multiple exposures and in-camera HDRs. Have a different Canon or Nikon body? We may have a User’s Guide for your camera here.

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This dahlia image was created with the Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro lens (now replaced by the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body.

Tripod. Manual focus. Photoshop zoom blur, with the center revealed via a Layer Mask. Then the Pinch Filter in Photoshop was applied.

Image #4 courtesy of and copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Denise is incredibly skilled and creative when it comes to filtering and effects. She is the author of “A Guide to Creative Filters and Effects.” Learn more about this great eGuide here. And if you liked all of Denise’s flower images–heck, it’s hard not to–you’d really enjoy her “Bloomin’ Ideas” eBook.

Flower Photography Seminar/Worshop

Click here and scroll down for details on Denise’s March 22-24, 2013 Flower Photography Seminar/Worshop in Kennett Square, PA near the spectacular Longwood Gardens.

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I created this California Poppy image at Morro Bay, CA with the hand held Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L macro lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/3.5 in Av mode.

Central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF active and re-composed. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Image #5 copyright 2012: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the image to see a larger version.

While Denise prefers the 100 macro for her flowers I am more of a telephoto person so I prefer the 180 macro for its narrower angle of view. To create the poppy image above, I used lessons that Denise taught me: think backlight in bright sun and focus selectively on an edge for impact. I was on the ground using my elbows as a bi-pod to ensure sharpness and accurate focus.

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This bird of paradise image was created on the San Diego IPT in January 2010 with the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the discontinued EOS-1D Mark IV (replaced for me by the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/100 sec. at f/7.1 in Av mode.

Central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Image #6 copyright 2012: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the image to see a larger version.

As you can see by the images above and below, I love using really long glass for flowers in the right situation.

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This ornamental water lily image was created at the Naples Botanical Gardens with the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the discontinued EOS-1D Mark IV (replaced for me by the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/30 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

Central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF active and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Image #7 copyright 2012: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the image to see a larger version.

A really long focal length lens was needed to create the image above because the nicest lily pad was located in the middle of a large concrete pond. As you can see by viewing and studying all of the images above there is no best lens for flower photography. Do consider joining Denise and me for 5 great days of flower photography on the Swan Island IPT; we will be using all of the above lenses and more. See the details immediately below.

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All images courtesy of and copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito. Click for a larger version.

A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Swan Island Dahlia Farm Instructional Photo-Tour, September 11-15, 2013: 5 FULL DAYS: $1649

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris at the Swan Island Dahlia Farm in Canby, Oregon (just south of Portland) for a great learning and photography experience. Swan Island features more than 40 acres with over 350 varieties of dahlias in a plethora of colors, shapes and sizes, making it one of the largest growers in the United States.

Daily Photo Schedule

We will enjoy four morning (7:00am till 10:30am) and five afternoon (3:30pm till 6pm) photography sessions. While we will do most of our photography at the Swan Island Dahlia Farm, we will also visit the Portland Rose Garden and/or the Portland Japanese Garden on this IPT. The in-the-field instruction will include seeing the situation, the use of selective focus, creative use of depth of field, histogram and exposure guidance, designing creative images, choosing your background, isolating your subject, lens options, and the use of reflectors and diffusers. Our field sessions will include challenging photography assignments geared to make you think creatively. Both personalized and small group instruction will be provided. All times are tentative and subject to change based on the weather and on local conditions.

Seminar Morning: Friday, September 13: 8:30am till 12:30pm

Denise will begin by presenting her “Bloomin’ Ideas” program, an overview of the in-the-field and post-processing techniques that she has used and developed over the past few years to create her signature look. Artie will follow with a Photoshop session that will be geared towards all levels. He’ll be sharing some of his favorite techniques and tips while working on images from the first two days of the IPT. Denise will conclude the seminar portion of the IPT with a Photoshop demo; she will share her creative workflow using a variety of Photoshop filters and effects. The entire morning is designed to give you a peek into the minds of two very skilled and creative folks.

The group will have lunch together daily. All are invited to bring their laptops for image sharing. We hope that you can join us for an intense five days of learning and some of the best flower photography to be had in North America.

Deposit Info and Cancellation Policies:

A $449 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance is due 4 months before the date of the IPT and is also non-refundable. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. We will be short-handed in the office until January 21 so please leave a message and we will call you back. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail

Fort DeSoto Morning In-the-Field Workshop

Fort DeSoto In-the-field Workshop: FEB 25. Pre-dawn -10:30am. Strict Limit 16/openings: 1. Includes a great working lunch: $275.

On Monday morning, February 25, Denise Ippolito and I will be co-leading a morning In-the-field Workshop at Fort DeSoto, south of St. Petersburg, FL. We should get to photograph a variety of very tame herons, egrets, gulls, terns, and shorebirds. Spoonbills possible. There will be lots of individual and small group instruction. We will cover exposure and histograms, seeing the situation, creating sharp images, and lots more. Each registrant will have a personalized gear and set-up check. The more questions you ask, the more you will learn.

A great working lunch at the Sea Porch Café on St. Petersburg Beach is included. All are invited to bring a laptop along for image sharing at lunch. After the workshop, all are invited to send us three 1024 wide or 800 tall JPEGs for critiquing. Call 1-863-692-0906 to register or send us a Paypal. Either way, be sure to note that the payment is for the Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Workshop.

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Weekend Creative Nature Photography Seminar, Tampa, FL: February 23 & 24, 2013: $149 Limit: 50/Openings: 1

Best to register soon as there are just 4 seats left. The In-the-field Workshop above follows the Weekend Creative Nature Photography Seminar. You are invited to join Denise Ippolito and me on the weekend of February 23-24 on the outskirts of Tampa, FL for a great weekend of fun and learning. Learn to improve your photography skills, your skill at designing images in the field, your creative vision, and your image optimization skills. Sunday critiquing session. Click here for additional details and the complete schedule.

Typos

On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. :)


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22 comments to Creative Flower Photography

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie and Denise. What marvelous images; hard to choose any over the others, but my favorites are #1 (I just love the composition, the color, the detail), #6 (I’m a sucker for bird-of-paradise flowers–and birds of paradise!–and this one is a perfect image, and #7 (I love reflections and this one too is perfect; beautiful composition, color, sharpness). You ask for corrections; right above the poster of the Swan Island Dahlia Farm you write “Do consider joining Denise and I…” Of course, it should be “Denise and me…,” as you’ve written elsewhere.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks on all counts David. You would think that since I know that and since I have made the same mistake here about 20 times that I would remember…. artie

  • Artie – I was referring to the dahlia right above the CA Poppy in my comment, image #4.

  • avatar Carol Nichols

    I absolutely love the first image (multiple exposure dahlia). I have already ordered Denise’s MP4 video on multiple exposures and am looking forward to learning how to use that feature on my 5D3.

    I also absolutely love everything about the ornamental water lily image.

  • avatar Estelle Chartrand

    My favorite are:

    1. California poppy
    2. Multiple exposure 3
    3. Dahlia multiple exposure 1

  • avatar Ron May

    One question I forgot to ask – how many openings on the Swan Island IPT? Thanks.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      At present we have five folks registered so we still have room. Hope that you can join us. Where do you live? I can’t wait to get a long lens on those gorgeous dahlias!

  • avatar Ron May

    I am not sure that I am a fan of multiple exposure images – don’t know why – maybe it is something that I have to see more of, although, I must confess I do like the first one. I really like the bird of paradise and the water lily images though.

  • avatar Chris Cooke

    The multiple exposure dahlia does it for me, a superb and complex image. Artie I like your first image but love your second.

  • I’ll go with the pink dahlia as my favorite of these images. Love the composition and the way my eye gets drawn right to the flower center. I can “feel” the power of it drawing me to that point. Great job, Denise.

    My second pick is the California poppy. The light makes this magical for me. Just love the subtle color change of the petals as they get further from the flower center and how it glows. I would, however, like to see just a bit more DOF, particularly from the round, purplish, center edge under the flower and in toward the stem. Composition is great!

  • avatar Alan Lillich

    I’m most impressed with the second (pink Dahlia) and the poppy. I really like the care in the Dahlia to have in focus petal edges fully in the frame along all of the edges. And the care in the poppy to have focused on the stem in the corner and calyx fringe.