I’ve had a little time lately to shoot more flowers on white. These two floral arrangements feature orchids—buying them for photography seemed a little expensive at the time, but in retrospect well worth it! (Click on the images to view them larger.)
One of the key words in this kind of photography is “arrangement” because creating a pleasing composition is probably more important than any photographic technique in contributing to the success of a given image. So I often get asked if I have any tips regarding floral arrangements.
Mostly, I just do what looks good to me. I do think this kind of image needs an internal structure, as well as coherence. The image also has to appeal to suspension of disbelief in the sense that it is plausible enough to seem like it could have occurred in nature or at least hang together in a vase, even when in fact it is an artificial creation in my studio. The point of my artifice is to create something that looks natural.
Certainly if you look through my Photographing Flowers book you’ll get some ideas about how I like to arrange flowers. If the topic of arranging flowers interests you I also suggest a course or book on Japanese flower arranging. One that is on my shelf is Simple Flowers: Arrangements and Floral Accents for the Home by Noriko Hayakawa (Kodansha, 2000). This book is out of print, but pretty easily still available from used book sources.
As I’ve noted, the most important step in this kind of image creation is the floral arrangement. Next, I bracket the photography and use HDR and hand-HDR technique to combines the separate exposures. When the image is finished on white in many cases I add a texture, or use Photoshop to place the white image on a scanned background to create a Floral Tapestry—for example, Japanese Papaver Dreams.