Daylilies forum: Taking photos of daylilies

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Name: bb
north of boston on the coast
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1
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lilylady
Apr 22, 2012 7:54 AM CST
I have been enjoying the photos that you are sharing of your daylilies.

Saw the hint about using a black or white umbrella. BTW, I use a huge grey one.

Thought it might be nice to have a thread (if not done before) about photographing daylilies.

Our hints shared with each other.

I'll share a couple of thoughts.

Photos of 2 petals over 1 often presents the flower better than one over two. When the AHS robin first started and we were sharing photos, I did a test of which bloom 'looked' better. Everyone picked the 2 over 1 photo! ( I know, both are fine!!!)


Thumb of 2012-04-22/lilylady/7d2c43

Thumb of 2012-04-22/lilylady/527d5d

Just look at all the photos being shared with 2 petals over 1!

Wait until the daylily is open all the way before taking the photo.

Most photographers like early morning light.



For an artsy photo, take the photo from the side or at an angle rather than straight on. Or take the inside of the daylily rather than the whole flower.

I use Irfanview (free from internet for PC's)
Quick fix it. Good for cropping. Good for crisping / sharpening. Good for getting the shade just a little more perfect. You can intensify the blue, get rid of some red etc on a sliding scale. You can undo anything that you have done.

Have you any hints to share?


Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
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fiwit
Apr 22, 2012 8:23 AM CST
BB, I don't know what you mean when you say "2 petals over 1," maybe because I'm new to daylilies. Those 2 photos you posted look the same to me, at least in thumbnail, other than being from different angles. Can you help an ignorant DL newbie understand your point? Green Grin!


Now, I'm new to DLs, but NOT to photography and cameras. Here are my thoughts, and they apply whether you're taking pics of flowers, landscapes, people, pets, whatever. This pretty much stream of consciousness, and the overall theme of my comments is that it's NOT the camera that takes good pics, it's the photographer who knows what he/she is doing and uses the tool (camera) to its best advantage. I can use a screwdriver to pound in a nail, but it's not using the tool to its best advantage.


If you're doing flower photos and your camera has a macro setting, USE IT. You want to be as close to the flower as you can get and still have good focus.

Sometimes cameras have multiple flash settings -- if there's one for "fill flash," that's good to use when it's just slightly too dark for a good photo. Fill flash isn't a full on bright flash, it just brightens up the center of the photo. Same setting should be used when taking backlit photos - -i.e., a person sitting in a window that the sun is streaming in. You'll wind up with a silhouette without fill flash.

Don't worry about what kind of camera you have -- focus on learning the fundamentals of photo composition: light, distance, angle, rules of three, etc. Rather than reading instruction manuals about the tool you're using, look for books about "the artist's eye" or Kodak's ubiquitous "how to make/take great pictures." Once you master the techniques, you can use ANY tool -- I've gotten awesome pics with disposable digicams and cell phones because I follow the fundamentals. My mom would spend $300 on cameras (in the 90s), and still have pictures where the people either had no heads or no feet (sometimes both).

If you follow the standard rules of good picture-making, then cropping/crisping/lightening are almost unnecessary.

If the picture is out of focus/blurry, TOSS IT, don't share it. Only reason to keep a bad pic in the digital age is if it's the only pic you have of that particular subject. Once you have a better pic, dump the bad one.

If there's a lot of WHITE in the photo, don't make it the primary focus. Same thing if there's a lot of dark. The auto-focus/auto-adjust feature of the camera will either make the picture too light or too dark. Dark photos CAN be lightened with software, but pics that are too bright might as well be tossed. Once you've blown out the highlights, it's almost impossible to get any detail back.

Easiest way to do the above is to focus the camera on foliage, for example, half-press the shutter until it focuses, then without release or pressing the shutter, shift the camera so the bloom is the primary view. Finish pressing the shutter - the color adjustment will be based on the foliage, not the bloom.

Be aware that auto-focus cameras have their own ideas of what you're trying to take pics of. I thought I was taking pics of the redbud blooms on my tree, and wound up with blurry blooms and the neighbor's house in the distance was perfectly focused. Again, TOSS BLURRY PICTURES. With digicams, it's easy to try again.

In keeping with the previous thought, always check the surroundings of what you're photographing. The plant might be beautiful, but what about the compost pile in the background, or the trash bins set out for pickup? Zoom as close to the subject as you can, or physically move as close as you can. Put a piece of cardboard/posterboard/paper behind it to block other distractions, if necessary. (neutral colors or whites are best for that, btw)

Most cameras today have multiple "scene" modes as well as macro modes. Go back to your manual and learn what modes your camera has, and play with them to see if one of them is best for you, besides the macro one.

While it's true that most folks take pics in the morning, especially of DLs, be aware the morning light is "cooler," and evening light is "warmer." So sometimes evening might be better, depending on what you're photographing. One of my cameras actually has an option to change the color to warmer or cooler, as well as sepia and black/white. That might come in handy if you do wind up taking pics in mid-day, when the light is bright and harsh.



Good picture taking is a 2-part process: step 1 is take the best picture you can, step 2 is process it the best you can before sharing it with the world. There are lots of free software programs online to process photos, and everyone has a favorite. Whether you use a free one or a non-free one, LEARN IT. Read the help section, buy a dummies book for it, scour you-tube for videos about it, whatever it takes for you to be able to learn. Talk to others who use the same program, or who have photos that you admire, and find out what they did that's different from what you do. More than half the time, the difference will be in the picture-taking, not the processing. That's just my opinion with no data to back it up, but I've been playing with cameras and studying photography (on my own, not formally) for almost half my life, and that's been my experience.

Whenever possible, avoid using flash (yeah, that contradicts what I said earlier about fill-flash, but hear me out). Natural light is BEST. If the natural light isn't bright enough, try to find another way to put light on the subject, without shining said light *directly* onto the subject.




Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
Daylilies Garden Photography Hybridizer Butterflies Clematis Dragonflies
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mistyfog
Apr 22, 2012 8:35 AM CST
Great idea, Bobbie. I too have found just by observing my own
photos that two petals at top and one petal on bottom looks
better at least to me. Or any flower with a triangular eyezone
looks better with the top of the triangle being the widest part.

Time of day makes a big difference here. I get the truest
colors around 10 am or 5 pm, but that can change as
the season progresses.

Time of season also matters. I get better pics when the sun
doesn't create the stark differences between light and shadow that
appear early spring and early autumn. Colors come closer to
what the eye sees when there is an overcast day. Nature's umbrella?
Time of season probably makes more of a difference when taking landscape shots
rather than macro shots though.

Also monitors make a difference too. This monitor is set rather dark, so
others would see my photos as lighter if their monitor
settings are different.

As far as any real tips or tricks, I can't think of anything at the moment.
Will give it some thought, as I am still in the novice stage.

[Last edited by mistyfog - Apr 22, 2012 8:40 AM (+)]
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Name: bb
north of boston on the coast
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1
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lilylady
Apr 22, 2012 8:58 AM CST
Great ideas from both! I think tips like these will help us all.

Mary, I hope that what Shirlee wrote, better explains the triangle 2 petals over 1. 1 over 2 often seems to be 'bottom' heavy - something that we don't like in many instances! Wait a minute, top heavy is not often a favorite either!!! Rolling on the floor laughing

Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
Daylilies Garden Photography Hybridizer Butterflies Clematis Dragonflies
Pollen collector Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Composter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mistyfog
Apr 22, 2012 9:04 AM CST
You have a smiley laughing, but I am sitting here actually laughing.
Oh, so true Bobbie. Tops or bottoms. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
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fiwit
Apr 22, 2012 10:31 AM CST
Yeah, Bobbie... I figured it out with Shirlee's post. Thanks! Thumbs up

Pear shape or ... what's the top-heavy shape? Any chance daylilies can have hourglass figures? No? Well, we'll just love them as they come, then. Green Grin!
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
Frogs and Toads Birds Roses Region: United States of America Peonies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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daylilydreams
Apr 22, 2012 11:42 AM CST
Would this be considered an artsy photo since it is not straight on?


Thumb of 2012-04-22/daylilydreams/1fee17
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
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Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
Daylilies Garden Photography Hybridizer Butterflies Clematis Dragonflies
Pollen collector Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Composter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mistyfog
Apr 22, 2012 1:16 PM CST
I think yes, you might want to crop the right side a bit closer to the right flower's edge,
keeping part of the bud, and the eye takes you inside the frame. Good job.
Of course, that is just my opinion, other opinions may vary.
[Last edited by mistyfog - Apr 22, 2012 3:18 PM (+)]
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Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Apr 22, 2012 4:01 PM CST
Love that picture, Betty! I'd crop a little from the bottom,a nd from the right side, as Shirlee said.
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
Daylilies Garden Photography Hybridizer Butterflies Clematis Dragonflies
Pollen collector Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Composter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mistyfog
Apr 22, 2012 4:45 PM CST
Oops, I didn't enlarge the photo before I commented, and that makes all the difference. In a work of art,
such as a painting, it is recommended that the object of interest touch each side so as to take
the eye inside the frame. In this photo, after enlarged to show all of it, I would just even up the space
around the flowers, because the green leaves are very pretty as well as the flower.
Beautiful daylily, by the way.

Of course, this only pertains to the artsy version. Taking hundreds of photos a day for cataloging
seedlings and such is a whole different matter.
[Last edited by mistyfog - Apr 22, 2012 5:00 PM (+)]
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Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
Daylilies Garden Photography Hybridizer Butterflies Clematis Dragonflies
Pollen collector Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Composter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mistyfog
Apr 22, 2012 5:08 PM CST
Thank you Mary for all the information regarding the use of cameras.
Very, very helpful. I had to take some notes.
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Apr 22, 2012 5:34 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.

It's one of my soapbox topics... too many people think good pictures depend on the camera, when it mostly depends on the operator.
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

Charter ATP Member Region: Gulf Coast I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Seller of Garden Stuff Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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spunky1
Apr 23, 2012 5:15 AM CST
Great information, thanks for posting.
Name: Jan
Hustisford, WI
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Daylilies Dog Lover Irises Region: United States of America
Region: Wisconsin
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philljm
Apr 23, 2012 5:34 AM CST
The hint I picked up somewhere is if it is a windy day, many digital cameras now have a "sport" setting that is supposed to smooth out the movement. It does work - when I remember to use it.

Now I know I have to figure out that macro setting better!

Great info here! ~Jan
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Apr 23, 2012 5:43 AM CST
I never thought to use the sport mode for windy days... good tip! (submit it to Trish) Thumbs up
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: bb
north of boston on the coast
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
lilylady
Apr 23, 2012 6:26 AM CST
I love photos of flowers where the flower is crisp and distinct and the background is blurry.

Called depth of field and achieved by low F numbers. The higher the F number, the more the whole landscape will be crisp (in focus)

I don't often remember to do this. Got lazy with the auto setting. Must correct that this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAxJRF73vwc

There are hundreds of tutorials on you tube!

For auto settings there is often found a portrait setting for this. Good for single flower shots where the flower (portrait) is in focus and the background is not.

[Last edited by lilylady - Apr 23, 2012 6:28 AM (+)]
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Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
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daylily
Apr 23, 2012 6:54 AM CST
Great topic Bobbie! I dont have time to read everything right now, but I will later today!
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
fiwit
Apr 23, 2012 11:45 AM CST
lilylady said:I love photos of flowers where the flower is crisp and distinct and the background is blurry.

Called depth of field and achieved by low F numbers. The higher the F number, the more the whole landscape will be crisp (in focus)

I don't often remember to do this. Got lazy with the auto setting. Must correct that this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAxJRF73vwc

There are hundreds of tutorials on you tube!

For auto settings there is often found a portrait setting for this. Good for single flower shots where the flower (portrait) is in focus and the background is not.




That's what I use my macro mode for, and it usually works.
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Lyle
Phoenix
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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lyle627
Apr 23, 2012 12:16 PM CST
Good photo depends on the subject...what captures the viewer's EYE.

Kay Day - same garden..

Thumb of 2012-04-23/lyle627/b9fa78 Thumb of 2012-04-23/lyle627/f7ef3f


KATHERINE CALDWELL



LILLIAN'S WOMAN'S TOUCH

Thumb of 2012-04-23/lyle627/94bcb4 Thumb of 2012-04-23/lyle627/a28ca9

With the new cameras all you need is proper lighting and even a sheet of white printer paper held over the subject will give you a good photo...

Even with the new cameras the darks are the hardest to shot..
Linda Beck
Thumb of 2012-04-23/lyle627/175587

LARRY'S OBSESSION

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VINTNER'S TREASURE

Thumb of 2012-04-23/lyle627/67ed97

My camera is a Panasonic DMC-Z57
Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
Daylilies Garden Photography Hybridizer Butterflies Clematis Dragonflies
Pollen collector Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Composter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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mistyfog
Apr 23, 2012 12:46 PM CST
When photographing daylily seedlings, I want detail and color as I SEE it
in the garden. This helps me decide, during the winter months, which
seedlings to cull. So I don't bother with much else with these photos.

If I am "playing" with the camera, then there are different priorities.
Below is an example of "playing" to get a very blurred background.
This photo was taken initially with a non-digital manual camera. I took
a digital picture of the photo to get this one.

For the life of me, I can't figure out how to achieve this background look with
a digital camera.
Thumb of 2012-04-23/mistyfog/c9e856
[Last edited by mistyfog - Apr 23, 2012 12:49 PM (+)]
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