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Photographing Wildflowers

Photographing spring wildflowers can be a rewarding experience. Follow these quick tips for better wildflower photography.

See the light

nicely lit flowers
Cloudy days produce soft, diffuse light.

Spring wildflowers look their best on cloudy days, or during the gentle light of early morning and late evening. If photographing in bright sunlight, use a diffuser to soften the light falling on your subject, or photograph the wildflower in the shadow of a friend.

Watch the wind

blurry flowers
Wind can cause blurry pictures.

Even the most gentle breeze will cause wildflowers to move, raising the chances of capturing blurry pictures. Head out on a calm day, or photograph just after dawn when the air is still. Also consider using the wind to your advantage by placing the camera on a tripod and use a slow shutter speed to produce a pleasing blur of color.

Get down low

trillium from below
Get low.

The most compelling wildflower photographs are taken from ground level. Get low and pretend you’re seeing the wildflowers from the perspective of a small animal hopping along the forest floor.

Vary your focal length

landscape photo of flowers
Shoot wide to show context.

Wildflower portraits are most often captured with a short telephoto lens. Try a close-focusing wide angle lens (cell phone cameras are great for this) to show the plant in context with its habitat.

Know your camera

settings on camera
Find your macro setting.

Find out if your camera has a macro or close focus setting, usually denoted with a flower icon. Also, see if your camera allows you to adjust something called white balance. Setting a cloudy white balance on cloudy days, and a sunny white balance on clear days will help you to capture more accurate color.

Following these few tips will help you as you head out to photograph Ohio’s spring blooms. Consider uploading your images to social media using the hashtag, #ohiowildflowers. Follow @ohiodnr and @DiscoverOhio on Twitter and ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves on Facebook to see more spring wildflower photos.