March 08, 2018
Some time last winter, I realized that I hadn’t been out shooting in months. For any number of reasons, I hadn’t even picked up my camera in months. I’m a photographer, isn’t that against the law or something?
At the time, we were in a deep freeze here in Chicago so I didn’t relish the idea of shooting outside. Instead, I opted to go the Lightbox route and bring Spring to our home early by doing a series of macro photographs of flowers. It would give me the opportunity to keep my skills up without having to brave the elements.
And so, the Botanical Portrait Series was born.
I will be sharing the series over future posts, but today I will start with the very first in the series, and one of my favorite flowers, the orange ranunculus.
Don’t the petals make you want to curl up inside?
Mother Nature doesn’t need a filter, so, with the exception of removing a few minor, distracting blemishes from the flowers in post, there is no Photoshop magic used on these photographs. The natural depth and beauty of the flower against the black background was acheieved solely with lighting and the camera.
The beauty of the lightbox I use is that the light source is two LED strips at the top front of the box. I can use one, or both, and I can adjust the intensity of either depending on my subject.
If you decide to go the route of lightbox photography, whether it’s for macro photographs of flowers, or collectibles, there are plenty out on the market. My suggestion is to look for a box with LED strips with adjustible intensity rahter than spotlights which don’t light evenly. Most lightboxes come with three or four different backdrops but even the quality of those matters. Mid to higher price range boxes tend to come with higher quality backdrops that don’t crease and use a more neutral material, allowing for a cleaner photograph.
Mother Nature is a truly amazing artist and I have never appreciated that more than I have photographing so many different varieties of flowers. I am adding more to the series today (again… winter in Chicago) and can’t wait until the Spring flowers start hitting the markets again.
I look forward to sharing more from this series as time goes on.
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