When I think about floral beauty photographs, I typically envision upbeat, higher key imagery. In this shoot I challenged myself to push against those preconceived ideas and instead try the exact opposite.
This time I would use low key lighting, a splash of color and a whole lot of drama to create something romantic and painterly.
Behind the scenes
Once the my model Meaghan was on my set, I started to experiment with the goal of crafting dramatic light. My main light was a beauty dish with a grid to the left of the frame to create sculpting and drama on the face. My fill light was a zoom reflector with barn doors and a pink and purple gel that was used to tone the shadows and pull in the rich colors of the flowers.
At times I’d have the subject face toward the beauty dish, and other times away, because the position of the subject drastically changed the visual effect and whether the gel was the main light or the fill.
Once I got the light about right, it was time to play around with my images in the computer. People far underestimate the power of color grading and working with the RAW file. I don’t just think about this step after the fact, but instead during the shoot as part of the creative process.
In fact, one of the most important elements of this shoot is the post-processing. Thinking of your RAW image as a digital negative really opens up endless possibilities because the capture is your starting place.
Here, I shot tethered into Lightroom, viewing the shots on my BenQ SW271 monitor, and began adjusting the images and creating presets during the shoot. A color accurate and calibrated monitor is an essential part of the editing process, and my BenQ is not only extraordinarily color accurate, but is also a 4K monitor to give me all of the detail and color I need to bring the best out of my file.
The last step in my creative process was to try a painterly effect using technique called dragging the shutter. By using a long shutter speed of 1/8th of a second and moving my camera, I was able to create artistic blur in-camera for an effect that added a bit more of a ghostly and painterly result.
In the end, I created a different interpretation of floral beauty, and images that are mysterious, colorful and painterly.
I’d love to see you try this simple but effective technique for creative results. Share your images in my exclusive Facebook Group!