Composition Exercise

Image © 2013/Denise Ippolito Photography
Calla Lily, natural light – full frame
Longwood Gardens


When photographing the flower in the image above I considered the background and the framing. The background is often as important as the subject when deciding how to design a flower image. Juxtaposing a flower or several flowers with your subject can add interest. For this image, I chose not to do so because the background flowers went against the natural flow of the image and were more of a distraction than anything else. I chose to blur the entire background by working wide-open while retaining sharpness on the curved edge that initially drew me in. In addition, I’d be able to retain some of the beautiful glow in the flower. For the framing, I decided to include most of the flower; bringing the stem in from the corner added tension to the image. Those were my first thoughts when I created the image above. Once I have captured those thoughts onto paper so to speak I try to fine tune them. See below…

Image © 2013/Denise Ippolito Photography
Calla Lily, natural light, close-up
Longwood Gardens

Now that you have seen my initial capture, I want you to look at the above image, see what I did differently, and try to understand why. First, I came in tighter and focused on creating an image that highlighted the key elements that appealed to me when I first saw the Calla Lily: the curved edge and the curled tip. Next I turned my camera ever so slightly so that my new framing would eliminate that blurred area near the stem. I also made sure that the top edge was eliminated as I felt that it too was distracting. Photographing flowers can be lots of fun and taking your time to think about what you want for your final image can be a rewarding process. I suggest that you try this exercise in composition the next time you go out into the field 🙂

BTW- Both images work, I am just showing different compositions.

If you would like to learn more about composition and flower photography I recommend my upcoming Flower Photography Seminar/Workshop at Longwood Gardens in PA. We will work on image design, creative photography, image processing and much, much more. Limited space available.

Flower Photography Seminar/Workshop March 22-23, 2013 ~ $99 with Denise Ippolito
Sponsored by Hunts Photo

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Don’t forget to check out the MiniMag

Weekend Creative Nature Photography Seminar, Tampa, FL: February 23 & 24, 2013: $149 with Arthur Morris & Denise Ippolito

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14 Responses

  1. Don Schroder says:

    Thanks for the insight. I like the way the sharp edge of the flower leads the eye to the curled tip.

  2. Dennis Bishop says:

    Good suggestions, Denise, and a great example. I liked the first image, immediately. However, the second one really highlights why you were attracted to the lily. Thanks for sharing what you did. And why.

  3. denise says:

    Don, Thank you for commenting, much appreciated.

    Michael, thank you 🙂

    Artie, Thank you. I appreciate your help with the edit of this post.

    Dennis, Thank you, I love the first image but the second one really works for me 🙂

  4. Beautiful images and it is interesting to hear your compositional thought process. Such subtle choices can make such a difference.

    Longwood Gardens is one of my very favorite places. Love seeing it through YOUR eyes!

  5. denise says:

    Katherine, Thank you for your kind words and welcome to my blog!

    Andrew, I appreciate it 🙂

    Anita, Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  6. Jimi Jones says:

    Beautiful photographic work, Denise. Filling the frame with the flower and blurring the background looks wonderful. I like the soft look and sharp edge combo. Good stuff.

  7. Pingback: Flowers, in the dark, with a flash and yeah... - Page 2

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