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01-14-2008, 07:32 AM   #1
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Although I like the colour and BG of this shot, was it doomed from the start? I mean, how can you make an interesting composition of a single flower? I tried cropping it to make it non-centered, but it doesn't help. Any suggestions?

01-14-2008, 07:42 AM   #2
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I guess, you had trouble with the background. There is nothing wrong with centered composition, as long as it is a part of the whole image. Try to compose a background into the main motive. I tried to shoot some flowers too, and it really isn't easy to get a good composition.
Still, this one I seem to like. It has a yellow background at the plants stalk and a brown one at the blossom, which probably should be the main focus of the viewer.
My idea is to add some background of different (more strong) colour and place it diagonal to the flower in the composition....
01-14-2008, 05:53 PM   #3
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I kind of like it as it Tom.. It is very simplistic. It would be nice as a smaller picture on a desk or something to add just a splash of color.

Another thought if you didn't like just the single stem.. Maybe do some layering and copy a couple more on it so it look somewhat like a bouquet?? I think the background is very appealing.. ..

Or perhaps even cropping it as a square picture and knocking off some of the stem??

Just thinking out loud.. Hope it helps???

01-14-2008, 06:43 PM   #4
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I really like the background, it looks like a painting I cropped a little off the sides to try and see how it looked ,but I don't know if it looks better to you. What kind of flower is it?

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01-14-2008, 11:04 PM   #5
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I dunno Tom it's not working for me. The lemon yellow of the flowers doesn't play well with the more red-flavoured browns of the bottom half of the image. The central composition is unsettling (imho) and the lighting just doesn't capture the beauty of the flower.

One of my better shots of last year aof a single bit of grass, and it created a diagonal line across the image and had some pretty dynamic lighting. It helped weight the photo.

But with yours so 'vertical' I'd almost consider some sort of artsy crop. Cut off the flower on the side of the frame. Throw it way off to the side, rotate it or something to spice it up. Dunno.
01-14-2008, 11:29 PM   #6
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I like it. The background is lovely and the flower is too. Not sure about what would work composition-wise - you're correct that it's not quite right.
01-15-2008, 12:22 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Lusk Quote

Although I like the colour and BG of this shot, was it doomed from the start? I mean, how can you make an interesting composition of a single flower? I tried cropping it to make it non-centered, but it doesn't help. Any suggestions?
Some brainstorm thoughts:
What I might have done with the natural light was shoot down from above, trying a few different directions, provided I had full access to this subject of course. This would emphasize the blossom and deemphasize the stem, perhaps make it recede off into a corner, for a more interesting composition.

Sometimes single flowers are quite dramatic. Don't write them off.
Some work well back-lit perhaps with a strobe. Some like dark backgrounds, others complementary coloured or even white background depending on the flower. For this one it might be cool to put a strobe behind and below the flower, dial it up to max, use a low camera angle and darken the background while making the blossom glow. Would require some experimenting.

If it doesn't bother your sense of shoot-it-as-you-find-it, you might spritz some water on it for some added drama and catch-lights. ;-)

All that said, I actually quite like your photo. The background is very impressionist.
Thanks for making me think. ;-)
01-15-2008, 12:27 AM   #8
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Tom, I really love the bokeh of this shot. Subject isolation is your specialty and the bokeh makes me stare for a while...

Hard to criticise your work.

Speaking of composition, it is already difficult with wildflower given that the subject size is often small. I think using a macro would bring out the flower a lot more.

Tilting camera angle or moving around the flower often makes little difference in the outcome as the subject is often too small unless there is an unique lighting available.

My personal thoughts regarding wild flower is often the following

1. The camera is to be parallel to the largest petal of the wildflower

2. Bokeh should be great and often of similar colour temeperature to the subject flower

3. Subject to be off centre to create room for atmosphere rendered by the bokeh

A longitudinal flower seems to divide the photo in two, thus diverting attention to the two halves... There is nothing absolute in this world that I often divide my photo in half by this type of composition. Human brains are made of two halves ... hehe

Given the print, I just played around with the image a little. None of them turned out better than your original copy. Since I already spent a bit of time playing around with it, I will post it here anyway

Hope you don't mind, Tom

Off centre

I tried ...

01-15-2008, 12:00 PM   #9
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one more try with the flower leaning to the left. also tweaked the contract a bit. not sure it is any improvement...

01-15-2008, 03:41 PM   #10
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I really like the composition the way it is. Perhaps its just my monitor but the highlights on the flower seem to be a bit bright. I think a slightly darker background would also be in order.

I just reviewed the thread and the highlights are fine on the original image. I guess I was too busy looking at everyone elses versions. I would like to see it with a slightly darker background. I think it's a great shot.
01-15-2008, 08:02 PM   #11
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First I want to say that you always get a sharp shot of whatever you go after and in this case even working with the reduced image size you posted I could see a number of ways that you may want to try to add emphasis to the flower. Of course if you wish, I will remove the modifications as it is your shot.

#1 It is a tall subject, so make a tall narrow crop, brings in the vertical and reduced the background.

#2 duplicate the background layer, set new layer to multiply and knock out the center with a feathered marque.

#3 similar to above, but image/mode/lab, image/apply image/lab-softlight-50%, duplicate layer and do same as above.

Last edited by clarenceclose; 01-21-2008 at 10:02 AM.

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