Working a Subject – Potted Aquilegia Origami


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Spring is finally here and I’m seeing bits of colour peeking through. I’ve photographed flowers popping up around my neighbourhood, but wanted to photograph something beyond daffodils and tulips. On a trip to the nursery last week, I bought a blue and white Aquilegia Origami, with a number of flowers and a few buds.




Potted perennials or annuals at the nursery are often already blooming. So it is easy to photograph them before planting in the garden. During springtime with patchy growth, a good background without dark spots of bare earth, can be challenging. A potted plant can be moved to different locations for a variety of lighting and background choices. Also you can shoot them inside when the weather doesn’t cooperate!




Of course one can do this with cut flowers too, but a plant will last longer and you can enjoy it in the garden as well. I have a mostly shade garden which tends to limit my choices but I think I will buy some sun-loving showy flowers too. That way I can gift them to friends or family and visit them in their gardens for years to come.




Working a potted flower subject involves experimenting with different locations and moving in closer and closer, using different perspectives, apertures and lenses too. The flowers can also be captured in various stages from buds to full bloom.




I tried to isolate the flowers with a blurred background. This was difficult because there are many flowers and buds in close proximity. I must admit that I was not totally successful this time and probably should have another go at it. Some of the backgrounds were still a little too busy.




I shot wide open with compositions of more then one flower. Trying to have one flower in focus with the rest blurred in the background. I always try to have the stamen in focus. Sometimes it works when they are not but I find that I usually like the images where they are in focus best. I may try again with another lens or visit the nursery for another subject. Definitely more spring flowers to come…





16 thoughts on “Working a Subject – Potted Aquilegia Origami

  1. I find photographing in the garden pretty challenging – not least because my garden is something of a jungle and it’s night on impossible to get a decent composition! This is a lovely collection and I agree that (mostly) keeping the stamen in focus works best – a bit like eyes in a portrait.
    Your second shot is lovely with great clarity and the plant stands out well against the background. I love the point of view and dof of the third but find the background with a single flower a little distracting. In this instance, as the stamen is the focal point, perhaps having the entire background filled with blurred petals would have worked better? (Need to buy more plants! 🙂 ) My favourite by far however is the fourth with its sublime delicacy and muted colours; I also find that the simplicity of this enables me to see the details more. Speaking of which, shame about the nibbles on the leaf – a minor distraction to a beautiful image!

  2. Gorgeous photos! I have to admit I never know what to focus on with flowers, each shot seems to have something unique to communicate.

  3. The first, second and fourth images are stunning.

    Like you, I find it hard to isolate just one flower sometimes, but even your last shot works quite well too. At worst, sometimes I gently bend a leaf or flower back behind another to try and get just one flower in the frame.

    I like the stamens in focus too, but have shot a couple of nice ones side on with the closest petal of a daisy in focus.

    1. I have a shot that will be in my next post that is just the petals and a very shallow depth of field. I think it’s the best of the bunch but those are very hard to do well. The focus has to be just right and the same with the depth of field. Thanks for the feedback, I always appreciate it.

  4. I think they are all excellent photos, but if I have to choose a favourite it would be the 3rd image because the stamens are so sharp! Good ideas and thanks for the tips. Actually taking a pot indoors would help a lot as one of the main difficulties in photographing flowers is the wind!
    Have a great weekend.
    Jude xx

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