Although general flower photography is increasing in popularity with each passing year, we know that there are some specific wedding photography situations where knowing how to photograph white flowers can be required due to the bride’s bouquet. With the steady increase in popularity of flower photography and wedding photography already being a very popular niche, it should come as no surprise that we are seeing more and more people reaching out and asking questions similar to “How do you photograph white flowers?“.
Due to seeing more and more people specifically requesting advice on capturing high quality photographs of white flowers with no sign of this trend slowing, we have decided to publish this guide to help as many of our readers as possible. Our goal is to ensure that you will be able to improve your image quality that involves any type of white flower in pretty much any photography situation that you are able to think of.
When most people initially think of capturing photographs of white flowers, they usually think of a decent, well lit flower photography session or a wedding photography session where you are able to pose the brides bouquet for optimal lighting and effect. Unfortunately though, this is not always the case and conditions can often be less than ideal so our tips and tricks below should be able to help you.
Camera Settings For Photographing White Flowers
The most important thing to get right from the very start is to ensure that you have prepped your camera to ensure that you are able to get the best possible performance for your photography sessions right out the gate. Although we always recommend that you test and adjust as required when on location, we have some recommended initial settings for you to work with.
When it comes to your cameras white balance setting, you will usually have to factor in your light sources, especially when the flowers that you are photographing are white. With the majority of wedding photography and flower photography situations allowing you to use your own light source, we would recommend that you stick with a 5600K light output to try and match regular daylight.
You can then use the 5600K white balance setting on your camera body to help ensure that you capture the whiteness of the flowers as best as possible. Keep in mind that some cameras do now have an option in their white balance settings called “Daylight” and this is the same as setting it to 5600K.
Due to white balance being such an easy fix in post production, we do see some photographers using slightly different white balance settings as they can fix any issues in post production. Although we often try to get the best photograph possible from the very start, some situations where you are photographing white flowers will require post production editing to offer your clients the best possible photograph.
A common cause of this, especially in the wedding photography niche is if the happy couple want to you capture photographs of the bride and her bouquet while there are coloured disco lights, sparklers, or fireworks going off at the same time. This usually wouldent cause an issue with any other colour of flowers but the white petals can end up looking slightly out of place in these specific situations when your white balance is set to 5600K so this is where post production comes in to save the day.
As we touched on above, this is going to depend on the exact situation that you are working in but many photographers who are photographing flowers, regardless of their colour will start with an ISO between 100 and 200 and then adjust from there. This can offer you great image quality but your lighting will definitely come into play and less ideal lighting will require you to crank your ISO settings up.
If you are working in a macro photography niche and capturing white flowers while going for the best detail possible then you will have to test and adjust your ISO settings to avoid grain too. For florists capturing the flowers that they have in stock for their website and social media profiles, an initial ISO setting of 100 to 200 should be able to get the job done without issue though.
Although you can play around with your shutter speed if you like, most people will probably be able to just set their shutter speed to 1/125 and be done with it. This should cover you for the vast majority, if not all situations where you will be capturing photographs that have white flowers in the frame. There’s no need to overcomplicate the process and waste time on something like shutter speed but if you really don’t like the image quality when using 1/125 you can play around with other options if needed.
We always recommend that people keep their camera body in manual mode for flower photography. Although some popular camera brands are making great progress when it comes to their auto modes, we still feel that they have a fair way to go yet. Using your camera in manual mode ensures that you are able to tweak the settings yourself for optimal image quality.
Flash Settings For White Flowers
In our opinion, you should always be using your flash in manual mode, if you have an entry-level flash unit that only has auto mode, you may actually be better off not using your flash due to overexposure potential. Once you have our flash unit in manual mode, set it to 1/8 or even 1/16 power output so you get a small burst of light as white flowers really don’t need much additional lighting and can easily be overexposed.
Lens Aperture For White Flowers
Again, this is going to depend on the available lighting that you have but there’s no need for a super-fast, expensive aperture setting on your lens. White flowers do well in even minimal lighting meaning that an aperture of f/5.6 or even f/8 should be able to capture great quality photographs for you. This means that there’s no need to go out and spend more money than needed on a super-fast lens letting you save a little money if you are a beginner photography and you don’t have a huge collection of camera accessories yet.