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We asked our friends over at Washington Photo Safari to give us some tips on shooting those beautiful Spring blooms. They offer a variety Cherry Blossom classes, in the DC area, in honor of the popular Cherry Blossom Festival in the Spring. Here is what instructor E. David Luria said about capturing the best shot:

What is the best time of day to shoot?

Early morning or late afternoon (the golden hour) is always the best time to shoot flowers, or any other subjects. With the sun low in the sky, the light is softer. The photographer can lie down on the ground and get the sun shining through the flower or blossom petals, it makes a nice effect. Flowers should be done in the shade, not bright sun, for the nicest color effect
What equipment do you recommend?
Any camera or any lens is fine for flowers. The photographer should get in low and close. A macro lens enables the photograph to get in really tight on the details of an individual flower or blossom
* We recommend our Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.
Camera settings?
Manual Mode, set ISO low at 200 or 400, put aperture at f/8 and play with the shutter speed to get the most saturated color.  If there is any wind, shutter speed should be 1/60th of a second or higher to avoid blur. Opening up the aperture (f/1.8, f/2, f/3.5) allows more blur in background, closing down lens (f/16, f/22) provides sharper background if desired.
Tips on framing?
Put flowers or colorful bushes at bottom third of picture to make a nice bottom-frame. Place overarching tree blossoms at top third of picture as a top frame over a building or monument (especially branches of cherry blossoms, magnolia, dogwood, apple blossoms in the spring and deep red maple leaf branches in the fall.)
Any last tips?
To really highlight the color of a single flower or blossom, place a piece of black or gray cardboard in back of the flower.  Any color against black is always very pretty.
In the DC area? Check out all of the upcoming Cherry Blossom Classes offered by Washington Photo Safari.


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