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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:05 pm 
Hello everyone!

My family owns a florist, and on our website we tend to use a lot of stock photo's taken by either Teleflora or FTD. While those are nice, they don't really show the talents and idea's that the shop has to offer. I'm trying to find a way to take some great shots of the arrangements we make, but am a bit unsure of the best way to go about this.

I know natural light is great, but the problem here is that when winter comes we really cant bring the flowers outside for minutes at a time trying to line up the right shot b/c the flowers will freeze.


I'm looking for some idea's on the best way to take some indoor photographs. As you can see in the picture above, I used a white bed sheet w/ a hight thread count so it wouldn't be transparent ... dont mind the creases, I just took it out of the package to take some tester pics to see how they would come out. I tried using the natural light coming through one of the windows, but it was oversaturated, plus I'm not sure if I really like the contrasting shadows.

Another problem this will bring up is having to take the picture at the right time of day for the light to come through the window. If it's too much of a hassle to do the set-up, they follow through with it. Unfortunately this has to be fairly simple b/c I will only be helping out there for the next few months, so the other staff members will need to know what to do.

I know I will need a tripod, but outside of that I'm unsure of where else to go with the set-up, such as natural v. artificial lights, types of lights to use, should I buy some cloth from a fabric store to create a bigger backdrop, etc ...

Any idea's will be greatly appreciated! The set-up doesn't have to be too simple since once it is set-up, it'll probably stay that way.



 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:26 pm 
Hi Eric,

I think artificial lighting is the way to go, like you said, taking pictures at the right time of the day is tough so in that aspect, natural lighting can produce inconsistent results. Additionally, you would want to avoid any shadows and if you use natural lighting(windows I presume?) that will be hard to achieve.

Get a couple of flashguns or a couple of spotlights although you should make sure that they are of a neutral colour. I think lighting from above would be ideal so as to avoid any shadows on either side. You could bounce the light off the ceiling or fire it straight down with a diffuser attached.

Try to keep your backdrop un-creased and further away from the subject. You don't want to cast a shadow on the backdrop or have the creases show up as this would spoil the "infinity" effect.

Hope that helps and good luck with your setup!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:41 pm 
Yes what grahm say, is true. But natural light is good stuff you knw how to use it!

What you want to do next time is to place a blanket of some sort on the window this will "difuse" the light so you wont be getting such harsh shadows which is something you dont want in an image like this,and then it would be great to have a refelcetor on the other side to reflect some light back diminishing those shadows even more, refelcotrs r easy biult or just use some blank peace of paper toghter!

hope that helps

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:48 pm 
Just some food for thought until one of the experienced people come along and give you a definitive answer to your question, as someone learning lighting myself I wanted to see what I would do in your situation, grabbed a similar subject matter and one day light. I used my home made softbox and reflector in a manner similar to the shot below (I ended up lowering the light to a point where it was much nearer level with the subject matter, and I also tilted the reflector so that it was shining much more at the base of the flower pot. I then shot my flash off the ceiling.

Excuse the mess we are in the process of moving my office and its a complete tip at the moment :oops:



I hope this helps you in some way but I am very new to this myself so if I have it wrong I am sure someone will point you in the right direction - I can remove this post if I'm way off the mark.

EDIT: Just noticed a couple of comments had been made between me starting this post and finishing it! (I actually hit reply then went off and set everything up, took the photos and replied) and it looks like I am saying the advice above was not from experienced people which is obviously not the case, so sorry Graham and Alex that will teach me to check a thread after I post it! LOL

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:09 pm 
Wow! I want to thank everyone for the fast and detailed replies.

grahamnp - What type of flash guns or spot lights do you suggest, and how much would this cost roughly? I agree that artificial lighting is going to be the best way to go since timing will be really hard. Most arrangements are completed hours or minutes before they go out, so it's not like I have a few days to mess around with taking the right shot. The backdrop was creased in this case b/c I wanted to take a quick pic to see how it would come out, and if the sheet was thick enough to not allow the background to come through it.

alex168 - unfortunately most of the windows that would be helpful for natural lighting are sky lights set in high ceilings, so it will be a pain to get up there to cover them slightly.

Mark-A - I love the set-up, it definitely gives me some ideas on what I can try to put together. I was looking around the shop yesterday after reading the posts on here and I found this cubby hole that could possible work as the perfect location. I can keep the set-up in there all year round since it isn't used for anything besides storing flower boxes that we occasionally need for weddings.


Do you guys think this will allow for enough room, or would I need more space for setting the lighting back further? I'll get the dimensions today so you have a better idea. To guesstimate, I would say it is 3' wide, 4' tall, 3 1/2' deep.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:06 pm 
Any type of flash gun would do I guess. It would help if they could be positioned off-camera and be triggered either by wireless or by cable. If they cannot be positioned off-camera, then get a diffuser(should be used anyway) or bounce cards and perhaps some reflectors.

I haven't used spot-lights personally but I have seen DIY setups that use those similar to the ones in Ikea.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:14 am
Posts: 599
Location: Netherlands
Have you considered photographing the flowers in a more "natural" environment such as on a nice old table with a background that would be fittin? I think the white cloth is great to isolate a subject, but it also makes it look a bit cold...

Canon 5D + 17-40 F4L + 50 F1.4 + 70-200 F2.8L
Velbon Sherpa 200R

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:11 pm 
Paukl wrote:
Have you considered photographing the flowers in a more "natural" environment such as on a nice old table with a background that would be fittin? I think the white cloth is great to isolate a subject, but it also makes it look a bit cold...

Well, there is a nice table in the gift shop - it's a big wagon wheel that was made into a table, but it is bolted into the ground so it cant be moved. My only concern here would be lighting, and possibly the background taking away from the photo.

I need to do something that has an easy, quick set-up - possibly something that can stay set-up the whole time. I'm only there for the next few months (i hope ... currently job searching), so the other staff there will need to be able to take the shots when I'm not around.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:25 am 
I checked the size of the cubby hole, it comes out to:

47" deep, 48" wide, 63" height ... so I was a bit off lol Much larger than I expected.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:32 am 
Have two bright lamps (no softbox needed) and buy one of these. Simple to set up, and if you shine light through the material, it will diffuse the light for you.

The only doubt that I have is whether it will be big enough for your requirements, but it is a sizeable light tent.

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