How to shoot flowers artistically

Fine Art Photography by Manuela Metra


Flowers are the center of my fine art work, I could say the heart. Since always I love fine art’s still life, one of my very great love is Giorgio Morandi, while, going back in time, apart the Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio the Dutch Masters are by far in my opinion unsurpassed and unsurpassable. Photographing flowers in an artistic way is not easy. There is the macro photography that occupies a large part of the flower photography section, there is then the botany photography, but just to stand out from these areas you need to understand what it means and how you can take pictures’ flowers in an artistic way.The flower, as all the plant world, fruits and leaves, offers, those who like me loves to study the subject, enormous possibilities and advantages. Chief among them is the absolute control. So can choose both the subject, the type of light, both the time. This allows you to get into a meditative mindset. Entering this quality is essential to be able to extrapolate the artistic and personal appearance by a flower which otherwise in the best of cases fall in the aforementioned fields, macros and botany, in the worst will only banal. To start I would say that a large impact will result from the choice of a white background and an high-key photography, or a black, a low-key photography. You can go to see Mapplethorpe‘s flowers and the Irving Penn flowers which have two styles and two completely different aesthetic approaches. You can take a look at Kate Scott Studio (using the scanner not the camera) and my floral portfolio on Vogue
Then surely the first step is as always create an aesthetic culture, study and see with whom you have the most affinity. Second step : “copy”, try to reproduce the light, the cut and the atmosphere of others Masterpieces as an exercise. It ‘a chisel work, with much waste and early maybe some disappointment that perseverance and maturity aesthetic reward later. Afford to make mistakes and make a path is crucial. But we now come to the guidelines:
White background and black background:
As you can see the emotional impact is very different. Another important aspect is if you want to make a composition or a single flower. The composition has the complex rules that can be understood in part by observing the Dutch Masters. Important will be the color and arrangement of flowers. A very beautiful book is: Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst. It is important to choose not too perfect and young flowers, in favor of something more interesting.
In case you decide for single flower shape of the flower and the photographic cut must be carefully chosen. Finally you might want to do a still life with glass, in this case it is essential to choose a beautiful vase and control reflections in the room, with curtains and panels, in order to have on the vessel and took only pleasant reflections. Choose film or digital, color or black and white is another step further. The film has a full flavor, bite and mineral blacks, requires the press possibly by hand, and then scan. Working in digital has its advantages for file capture immediacy. A choice not exclude the other, as the bnw not exclude the color. Happy shots!






Calla lily on film and precious gold hand print of Jacopo bianco e Nero


Hi, I’m Manuela, urban potter and Italian artist who’s passionate about exploring the expressive potential of clay. With a love for Wabi Sabi aesthetics and the beauty of imperfection, I create bespoke ceramics, paintings, and fine art photography. My studio, nestled in the charming city of Milan, is a magical box where creativity runs wild and beauty is abundant. Whether you’re looking to bring a touch of magic into your everyday life, or simply to explore your creative side through art therapy I’m here to inspire and encourage you on your journey. I bring art into the world and celebrate the beauty in every moment. This blog is my Artistic Salad, filled with creativity, beauty, joie de vivre, passion and tools for creative minds.

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