Flowers From A Bug’s Perspective

Flowers From A Bug’s Perspective

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Tomasi, owner and designer for Tiare Floral Design, booked me for another shoot a couple weeks ago. We’ve worked on a handful of projects together, but the past shoots had been more focused on floral pieces he had designed. This shoot was about all of the raw materials used for the collective pieces, with the idea that we can showcase all of the different flower elements Tomasi uses in his work. With this showcased on his soon-to-come new website, it will give clients the option to pick and choose different elements, and with that info, Tomasi can create with the selected elements.

The main objective with this shoot was to get close and personal with the different flowers. Enter the 100mm macro lens. This entire shoot was executed with this lens, and aside from a couple longer shots, I consistently maintained only 1-6 inches between the lens and the flowers. It was all about the detail, the color, and showing how spectacular these exotic flowers really are. Tomasi hand picks and has the flowers delivered to him from all over the world, so these are not the kinda of stuff you’ll see sitting in your local Safeway.

When you get this close the to flowers, with such great camera equipment, you see features and details you don’t even pick up with your eye, you didn’t know they were there. Even Tomasi had a couple moments where he said “what is that?” when looking at the macro photos. Getting this close, flashing a bunch of light, and getting great focus reveals more than Tomasi saw on a regular basis. Of course, it also brought out the “flaws” in the flowers. All these flowers looked faked from a normal perspective because they looked so perfect, but getting this close, it was hard to find anything that was “perfect.” We could see micro beads of sweat on the flowers, even texture of the pollen that was being released.

Because we didn’t need a lot of room to do this shoot, Tomasi came over to my place, where I had my camera tethered to my 24″ iMac. This way Tomasi can be sitting at the computer and watch the photos pop up on the computer screen in realtime. Tethering is an awesome thing. Most importantly, it allows my clients to see the photos as we are executing the shoot, so that we get that instant feedback (from both the camera and my client), and work together if we need to make tweaks. I can see where a lot of photographers wouldn’t be comfortable doing this, having their work up for all to see without any post processing. Well, if you saw my workflow in post… there isn’t much to it. I do all my work at time of capture with the lighting, so my post is, if anything, a small tweak of the exposure or a slight bump in vibrancy, and that’s it. Not a single one of my photos have ever touched Photoshop. So when my client sees that photo pop up on the screen, right out of the camera, that’s about it. Even though the camera has a small 3″ LCD on the back for review, it’s nothing like a full 24″ screen to see all the details, focus points, etc. I’m really hoping one day that Apple comes out with a way to tether my cameras to say… an iPad, with a 10″ screen. It’ll be small, mobile, and totally do-able for on-location shooting. So how about it, Apple?

There we just so many good shots from this session. Of course, I’m still nervous when shooting product photography. I feel a lot more pressure to perform and execute my lighting with the product photography. I guess when I’m shooting portraits, it’s very much an interaction between myself and the subject(s), and I can get a lot out of a person to make a photo composition “work.” With products, they just sit there, and it’s all on me with the lighting, not only to make it look great, but also to meet the marketing vision of my clients. As much as I feel the pressure, I also love it at the same time. Tomasi came this time with a floral magazine, of which the photos in it were executed by some of the best floral photographers working today. It’s a bit of pressure, Tomasi pointing to these and saying “something like this.” Well, at least it’s a starting point to know that I’m getting a ballpark template to start with, seeing what Tomasi says, and then going from there. I was able to breathe a sigh of relief soon after we started, Tomasi says “ooo, I like these, way more than the ones in the magazine.” My one single thought, “booyah.” I can love a photo all day long, but if my paying client isn’t thrilled, I’m not doing my job.

We ran through a handful of flowers, each one bringing something new, whether that was shape, color, or texture. I love shooting this stuff cause it’s so different. It’s like shooting in an exotic location, because by default, you are getting something fresh and it makes everyone stop and look.

I just decided, I’m going to split this post into two pieces. There is just too much good stuff from this shoot. So keep a lookout on the second half. Don’t you just hate that! It’s like when you were a kid, watching cartoons. You’re watching your fav show on Saturday morning, and the 30 minutes are about up. There is just so much going on, and you know there is no way that all this drama isn’t going to get sewn up in the next 3 minutes. And there is it, the “to be continued” text. The next Saturday morning couldn’t come fast enough. Well, I promise it won’t be a week from now!

Also want want to take a second to thank Tomasi for leaving me some of the flowers for around the house. I know that may make me sound a little… anit-male, but come on… these things are cool looking! He’ll often offer to leave some saying “they’ll just go bad at my place.” Of course I never pass on the offer. How often do you get to have exotic flowers shipped directly here from some far-off location?!

Lots of posts coming this week, so check back often!