Interested in Photographing Flowers? Get an Orchid

by Sean Setters
 
During their visit this past weekend, my wife's parents bought us an orchid that now resides on our dining room table. While we often have an orchid around the house, the intriguing pattern on this particular orchid's blooms along with its conspicuous location meant that it wouldn't take me long before I was motivated to drag it into the studio to see what I could do with it.
 
In terms of difficulty, I'd rank orchids in the medium range as far as flowering subjects go. I find flowers with deeper structures to be more difficult to capture in a captivating way, but the unique shapes found in orchid blooms, along with the blooms close proximity to one another, can make them challenging to photograph.
 
So what trait makes an orchid an excellent subject for the budding (pun intended) flower photographer? In a word – longevity.
 
Typically speaking, an orchid will bloom once or twice a year and those blooms will last anywhere from 2-4 months. To put that into perspective, a rose bloom typically lasts only about a week (to be fair, though, some rose plants bloom repeatedly). Even the low end of an orchid's longevity range provides a busy photographer with ample opportunities to photograph the plant before its blooms disappear. In fact, one of the busiest photographers I know often uses orchids in the sample photos of his reviews.
 
For the image atop this post, I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens set to f/8, 1/160 sec, ISO 100. I captured 19 incrementally focused frames using Magic Lantern's Focus Stacking feature (use Magic Lantern at your own risk – the Canon EOS RP has a focus bracketing feature built-in). The lighting was provided by two radio triggered studio lights placed to the left and right of the camera (the right one was behind the subject) with gridded strip boxes.
 
For a larger resolution version of the image, check out my Flickr photostream.
Posted: 3/13/2019 8:30:30 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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