Spring is finally here ... thank goodness! With the change in the weather comes one of my favorite times to photograph nature ... particularly the flowers and buds of springtime!
It's easy to get caught up in the beauty and color of these emerging blossoms, but a note first about composition; the most eye-catching images seek to isolate an element in the frame. In other words, don't try to shoot the whole flowering tree or garden because it will look too cluttered ... instead isolate a single flower or just a few blooms. I tend to do this by filling the frame with a flower(s) and blurring the background. For example, simply choose a bud in a tree that has several feet behind it uncluttered (without other distracting elements). Choose a larger aperture (2.8 to 4), and you will see that it is relatively easy to throw everything but the blossom out of focus. And with the beautiful springtime colors, sometimes you can get a very pleasing bokeh.
Shooting flowers is fairly easy, but you can improve your odds of getting an eye-catching shot by picking a day with little or no wind, which makes it easier to compose the image and is likely to improve sharpness. And yes ... I do prefer to use a tripod when I do this. If you go through the trouble to set your camera on a tripod and trip the shutter with your timer, you can enhance things even more by using a small handheld reflector to control how natural light illuminates the flower for some wonderful effects.