Two by two they came... | Daylily Blog on Photographing Twinning

Photographing flowers is an easy sport.  The flowers sit nicely without coaxing as you practice getting just the right shot.  A good flower photo gives you the feeling you are actually looking at the flowers in real life and not in your digital file folders on a cold afternoon in February. 

My two favorite daylily shots are the ultra-macro of a glistening throat and what I like to call "the twin shot."

A "twin shot" is a photograph that includes two blooms.  Taking a great twin shot is not as easy as it may sound.  The plant actually has to cooperate by opening two blooms that are spaced to allow both blossoms to open without interference from one another, but close enough to fill your lens with daylily goodness.  The above left photo is of H. 'Worthy One.' The center of this photo to me is the throat area of the bloom on the bottom. It is looking right at me. The bloom above it is facing in another direction and provides a different view of the bloom. The second bloom also provides depth to the photo. Even the little bit of purple petal peeking in the lower right of the shot gives me the impression that this is a plant with lots of blooms open today.

The best tip I ever got on photographing flowers was to "think like a flower."  That includes getting on their level and taking the photo from a plane even with their center.  Do not hulk above it and shoot down at it.  Get down and put the camera on its level.  Shoot with it, not at it.  I consider two centers when taking a daylily photo - the center of my viewfinder (or LED screen in modern terms) and the center of the motion or direction of the flower.  Below is H. 'Alpine Ruffles.'  The center of this photo is the point where these two blooms come together, but the emotion of the photo is their opposing directions, punctuated with the fluffy pollen facing off into the edges of the photo.  It's interesting.  It's movement.

When I approach a daylily to take its picture, I find its center of motion or direction - not just its physical center as in its throat, but the center of what its doing, which direction is it facing and from which direction its movement begins.  I start there because there are too many "daylily mug shots" out there of just the flower face looking straight into the camera.  Now, I love those too, but I think a great photograph has more personality, more movement and more ooomph than just a face on shot. 

The photo on the right is H. 'Brookwood Lee Causey.'  Its primary focal bloom fills the photo, but the one in the background, facing another way complements it nicely and shows that the bloom actually has a tightly ruffled edge not seen in the front bloom.  There is also a bud showing, which gives the photo more interest.

For those who are beginners at photographing flowers, check out your camera for a little setting called MACRO.  It is most often illustrated by an icon that is - get this- a flower!  Perfect for shooting our floral friends.  Use it.  Get to know it.  Love it!

Below are several more examples.  First is H. 'Inidan Giver.'  Notice the complementary phlox in the background of the twins.  In the middle is a great photo of a Bob Faulkner seedling.  The radiating throat in the bottom bloom is the center, and much like the Boorkwood example above, the background bloom offers a new direction of movement.  The third photo is a shot of two sets of twins in one photo.  In the foreground is H. 'Destined to See' and H. 'Pick of the Litter' is behind it, filling out the shot.  The intended focal point of the photo is the bloom on the lower right.  Did you see it that way, or did you focus on the pink flowers in the back first?  There is no wrong answer, just another perspective of the same photo.


I also take into consideration the time of day, the size of the flower and the complementary colors when composing a shot.  There are as many things to consider as there are flowers to photograph, but once you get a few sweet photos under your belt, you'll "see" the photos before you are even holding a camera. 

Photographing flowers isn’t just about documenting the fact that they once existed, if for only a day. It is about telling the flower’s story to immortalize it long after it has been composted.

capturing beauty
of just one fleeting moment-
is worth the trouble!



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