Flowers tend to be one of the first subjects that new photographers set their eyes on. Flowers are already so beautiful, and they don’t fidget or run away. Photographing flowers should be easy. In the end, though, their natural beauty and commonness can make them harder to photograph, not easier. Your photo has to somehow be as beautiful as the flower itself. And it has to stand out from the countless other flower photos everyone has seen before.
Photographer Tammy Schild has managed to be successful at both of these challenges. She has almost 11,000 followers on Flickr, and for a good reason. Her photos capture the delicate beauty of flowers (and other subjects), while also presenting a viewpoint unique from the rest.
Although flowers aren’t her only focus as a photographer, she does love being outdoors, and her pictures reflect that joy. “To get out in nature and wander to see what little treasures I may find is just pure bliss for me. I feel like any frustrations or stresses that I have fade away and I am able to just enjoy the moment,” she says.
Pure and Simple
Wild & Free
Photography has always given Tammy a sense of exhilaration, even as a child, but she only fell “head over heels” for it about 8 years ago. Flowers are one of her favorite subjects. She even calls them “the perfect model.”
Fortunately, there are plenty of flowers around her home, either in her yard or within walking distance. She goes out to shoot them in the morning or evening, when the light is perfect, or on bright, overcast days when the light is always great. She especially loves overcast days like that because she can go out and shoot all day long.
Focusing on the small details of flowers has given Tammy a fresh view on life, too. This was especially true when she took a macro photo of a flower for the first time. “Seeing a flower through a macro lens is a magical experience,” she says. “To see those intricate little details that before went unnoticed is just amazing and makes you look at the world in a different way. You all of a sudden pay closer attention to everything around you down to the tiniest little flower, and you want to see and capture them all.”
A Single Drop
The last dance
With so many flowers to see and capture, it might be tempting to go out and take 500 random flower photos, leaving time to sort through them later. Tammy doesn’t take this approach, though. Before taking each photo, she likes to make sure everything is exactly how she wants it.
This method ultimately cuts down on post-processing. Her final pictures haven’t been altered much from their originals. “I initially just clean the image up a bit if needed… little specks of dirt on a flower’s petals or anything else that I find distracting.” Then, depending on her mood, she might soften the image or add a vignette, as well as bring the focus more to where she wants it.
Taking time before shooting is her main piece of advice for new photographers. Though flowers are small and commonplace, they’re worth the same attention as other subjects. “Study them, look at them from all angles, pay careful attention to the surroundings and the background and especially the light.” In particular, you should avoid direct sunlight.
Her other advice deals mainly with how you approach the experience of being outdoors, photographing flowers. “Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty. Lie down on the ground if you have to, and get yourself eye-level with the flower. The most important thing is to have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment. Shoot what you find beautiful and what inspires you, and just enjoy the experience.”
Holding on to you
Don’t go away
Gems amongst the gold
Memories of Spring
A dainty bouquet
The last dandelion