How To Improve Exposure And Sharpness In Your Flower Photography

Flower photography is one of the most stunning factors to taking photos. Not only are flowers abundant, but they are the personification of elegance. It’s simple to produce a beautiful flower photo, however once in a while we come across a difficulty.

In order to photograph delightful flower photos we first have to be able to have a goal in mind. In other words we must know what the outcome will be i.e. how we want the final photo to appear. A fantastic way to do that is to retain a checklist. We can’t always know exactly, but have a mental image in your mind.

On your checklist should be things that assist to create fantastically sharp flower pictures. At the top of your list should be what light to shoot in. (More on this in a jiffy). Also, it is a good idea to have a tripod so your compact is kept as still as possible. The tripod makes it possible for for clear photos. Thirdly, take photos using RAW rather than Jpeg. When you take photos using RAW you get the best quality in your shooting and the shot will remain in good condition for a lot of years.

Photography is all about light, and since your flowers are outdoors, you need to observe the lighting carefully. If you shoot in bright sun you can possibly overexpose the image. On the other hand you can retain too much shadow within your shot. Both of these aspects can completely ruin your flower photo.

From time to time we photograph a flower that is resting right in brilliant sun. We may not have control over the lighting or the flowers position. (Photographing in the botanical gardens is an illustration.) If your flower is white, pale yellow or soft pink, then too much intense brightness can over saturate several or every one of of the flowers petals. When we have too much luminosity on our flowers, the flower loses detail as a result of this colour saturation.

What can be done about this? Enter Lightroom. Lightroom is owned by Adobe who also designed Photoshop. Lightroom is an alternative photo editing software program. I find it the best photo editing program I have ever used. You can trial it free for thirty days at Adobes website.

Lightroom has sections called “panels” made of controls. These controls are in the appearance of sliders you can move from left to right. Each of these sliders controls different aspects of light. The “Highlights” slider increases or lessens the quantity of stark, bright light in your photo. “Exposure” controls how much brightness and darkness the photo has (plainly controls the exposure of the photo). “Whites” is an adjustment that alters how bright your white areas are in the photo.

In the case of an flower that has too much exposure, we want to utilise these three various controls. If you want to decrease any of these aspects of the photo all you have to do is shift the slider to the left. Your flower photo will appear less bright and have a lesser amount of harsh, bright light within it.

How about increase in the sharpening in your flower photo? Lightroom has a little panel called “Detail”. Once you open this little panel you will then see 4 controls that manipulate sharpening of the photo:

1. Amount
2. Radius
3. Detail
4. Masking

All these four sliders influence how clear your flower photo is. The best way is to shift the sliders to the right hand side until you see the photo has sharpened to an gratifying level. “Amount” refers to how much sharpening you increase as a consequence of changing the slider. “Radius” relates to how big the region of sharpening is. “Detail” means how much detail you want the sharpening to have. “Masking” merely removes sharpening over the areas that doesn’t really need as much sharpening. Areas of black and deep dark grey would be an example.

Would you be interested to see how I have altered my flower photo in Lightroom? I would be delighted to show you! I have produced a video that you can observe at Digital Photography Secrets that demonstrates how to complete this process from start to finish.

In order to take begin photographing take charming flower photos it is preferable to shoot in filtered light (from an overcast day), and make use of a tripod to keep the camera motionless. Even if you make use of the auto setting on your camera, it doesn’t matter too much. The vital thing is that good quality lighting will give you the best results.


“Over exposed Flower”.

Here is the flower corrected in Lightroom 4. (And a black and white flower I tried in Lightroom too.


Want to see this process in action, in real time? You can! Just watch the video here: How To Desaturate and Sharpen Your Flower Photos.


Amy Renfrey is a professional photography teacher. She is the author of several photography ebooks and a monthly photography emagazine. She shows you how to take stunning photos every single time, even if you have never used a digital camera before. Click here to see her photography ezine.


About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (4)

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  1. Suni says:

    You have wonderful site, and lot of information that is good to me.

  2. Faye says:

    Such beautiful photos. Thanks for a great site, and thank you for your such beautiful monthly photography emag. Such an incredible resource for all photographers.

  3. Angela says:

    Thanks Amy, I was able to sharpen up my flowers. I take roses quite a lot, I love to photograph them and with my mother next to them too. I love your photography magazine Amy it is such great help to me all the time,

  4. Katherine says:

    I love flower photography. Thanks Amy

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