‘ Orchids are a far more challenging subject to capture than many people may think they are’
I have been photographing wild orchids for a couple of years now, since I have lived in France (November 2007) and every year I love it when the Orchid season starts off. There are so many different species that it keeps amazing me how beautiful these flowers are, with their great details and colours.
Although Orchids do not run or fly away like insects and birds, they are a far more challenging subject to capture than many people may think. Orchids grow in very exposed situations such as hill tops or in open grassy places and on roadsides.
Therefore I think there are two important things to bear in mind before you take an image of an Orchid: subject movement and image background.
Early mornings and late afternoons provide us normally with nice light and that is often the time when wind shows up. I know that some other photographers use perspex box shelters to avoid ‘the wind movement problem’, but personally I (sometimes) like to add some movement in my images. Like I did in the image above.
I just wait for the little times when the wind hold its breath a little bit so that the flower is in focus and then shoot the image.
The background of the image is very important for your composition. And this is the second tricky part with Orchids because of what I mentioned above, they grow in ‘busy’ surroundings. Unless you are planning to take an Orchid in its natural habitat, you need to isolate the subject from its background. This helps your eye to focus on the main subject.
I always look what kind of other flowers or grass grow behind the Orchid so that I can capture a nice colour contrast, like I did with the Common Spotted Orchid with the moth on top. I used a wide aperture to keep the main subject in focus and create a nice soft background with yellow defocussed flowers. Always use a tripod to prevent camera shake and a sharper end result.
Look for more flower photography in my flora gallery
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