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The Meaning of Roses: Capturing Memorable Mother's Day Photos

How to Photograph Mother's Day and the Meaning of Roses

by Kerry Drager

Kathy and Chloe in Maui
Kathy and Chloe in Maui
© Bryan F. Peterson
All Rights Reserved

Photographing Mother's Day: Tips for Family Pictures

Picturing people is always a creative pursuit, as demonstrated by BetterPhoto shooters. That's especially true with outdoor portraits, which feature the beauty of natural light.

A solid overcast sky, in fact, acts like a giant white umbrella to cast soft and even light - ideal for portraits. But early-morning or late-day sunlight can put your subject in a beautiful warm glow. Also, sidelight or window light can create a striking mood portrait. Harsh, sunny midday? Even up the lighting extremes ... by either filling in the shadows with fill-in flash, or by moving your subjects into open shade.

Study the creative images by BetterPhoto members and instructors, and you'll see not only all sorts of lighting, but compositions too. Many pictures offer a full-length look of both mother and child, while others are "head-and-shoulders" shots, and still others are tight close-ups. Some are formal portraits, many are casual portraits, and more than a few are eye-catching candids. In a couple of images, the child is shown alone ... except for the mother's loving hands.

For photography ideas and inspiration, review BetterPhoto's Mother and Child Photos and Pictures gallery.

Back Lit Rose
Back Lit Rose
© Jim Miotke
All Rights Reserved

Photographing the Meaning of Roses: Tips and Tricks

As for shooting options, roses are surprisingly varied. Try filling the frame with your subject's colors, textures, curves, and swirls. Or back up a bit - or zoom out a little - for another angle on the flower's beauty.

In fact, the only limiting factor in photographing roses is a creative one, not an equipment one. Whether you have a simple point-and-shoot camera or a sophisticated SLR, you can record beautiful pictures of roses. Some shooting suggestions:

  • Watch your background. Roses are so beautiful, you don't want a "busy" background - lots of objects, colors, or highlights that draw attention away from your subject.

  • Black and white ... why not? As colorful as roses are, they can look verrrry nice in black and white.

  • As for lighting, what works best for people also works best for flowers! That is, beware of extreme lighting contrast - a scene filled with glaring highlights and deep shadows. Instead, try fill flash, a reflector, or a diffusion disc to soften the light. Or move into the shade, or photograph in the warm light of early or late day. An overcast day? Bring out your camera!

  • For ideas and inspiration, don't miss BetterPhoto's Pictures of Roses gallery.

Looking Up Slightly
Looking Up Slightly
© Jim Miotke
All Rights Reserved

Resources for Photographing Mother's Day and the Meaning of Roses

Related how-to articles:
BetterPhoto's galleries:

The Rose
The Rose
© Kristi A. Howson
All Rights Reserved
Related BetterPhoto online courses: Lastly, check out


About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kerry Drager
Photography Instructor: Kerry Drager
The content manager and course advisor for, Kerry Drager is also the co-author of two books: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography (2011) and The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light (2012). In addition, he teaches photography online at BetterPhoto's digital photography school. See his instructor bio and list of courses...

Be sure to check out Kerry's Pro BetterPholio website -

Also, he is the author of Scenic Photography 101, the photographer of the photo-essay books The Golden Dream: California from Gold Rush to Statehood and California Desert , a contributor to the books BetterPhoto Basics and Daybreak 2000, and a co-photographer of Portrait of California. In addition, Kerry was profiled in the April 1994 issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine and in Vik Orenstein's 2010 book The Photographer's Market Guide to Building Your Photography Business, and his website was showcased in the January 2003 issue of Shutterbug magazine. Plus, his work has appeared in magazines, Hallmark cards and Sierra Club calendars, and in advertising campaigns for American Express and Sinar Bron Imaging.

Also see his Visual Creativity photography blog, and follow Kerry on Facebook.

Kerry lives with his wife, Mary, on California's Central Coast, with their three Newfoundland dogs, four cats, and a mixed terrier.

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