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Christmas Roses Editor's Pick   Christmas Roses
Christmas Roses
I'm admittedly lousy at flower photos. I'd like your help in how to improve this image and tips for further photos.
© William C. Raco
Sony Cyber-shot DS...
Joy Brown
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2001
    This is a great shot, Bill! The black background really sets off the flowers and the composition is great. Don't be so hard on yourself!!!

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12/29/2003 5:37:00 AM

Colette M. Metcalf
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/29/2003

And what is so lousy about this, Bill??? This is WONDERFUL!!!

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12/29/2003 5:40:42 AM

Stephen Zacker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2003


I think you did a very nice job on this.

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12/29/2003 5:40:51 AM

Leanne M.E. Boyd
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/16/2003

Bill, I don't know what you are talking about. This is wonderful!

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12/29/2003 5:50:07 AM

Evy Johansen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/16/2002
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This is a very beautiful image, Bill!

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12/29/2003 5:52:50 AM

Sharon D. Waters
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/13/2003

Awe so sweet of you to send us all flowers!!Very pretty!

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12/29/2003 6:15:27 AM

Charlene Bayerle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/9/2003

Bill, this is beautiful!!! Beautiful color in the roses and I the black background really sets the color.

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12/29/2003 6:27:21 AM

Claudia Kuhn
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2003
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Looks good to me Bill, too. Just try all angles out, try roses without the white baby's breath, experiment, and you'll find many other great pics with these roses!

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12/29/2003 6:49:51 AM

Brenda W. LaFleur
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/2/2003

Bill, I find the image a bit too busy. I like Claudia's suggetion of shooting without the baby's breath. I like the dark background and your exposure is perfect! You've got good detail through the image too. Sometimes though a more shallow dof works in flower images where one flower is in focus and others are blurred. I usually try 'em both ways. Keep shooting those florals... you'll be a flower photographer before you know it!

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12/29/2003 6:55:11 AM

Rick Riddle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/30/2002

Excellent Colors & Detail William Nice Shot.

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12/29/2003 7:09:19 AM

Murry Grigsby
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/12/2002

This is a very pleasing image, Bill. The design, light and colors are fine. It is very difficult to shoot an OUTSTANDING flower image because so many people shot flower shots and there are tons of good shots. It usually takes an unusual perspective, a rare flower, stunning light or something that sets the image apart from all the others. These shots are rare indeed! So the best advise and several have already given it to you is to keep shooting and experimenting!

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12/29/2003 7:39:45 AM

Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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I can't help you there, I'm the worst at flowers! I like it, though.

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12/29/2003 7:48:22 AM

Barbara Bergeron
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2003

I have not be able to shoot flowers very well myself. This is done very nicely with the black background and detail. I think one or two roses a little closer would be better. The colors are pretty enough that the white baby's breath takes away from the vibrant roses. Nice job tho. Thanks for submitting because I have learned something too!

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12/29/2003 7:52:10 AM

Gary O`Dell  

You have done an admirable job Bill... like with all subjects, we need to develop our own style and then practice, practice, practice... I always try to use the existing light to showcase the beauty and lines of my flower subject... again well done Bill

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12/29/2003 8:14:24 AM

Shirley L. Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/14/2002

Bill I think you did an excellent job on this!!!Im not to good at flowers myself.....But really love this image!!!!!

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12/29/2003 9:11:26 AM

Ellen Peach
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/30/2002

Looks good to me, know the only thing I would have done is moved in closer due to my macro addiction*~*!

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12/29/2003 9:54:28 AM

Patricia A. Kuniega
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/17/2003

You captured the range of color on these roses wonderfully Bill! Since color and shape are the most interesting qualities, I would move in closer to capture even more than you did. See the way the petals curl and you get the color on color effect? Focus in. The baby's breath does make it feel like it's more of a flower arrangement. That back left rose isn't doing anything for your composition, so I'd have removed it physically. I'm like Ellen and like to fill the frame with as much flower as I can get... unless I'm primarily emphasing the shape or composition and the black background really hightlights that. The composition of three on the angle that you chose is a tough one for anyone to pull off, so as Brenda said, selectively focusing on one rose, with the others softer would be nice. I always pull the piece apart and shoot one, then two, and so on until I find different combinations that work. Nothing beats natural lighting near a window if you can get it.

This concludes Lesson #1. Please turn the tape over and continue with Lesson #2. : )

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12/29/2003 12:11:43 PM

William C. Raco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/4/2003
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Thank you all so much for the suggestions, tips and encouragement. I'll work on the ideas and show you my progress in the future. At least I hope it will be progress ;-D
Happy New Year!

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12/29/2003 12:52:11 PM

Carol Brill
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2003

Wow, Bill, this is not only a lovely photo but a great education in the art of flower photography! Thank you! I like the diagonal line you took here in composing this image as well as the clarity of the shot... looking foward to more!

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12/29/2003 3:38:50 PM

Susie Peek-Swint
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/23/2002

This is lovely Bill ~ you are too hard on yourself. I've enjoyed the photo discussion you've started. I agree lots of practice to find your own style. The beauty of digital is you can shoot from all angles and perspective then delete what you don't like. I look forward to seeing more of your work!

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12/29/2003 5:52:56 PM

Susan T. Evans
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/16/2003

Bill, one thing I have learned in shooting flowers is to shoot from all perspectives, move your camera around, getting closer, move back a little, move around, turn the flower, and I do love all the suggestions above! A shallow dof, one flower in focus, the others blurred, and creative lighting.

This is a really good start - however, I think it is too complicated. When doing flowers, I find what works best is to keep your compostion really simple, there is just too much flower here. One flower closeup with great lighting and filling the frame would be awesome.

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12/29/2003 6:08:18 PM

Karen M. Kroll
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/24/2003

I've had great success with shooting flowers by moving the display of flowers near an early morning window, casting a soft glow on the flowers and eliminating any other need for light. (Unless of course you want to add a touch of romance/drama by adding a diffused light from underneaty. Bring your subject in closer and choose either a wide angle lens, a macro lens, or out of the ordinary, a long lens. Keep your subject simple, keep the camera on a tripod, use ISO 100 and a long exposure. You will be very happy with your results.

I'll take several pictures from all diferent angles and exposures. You can go through alot of pics, but you will find many that you will be happy with. And it is a good way to learn, too.

Good luck!


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12/30/2003 3:54:40 AM

Darren K. Fisher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/7/2002
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Hey Bill boy you have gotten some great ideas here, I can not waite to see what you come up with next. I have to say I like what you have here. The colors and dark bg are great. The one thing that I have learned myself is Natural light is the most complamenting thing for flowers. Keeping it simple really helps as well. Now what I am seeing here is the frame filled with the babies breath and a rose smack dab in the middle and of course your black bg showing through the baby breath, and did I did just tell you simple Oh well...LOL...

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12/30/2003 5:30:03 AM

William C. Raco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/4/2003
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Thank you all, again, for the great lessons.
Your advice, opinions and comments are very much appreciated.
You are a great bunch.


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12/30/2003 5:37:53 AM

Charlie Quick  

My eye seems to be drawn towards the lower lefthand corner of the image, other than that, I think you have done a great job! the black background sets the color of the flowers off , I don't know if that's what I would have chosen to do, but it looks great! It makes me want to go ahead and get a digital SLR and start shooting again! Great work

Charlie Quick

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12/30/2003 5:40:40 AM

Lamont G. Weide

The picture is perfectly exposed and would make a nice photo in a floral catalogue. Ask yourself what you want from the photo? In addition to this photo, I would have focused on one flower, perhaps the front one. Come down from the top and fill the frame with the one flower and minimize the depth of field. You might have to eliminate the white flowers. You could also cut off that flower and float if on water. With varying lighting and setups you could get some interesting effects. Feel free to look at some of my flowers. Again, take multiple photos with different purposes, that way you may have more than one good photo.

Lamont Weide

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12/30/2003 6:49:23 AM

Karen Engelbreth
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2003

Beautiful image, bill - love the colors and the composition!

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12/30/2003 11:39:25 AM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/27/2003

Good job of composing this image -- I like the 'Baby's Breath' -- I think it adds to the overall composition. I would have cropped a little closer in the upper right corner. The main issue you have here is using a small (I assume on-camera) flash to light the flowers. Using either window light or a large artificial source like a studio strobe with soft-box would give a softer, more natural looking image. Keep up the good work.
God Bless,

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12/31/2003 7:48:11 AM

Jaimie M. Sirovich  

These lessons are informative ... I'm glad someone's publishing something useful on the web =>

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3/2/2004 9:03:57 PM

Steve McCroskey  

Great shot!!
What time of day did you take the shot?
Was it an indoor set up?
I have taken shots of flowers during daylight hours with an auxillary flash- the background came out black, just like yours.
I think it makes for a more beautiful result!!!!
Steve McCroskey

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5/12/2004 8:23:44 PM

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