My two Amaryllis plants are blooming so I took advantage of the opportunity to capture some images of their large, showy flowers. I’ve had these plants for several years and they just keep getting bigger and better every year. Each year I shoot some photos but the image quality has often left me somewhat disappointed. So, this year I decided to pay close attention to detail and it paid off as I was pretty happy with the above shot.
One thing that made a big difference was the use of a reflector. I had just purchased a Lastolite reflector and was looking for a chance to try it out. As it happened, I only had to go out my front door. My first attempt using the reflector has sold me on it. In the past, I’ve been shooting the amaryllis mostly with natural light. Of course, when the sun is out the shadows can be harsh. And when it’s not the colors lose a little something. I’ve tried using fill flash but either my technique leaves something to be desired or it’s been the wrong solution. But the effect of using the reflector was wonderful. I was able to add a nice glow and soften the shadows. And the extra light meant that I could use a faster shutter speed. I was using a tripod but with a light breeze there can still be some motion of the flower.
The final element was paying close attention to the focus and depth of field. I made several groups of captures, checking after each sequence to see what I was getting. By the third round I had some keepers.
The post-processing on this image was minimal:
- A slight curves adjustment to recover some detail in the highlights
- A light tonal contrast adjustment in Color Efex Pro
- A bit of structure added to the anthers on the stamen