Among plants, orchids are thought off as having some of the most beautiful species known to man.
A photographic project featuring these lovely blooms can produce some spectacular images and they are most always welcomed in any home, business or publication.
Not to mention that images of orchids are very usable by quite a large number of magazines, art galleries, greeting cards and to be used in home décor.
"The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with colorful and fragrant blooms, commonly known as the orchid family. Along with the Asteraceae, they are one of the two largest families of flowering plants, with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species found in 880 genera. Selecting which of the two families is larger is still under debate, as concrete numbers on such enormous families are constantly in flux. Regardless, the number of orchid species equals more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species. The family also encompasses about 6–11% of all seed plants" Wikipedia
For subject acquisition most if not all, plant nurseries have many varieties as they are quite sought after by gardeners and plant enthusiasts. They can range in price depending on the variety and size, with most running around the $20.00 range.
But you really do not need to go buy yourself a good number of them in order to conduct this photo project. I have found that most plant nurseries will gladly let you photograph them at leisure, often in exchange for some prints which they usually use to advertise their supplies.
Although orchids look great when photographed against a dark backdrop, by focusing very close to them you can almost duplicate the same studio set up. If you can however, do the project in your own studio setting, then use two diffused light sources; one aimed from the side and another from above and slightly in front. Use a tripod to hold your camera still and if possible use an electronic shutter release to minimize camera movement.
Note if using a flash; place a piece of cheesecloth or tracing paper in front of the light element This will serve as a diffusing element which will make the light softer.
Aim to capture their richness in color and their silky smooth textures. A good technique is to lightly spray them with a mist of water. Do not keep the hot photo lamps close to them for an extended period of time since as hardy as they seem, they are sensitive to heat.
Once you are done photographing several species,sizes of flowers and colors, then make some enlargements and use them as single specimen photographs. You can also do a thumbnail presentation approach with smaller size prints.
If you can do the project over a span of time, then photograph as many species as you possibly can which in turn can make for a great photo/gardening book.
Make sure to include their scientific name along with the common names since plant names can and often do change depending on the part of the country or region of the world where they are found, but the scientific name remains the same no mater where you are.
- Orchids, The American Orchid Society
The official website of the American Orchid Society provides information on everything related to orchids; how to grow them, upcoming events, how-to videos, culture sheets, threaded discussion group, and much more.
© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez
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