Image of the Week

Princess Rose

Image of the Week

Princess Rose – Flower Photography

Image Considerations

I found this rose in the National Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park, San Diego. A truly wonderful rose garden, with many varieties to explore. I was drawn to two main aspects of this rose. The colors where the first thing to catch my eye. When I looked closer, the water drops made me sure I wanted to try and capture the beauty of the rose. It is truly a princess rose.

Shooting in a rose garden can feel deceptively simple. There are many roses, and you can simply find ones you like to photograph, right? Well.. yes and no.. Finding beautiful roses to photograph is the easy part. Finding the right angle for a good image can be the hard part.

When trying to capture a single rose, you have to look closely at what is around the rose. I look to see if there are other roses or leaves around the sides or in the background. These can create distractions in the final image. I want the focus to be on the rose I have selected.

Image Lighting

This was taken mid day, but with a shadow over the rose. The shadow helped to even out the otherwise harsh light. Regardless of the light, rose colors can be tricky when there are red tones involved. A princess rose needs to have the proper light to be captured well.

Camera and Settings

I shot this with my Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon 28-135 IS USM lens, unfortunately there was not enough space available to setup my tripod with many people walking by. There was also a slight breeze that was causing the rose to move around at least a little. With these conditions, I needed to be sure my shutter speed was high enough to have a sharp image.

For this image, I wanted enough depth to capture inside the rose, but not so much as to capture too many details in the background. With this in mind, I decided on an aperture of f/8. It took some effort to find an angle where there were minimal visual distractions in the background.

Once I found the angle and aperture I wanted, I needed to make adjustments to ensure a minimal shutter speed. Based on the conditions, I needed to increase my ISO to get to a reasonable shutter speed. At that point, I only had to wait for the breeze to slow down enough to press the trigger. After evaluating the initial images in camera, I reduced the exposure bias to get a better exposure level for the colors.

  • 135mm focal length
  • f/8 aperture
  • 1/125th second exposure
  • -0.3 exposure bias
  • 400 ISO

Editing Inspiration

Some images take on their own personalities from the start. I usually have a vision for them while I am capturing them when they have their own personality as this one does. The colors of this rose, combined with the water drops made it special from the start.

Is it weeping with joy, or maybe laughing to the point of crying.. or possibly tears of sorrow.. only the princess rose truly knows..

I knew from the start that this rose would look very good on a black background. With the colors of this rose, the black would make them pop. With this concept, I wanted to be sure in the capture, that my angle would make it as easy as possible to select the rose for a clean look with a black background.

In editing the rose, I wanted some details, but not too many. I wanted it to have a softer feel. I felt this would lend itself to enhancing the water drops. Once I had the level of details, colors, and softness I wanted, the final step was to bring out the water drops just enough.

I selected each water drop individually to work on them in LightRoom. I felt this was necessary, as each drop had slightly different lighting and translucency.

Some images simply flow from start to finish. Although there can be many considerations from capture to finishing post processing, they almost take no thought. They just flow. This was an image that truly had its own flow from start to finish.

Buy this print