Fun with Gerber Daisies, Photoshop, and Filters


You know you’ve been bitten by the photography bug when you’re in a garden center, and you see a display of flowering Gerber Daisies, and you purchase it thinking, “oooh, that one would look good with the Fractalius filter applied!”  You can have lots of fun with a pot of Gerber Daisies, Photoshop, and filters…

I love Gerber Daisies. They are colorful, they have such interesting centers, and they are easy to grow in pots. They will continue to flower and provide me with further macro opportunities in the months to come. They also provide much-needed color to the backyard in January!

I actually purchased the daisies to continue experimenting with the RainEx technique of photographing flowers reflected in water bubbles. I experimented with focus stacking to try to bring more of the reflected flowers into focus. However, I did my little experiment on a gray nasty day, and I think I needed more light. My pictures from last time were better.

So after viewing some of my images in my camera LCD, I switched tactics, and tried to photograph the Gerber Daisies differently than I had ever photographed them before.  I thought about the shapes of the petals, the textures of the centers, and the post-processing effects that I could add, such as softening or texture.  I laid down and looked at the flowers from below, I put on extension tubes and shot them close, and then I put on a zoom lens and tried some zoom blurs.  I liked some of the effects, and I hated others.  That’s the fun of digital photography – you can take hundreds of pictures in an afternoon, and delete almost all of them!

I think the Pink and White Petals image above was my favorite from the afternoon.  I love the soft colors of the daisy, photographed from the bottom instead of the top.  The pink and white petals contrast nicely with the green flower base.  I lightened the image and added some texture to give it a bit of an aged look.  If you are looking for textures, check out the Shadowhouse Creations blog.  They offer a variety of textures that are fun to play with.

I tried placing the flowers on the grass in my backyard, trying to use the distant grass to give my backgrounds a nice green out-of-focus blur.  As I crawled around with the macro lens, I noticed that in the clump of orange flowers was a “twin” flower – two flower buds that grew off a single stem.  I probably would never have noticed if I hadn’t been trying to find new angles!  Using ColorEfex Pro, I increased the saturation on the oranges, and added a touch of Fractalius to give it a starburst look.

With my bird photography I only keep images that are in perfect sharp focus.  But with flower photography, I like to soften some of the images.  The pink flower above was just an ordinary shot of a daisy straight out of the camera.  But when I softened the focus and added some extra detail to the center, I liked the image a lot better.

So the next time you’re in your local garden center, stop and smell the flowers…and don’t forget to consider what they’d look like through your macro lens!