There's nothing more eye-popping than dahlia flowers. The colours dwarf even the most psychedelic Italian gelato. Yum!
The only way to top a dahlia photograph is to turn it into a masterpiece of painterly photography. Roll out the textures and fire up Photoshop.
Got an obsession for intense colours? Dahlias might be your darlings.
But, flashy colours aren't their only virtue. They have a long blooming stretch from spring through fall. If a winter without is too much for you to bear, pick some up from the local flower shop. Here's how to put together a DIY home photo studio.
I can work one dahlia bloom for hours... days, even. They stay fresh in a vase for at least a week. For the few dollars they cost, they're a productive investment.
Lime green and magenta are a splashy pair. What do you think? Mother Nature comes up with the most incredible colours.
Most of the images of dahlia flowers on this page were taken with my Lensbaby Velvet 56. I wanted one of those "babies" for so many years. And I'm overjoyed with the results.
A Lensbaby takes practice but if you stick with it, you'll be rewarded. A perfect match for flower photography because of the soft, ethereal quality it produces.
The Velvet 56 was my first choice. It's a fixed lens, different from the optic swap system like the Composer Pro II with the Sweet 50 Optic. That's next on my wish-list.
Lensbabies create a soft focus around a small area of sharp focus. Outside that focus, the lens produces a beautiful, soft image with some distortion.
Perfect for flower photography.
There's an astounding variety of colours and textures when you look through a macro lens at a flower like this. I took this photo with a Nikon 105 mm macro lens.
Some dahlia flowers fit into a vertical composition perfectly! Like this one.
I love the tiny yellow florets and the yellow against the brilliant fuchsia.
This flower was very small and the photo was taken with my Nikon 105 mm macro.
When you look through a macro lens, there's such an amazing world that you otherwise miss entirely.
My photo editing software is primarily Photoshop when layers are involved. Lightroom handles all of your 'developing' but, if you plan on adding textures, you'll need to move over to Photoshop.
You can shuffle your images smoothly between Lightroom and Photoshop, though some folks use Photoshop with Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge and never use Lightroom.
Do a Google search to find free textures or shoot some of your own. I keep a file of photos of rusty metal, rocks, concrete or wooden walls, old wall paper... anything... use your imagination.
Most of the textures I use now make my photos appear to be paintings. Get them from French Kiss Textures.
(I'm not paid to tell you how much I love them. I don't receive any commissions when you make a purchase. I just think they're amazing and if you like textures, you'll love 'em, too!)
All the dahlia flowers on this page were shot indoors. It's always breezy here on the Island and when you're shooting macro images, even a teeny-weensy petal movement causes blur. Breezes are always a wasted effort.
I use my tripod every time for macro or close up photography, natural light, a background pasted on foam board, and one or two twist ties to keep unwanted flowers or leaves out of the way.
Dahlia flowers are such a diverse, gorgeous, colourful group of flowers. The ones I love best are the darkest colours but there are plenty of lighter pastels, and they're gorgeous, too.
If you're running into problems on a breezy day when you're going for macros or close-ups, pick a few and move them inside to your DIY home photo studio.
Either inside or out, photographing dahlias is a blissful way to spend a few hours. Kick back, relax and enjoy yourself. If you like my images, I'd be thrilled if you'd order a print or some note cards to send to friends. :) Share the beauty!