This past spring was the forth consecutive year I’ve photographed peonies. During that time, I was greeted by darkness when I returned home from work, making it hard to squeeze time to photographing in natural light. My beau suggested we invest in studio lighting to help with my dilemma; he could also use the lighting for when he's painting and so we did.
So far artificial light is proving to be a beast (I really should look into attending a workshop on this subject). Lately, I’ve been really drawn to direct light. I love it for so many reasons but particularly for the moodiness, drama and beautiful shadows it creates. This photoshoot was inspired by the very talented Gentl and Hyers’s Botanicals found as a part their portfolio. I came across their work through Alice Gao, another amazing photographer I admire. I love the way they all use light in their photographs and I often spent time looking at their work, especially still-life, to study the lighting.
For about a week, I got to enjoy a dozen of peonies sitting in my living room. Everyday I'd watched them unfold petal by petal opening up as they do that so well in the warmth of the apartment. When they fully bloomed, I pulled them part to photograph.
Peonies // Photography Notes
Direct light, from the source of artificial light in this case, was difficult. My challenge being the ability to balance providing sufficient light all around while trying not to blow the exposure on the areas that were in the direct light. It can be harsh shooting with direct light and my goal was to achieve the perfect balance between the two.
I also played around with diffused light and found that it added a softness to my photographs which I equally loved (image on the right) but I can't decide if that's still considered direct lighting?
All technicality aside, I am perfectly happy photographing peonies all day; they are just so beautiful!
Past Photoshoots with Peonies: