Most casual photographers would say, when it comes to a good flower picture, subject matter is the main thing. The subject is important, but great lighting will take your photo to the next level.
Take this simple viola, the fall flower of choice for many gardeners. A couple of things make it stand out.
Look at the same flower photographed a day later without filtering sunlight (below). It is still a good photo, but the flower petals are translucent and bursting with color in the top picture. The best light for flowers is backlight. It sounds counterintuitive; full sun on the face of the flower seems like it would work best. But, not always.
Cross-lighting is also important in flower photography. I am fascinated by the intricacy of the Passion Flower (Passiflora). Imagine the Creator's handwork with this amazing flower. But, there are some things I did to this photo to really make it pop.
The most important thing I added photographically is cross lighting, as opposed to overhead (noon-time) lighting. Cross lighting gives the bloom definition and caresses the flower's striking curvatures and features. Noonday lighting would be shadowless and flattening. I also backlit the leaf adjacent to the bloom. It is a small detail, but backlighting brings out the veins in the leaf and gives it a nice juxtaposition to the flower.
The Viola below is another example of backlighting to accentuate the bloom's translucent color-power.
I am particularly proud of the Day-Lilly photograph below. I could have composed and photographed this flower in a number of ways, but I chose to orient my camera so the stamen and pedals are show against a dark background. The stamen look like some sort of alien spacecraft. I think it is a cool photograph.
When you look around your garden, the opportunities to find and photograph a striking image are almost endless. All you need to do is take advantage of the lighting. Here I go again fixated on water-drops, but this photo (below) blows my mind with the randomness of water patterns, all put on full display with backlighting.
Well, there ya go. Photo-landscaping in your garden. I hope you enjoyed this post. I encourage you to grab your camera or cell phone and go outside for a visual treat in your own garden.