Photography literally means â€œwriting with light.â€ Lighting the subject to highlight its features is key. A lighted background should be used to complement the tree or stone in tone and simplicity (gradients help). This avoids any details in the background competing with the subject itself. Flash of any kind on the subject tends to create harsh shadows that obscure delicate detail. The best light is indirect, even and flat, usually found outside on a bright, but quite cloudy day. The same type of lighting should be used indoors with the help of reflectors and diffusers.
Here are seven tips on photographing your bonsai trees and viewing stones to their best advantage.
- 1.To avoid distraction, backgrounds must be simple and plain as possible. Screen folds, screen support frames, lines, or object shadows of any kind will distract the viewer from the subject. Pro Tip: use a roll-up vinyl window blind, white or cream in color and no texture, and use it as a backdrop and surface for the subject. Create a gentle curve where the surface meets the wall.
- 2.Make sure the subjectâ€™s formal front is facing the camera. Place the camera so that it is level with the vertical centre of the subject. Pro Tip: use a tripod or other means of stabilizing the camera. This will allow slower shutters speeds, requiring less light, and prevent blurry or out-of-focus photos.
- 3.Donâ€™t crop the subject too tightly in the viewfinder. Leave some space all around.
- 4.For digital cameras, choose the highest-quality image setting.
- 5.If outdoors, pick a bright, overcast day or if itâ€™s sunny, place your subject in the shade to avoid harsh shadows and uneven lighting. If direct sunlight cannot be avoided, force your cameraâ€™s flash to fire. This will provide the necessary light to fill in the dark shadows created by direct sunlight.
- 6.If indoors, light the subject from the top, and left or right side. Try to avoid harsh shadows created by the automatic flash. If you donâ€™t have supplemental lights, try bouncing your flash off a white ceiling or diffusing it with translucent material.
- 7.Donâ€™t take down your set up until you examine the photo results on a large screen. If you see anything that can be improved with another attempt, your setup is ready and waiting.