Create dramatically beautiful images with indirect natural light, by moving the table a few feet away from the window. By only using THAT light to create something a little more dramatic. It really is all about the light and capturing your subject to make the most of it.

The setup

Setup some vinyl floor tiles for your background and set the scene
Setup some vinyl floor tiles for your background and set the scene

As you can see in the above image, the table is pulled well back from the window (camera left). I used a reflector (camera right) to bounce back what minimal light there was.

Again, due to limited light, a tripod was used (blur in foreground) with a slower shutter speed of 1/60s. While not considered a long exposure, this is enough to create camera shake and prevent crisp images. Using an aperture of f/2.8 still was not quite enough light for a good, yet dramatic exposure. So the ISO was increased to 200. I could have left the ISO and dropped the shutter speed even further. However, I was spraying the flowers with water and did not want the water drops too blurry.

Styling

Wanting to keep the look quite dramatic, I kept the styling very minimal. One image of bright orange ranunculus is in a simple glass vase, with rope adornments and simply let the flowers be the star. I then put some apricot ranunculus in a multi-coloured vase. Two simple blooms in the vase and a third were placed on the table in front. I also added some white linen to break up the image and help the writing on the vase stand out more.

Mix things up

Don’t be afraid to mix things up, spray your flowers with water from a cheap garden store spray bottle. even spray the vase, which gives it that just-picked look. If I have my shutter speed a little faster I could also have captured the water drops hitting the petals.

Once in Lightroom Classic, the only real adjustments were a slight bump in Contrast (+19) and a subtle S-curve in the Tone Curve tab.

Final Image
Final Image

Want to learn more about capturing beautiful still life images in natural light? Check out my self-paced online class “Simple still life.”