I recently set about capturing some images of my Mother’s Day flowers. It’s something I do every year, it’s a lovely keepsake, long after the flowers have withered and died. Taking them out to the studio and captured something simple that made my beautiful red tulips stand out.

The staging and styling

Dark charcoal seamless paper backdrop and a black stool. I placed my red tulips in a white enamel jug, with some soft grey linen next to it. Keep it simple and let the tulips shine.


The lighting was the big key here. On camera right was a 36″ Godox Octobox on a Godox AD400Pro, with a silver reflector on the left bouncing a little fill back in. This was cross-light, soft, diffused and beautiful. Remember to keep your light as close as possible to your subject, while keeping out of shot. This will give you beautiful soft lighting.

Lighting set up

My settings

The strobe was set to TTL, while my Sony a7R III with Tamron 28-75mm lens (on 28mm) was set to f/4.5, ISO 100 and 1/160s. I also had my camera on a tripod. Not to avoid camera shake, but just to free my hands to fiddle with the scene.

My unexpected shots

When working with kids and animals always expect the unexpected right? My 2-year-old puggle, Dexter, was in the studio with me, as he invariably is. Dexter simply adore flowers … all flowers. He even tries to smell my artificial ones and gives me the evil eye when he realizes they’re fake!

On this day he unexpectedly jumped up to sniff my tulips (for the dozenth time that morning) and got in the shot (the first is a little blurry as a result). The second was me asking him to get down, the third was him pleading to smell them one more time.

That final image is heart-melting, perhaps if this was for a client I would never have shown them, but for me, it’s a keeper. Trust me — it got a few hearts on social media too. Thankfully my stage was set and the lights were ready, I just had to grab the shot. So that’s how I got the shot with my red tulips.