Here is an easy way to photograph flowers indoors, without using fancy lighting techniques requiring studio lights or off camera flash with modifiers. All you need is indirect light through a window, a shooting table, and a silver or white reflector.
Impact Desktop Shooting Table
Shooting tables are great for photographing products, food, and small objects. I recently used my Impact Desktop Shooting Table to photograph flowers. The table is convenient and easy to use (and affordable). When photographing the flowers I actually placed the table on the floor next to a big window in my bedroom. The floor position worked better for me with the angle of the light coming through my window, rather than placing the table on a desk or table top.
Waiting for the Light
I waited for the time of day when the light flowing through my window was soft and glowing, which for me is the late afternoon. I then moved the table around until the light seemed to hit it just right, with no shadows. I next positioned a flower on the table until I got a composition I initially liked. I used a silver reflector to reflect the window light onto the flower’s underside that would otherwise be too dark. I was actually able to lean the reflector against the table so I didn’t have to hold it. I could have used a white reflector or white board, but the silver reflector bounced a little more light, which is what I preferred.
I also had my tripod ready, in case it was easier not to hold the camera. I have a tripod with short legs, but I could have also used a platypod or similar support placed on a pile of books. If I had put my camera on a tripod or other support, I would have use the self-timer to release the camera shutter as I held the reflector.
The lenses I used for my different flower photographs, as well as the location and height of the camera, all depended on the type of image I was envisioning and photographing. Most of my images during the recent photoshoot were photographed with my 16 mm (24 mm equivalent since I shoot a mirrorless Fuji X-T2) because the lens has a very close subject to camera minimum focusing distance and because there is greater depth of field with a wide angle lens. The lens is also tack sharp and easy to handhold.
Exposure and White Balance
The trickiest part of shooting an all white background is determining the exposure. There is a fine line between keeping the white background white in the photograph and blowing out highlights. It is important to keep the histogram to the far right without creeping up the right side. Not only did I check my histogram, but I took test shots to see if the images had blinkies (highlight warnings). If there were blinkies I typically decreased exposure until there were none. If the blinkies covered a very small area, just a few pixels, and my histogram looked pretty good, I left the exposure “as is” and adjusted the histogram later when I processed the image in Lightroom.
I usually set my ISO to 800 as a starting point. Since I was handholding my camera, I followed the shutter speed rule of thumb and set my shutter speed to no slower than 1/the focal length of the lens. (Note my previous article on the shutter speed rule of thumb.) I tried not to go below 1/125th second, even if I was using a shorter lens. I set my white balance to auto, which seemed to work well for me.
Once I had determined my exposure and taken my first images, I had fun re-composing my photographs, and moving around the reflector, taking shots from different angles with different lighting patterns.
After I downloaded my images into Lightroom, I did basic adjustments, tweaking the exposure and white balance as necessary. Then from Lightroom I edited in Macphun Luminar, and tried different filters out on the images, to see what I liked for my flowers. I even tried converting some images to black and white.
Of course you can try photographing anything that fits on the shooting table. Flowers just looked so beautiful in the light of my window, plus they gave me the opportunity to improve upon my natural lighting skills.