TIPS ON PHOTOGRAPHING FLOWERS FOR DIGITAL USE
PHOTOGRAPHY, NATURE, COMMUNICATIONS | OCTOBER 5, 2018
If you’re a plant lover, you would probably have noticed an increasing emphasis on ‘the visual’ in social media, and the web in general.
Plant enthusiasts, botanists and researchers around the world are now connecting more on social media via groups. At the same time, we’ve noticed an increase in requests for botanical information – as followers of social media profiles ask for botanical names and scientific info around endangered floral species.
This provides a great opportunity for conservation organisations to first catch the eye of their target audience, and then to engage them on social media.
BUT: To do that, they need spectacular imagery – on a platform that is increasingly overloaded with information, AND is seeing a decrease in organic reach.
So we leapt at the chance to see how one of our clients, the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust, captures images of Renosterveld, in a way that not only shows off the beauty of the plant, but also satisfies the botanical info they require (note: you’ve got to have the right equipment).
For LoveGreen, it meant traipsing through one of the largest remaining areas of Western Rûens Shale Renosterveld on Earth, found close to Botriver in the Western Cape, with the ORCT team. The aim? Not only to see the bursting Renosterveld colours and flowers during spring time. But also to see what technology these botanists use in the veld.
Here’s how the ORCT has engaged thousands of plant lovers through their social media platforms.
- The team has launched a number of flower campaigns, like their #FloralFriday feature – where a certain Renosterveld species is highlighted each Friday across their 3 social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).
- The floral feature is also pulled through to their home page – to ensure the site remains updated and active.
To run campaigns like this, conservation organisations MUST have striking imagery to tell their story.
So whether you’re an amateur nature photographer, part of a conservation organisation, you volunteer at CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildlife), or you just like photographing beautiful flowers for your personal Instagram account, we checked out some of the equipment you need, and got some tips from the experts:
1. Light and easy: Huawei P20
If you go on regular hikes, it makes sense to have something small, quick and easy, with long battery life, lots of storage space and the ability to take good quality photos and videos.
As a smartphone photography option, the Huawei P20 packs a 20-megapixel primary camera (new Leica dual camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto sensor (f/1.8) and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor (f/1.6) for depth and texture) on the rear – fantastic for those looking to shoot impressive images. We also like the auto shooting mode, with a host of different scenarios, including close-ups, portraits and flower shots.
“Smartphones also offer a lot of perks, like added apps and the ability to make a live video, or post to social media in the veld – if you can find reception in the wild,” says Tina Vlok of LoveGreen.
2. Quality Images For The Botanist: Olympus Tough TG-5
If you have to be in the veld for extended periods of time, doing research and field trials, walking many kilometres and visiting numerous sites, the Olympus Tough TG-5 is a great option to combine the latest technology with quality photography.
For the botanist, it automatically adds the GPS coordinates to each photo, making it much easier to keep track of where each species was found. You can even log the entire route you walked. It also captures the temperature, has a compass, manometer – and is waterproof up to 15m (perfect for photos of fish in Renosterveld watercourses).
And it’s ideal for macro shots of flowers and leaves (both essential for botanists to ID the plants). With this camera, you make use of a four-mode Variable Macro System – allowing photos as close as 1cm from the plant – so it looks like you’re viewing the plant through a microscope.
“It’s a good idea to invest in a spare battery, especially if you’re in for the long haul, and need to take hundreds of photos per day,” says Jannie Groenewald of the ORCT.
3. Up Close And Personal: Canon EOS 60D
So this camera is a bit more clunky – and therefore heavier, than the Olympus or the cellphone. But for quality, close-ups of Renosterveld, this does the trick very nicely (just ask ORCT Director, Dr Odette Curtis-Scott).
It’s an 18.1 megapixels semi-pro digital camera. AND it’s quite a bit lighter than its 50D counterpart. Using the Canon Macro lens with the camera allows beautiful, intense close-up pictures of Renosterveld. Of course, the more expensive your Macro lens, the better. The team found the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 lens works very well – not to mention coming in considerably cheaper than some of other Macro lenses.
Some additional tips for floral photography from the experts?
Plan ahead – the weather plays a very important role. On cloudy and rainy days, flowers hide their faces. Wind can also make or break a photo. Although these small flowers are close to the ground, the stems and petals move a lot when you have a mild to strong wind, likely to result in loads of blurry photos.
Our thanks to the ORCT for letting us tag along and for sharing their impressive knowledge of Renosterveld with us. To see more of their work, visit www.overbergrenosterveld.org.za or connect with them on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter).
We’ve been involved with the ORCT’s digital marketing (website, email and socials media) since 2012, and we appreciate the important work they are doing to protect the Renosterveld in the Overberg.
Heather is our content writer. She enjoys helping our clients formulate their message and loves to run her way across beautiful mountains, to explore new places and is always ready for an adventure.
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