James Antrim has been interested in Bonsai and has been growing bonsai and following the art form for more than 20 years.
Photographing Bonsai - Hints and tips
Welcome to these pages on bonsai photography, I have collated some of my thoughts and pictures on the subject of bonsai photography and will be adding to them in the near future. This is a work in progress.
Even before you pick up a camera and start photographing, you should consider what you would like to achieve and observe the strengths and aspects of the subject that you would like to emphasize or portray.
I have documented a few things to consider including;
- Controlling exposure - aperture
- Controlling exposure - shutter speed
- Controlling focus - point of focus
- bonsai stands
- points of focus
- light reflectors
- bonsai tree placement and preparation
These trees that are pictured are quite often in the early training stages. This image has a single light source from the above left with a reflective material on the right to fill in some of the shadow. Some tips to note, which will be covered later, on this image are: There is quite a lot of shadow/loss of detail on the front of the stand. This could be rectified with a front reflector, and the shadow on the right of the pot is quite dark,not to the point of being detrimental, but again more reflected light or another light source on the right could rectify this issue.
When you are considering your bonsai tree and pot, consider the stand or base you may wish to sit it on, if you propose to include that in the image. Also consider the background colors that would best compliment the tree.
|a well lit ground and ground cover can provide reflected light and added interest to the image. Also it is important to consider the point of focus if you have a shallow depth of field.|
If you are using a natural background, consider the best placement of the tree and any distractions that may appear in the background.
Now that you potentially have a start in mind, experiment and see where that path leads you. The beauty of digital photography is that the creative process can be much more dynamic with instant feedback on your images. So you can be more creative as you find what does and doesn't work for you as you go.
You don't always need fancy equipment to take bonsai photos, you don't even need a light meter, it just means that you will have to be a bit more creative.