Dark Botanical Photography: Capture Beautifully Moody Images of Plants | Linda & David | Skillshare

Dark Botanical Photography: Capture Beautifully Moody Images of Plants

Linda & David, A couple of creative folks

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4 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Course Presentation

    • 2. How I discovered Botanical Photography

    • 3. Composing & Capturing Botanical Shots

    • 4. Editing Process

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About This Class


Enter a world of dark botanical photography - a simple & moody way to capture mesmerizing images of wild plants! Join David as he introduces you to his personal photography project on instagram (@_btncl_) and how it served as an endeavour to see & capture the subtle beauty in everyday greenery.

This visually rich class follows the start-to-finish creative process, from introducing you to this mesmerising photography style and training your eye to see details in nature, to composing and editing beautiful botanical images.

It is open to anyone, whether you're a beginner or an advanced photographer, whether you own a professional camera or just your iPhone. The idea is just to have fun with it as a side-project, and therefore many useful tips are given in the class to get started right away!

The class includes high quality video footage. Key lessons include:

  • Training your eye to see natural details in your surroundings
  • Basics of photography composition & extra tips to capture beautiful images anytime.
  • The low-light aspect & why it’s ideal for bringing out mesmerizing details in nature
  • How to edit your photos to bring out beauty in plant photography - on your Smartphone or Desktop.
  • Why it’s a good idea to use instagram as a platform for a photographic side project.
  • How to experiment to find your own botanical photography style & voice.

This class is perfect for all kinds of creatives who are drawn to the beauty of plants, or photographers who want to experiment with a new and unique photographic style. If you’ve ever wondered how to create these mystical botanical images, you’ll love this easy, fun and interactive guide to this photography style.


1. Course Presentation: Hey, guys, My name is David, my wife and I two designers. We work in trouble around the globe to know much. I've recently started these new for the Murphy Side Project on Instagram, which is all about died Botanical photography. If you want to learn more about this style, which is really particular, you want to see how I gather my inspiration and tips I can recommend to you if you want to see how I added this pictures, which is really subtle but India and I believe it makes a huge difference. So feel free to enroll to this class. We're going to see all these things in detail together. 2. How I discovered Botanical Photography: Hey, guys, Thanks for enrolling in my class. I hope that with this course you will learn a lot about Dr Botanical Photography. Let me start by introducing myself. My name's David. I'm a designer. I love photography. I love videography. And I'm also a musician. Two years ago, with my wife, we started our own little company, a little design studio that were run on their ago. We traveled around the globe as nomads and actually, a month ago we came back to a native country to sell most of our belongings and to really go as full no mats to live, like, really off the grid. I have this passion for photography, and lately, when we've been in a few months ago, we've been in Kyoto in Japan, and we were in north north of Kyoto in a little quiet neighborhood. And I remember, like the first, the 1st 11 of the first days we were just walking around, seeing with the neighborhood. There was this sort off little garage that I remember. One of the fish photography is that I took there and there was a real light shining through . And while the garage was massively cluttered, But there was this light that shines through and just on a few objects. And I thought it was so interesting and, uh, the light in General Ness. Let's not be too poetic, But I guess the light in Kyoto really inspired me when we were walking in the streets. People used to have, like, parts of plants in front of the houses. And I noticed this plans and I was like, Oh, well, it's actually it's actually cool that have all these plans. He and I believe that nobody really pays attention to the beauty of the plans to the details off the plant like, Oh, well, it will be cool like to capture. I do like botanicals and II plans and everything. But it was like, Could I combine that with this dark, moody style that I wanted Teoh actually go a little further into? So it was like, Yeah, I could try to combine both and just start a new project that I did on Instagram under the name David on an island. And what I like about this project is that it's ah, really versatile. I mean, I have I'm nichd into botanicals and everything all the greens and everything in plants, but it's I like to diversify the style and everything. And this is something that we're going to see in this course that I'm going to try to inspire you to be creative with the compositions and everything. I'm gonna we're gonna go around. I'm gonna show you how I capture these things may be and how I added them later on. And this? No, Only with this is my come at the moment and what I want to say is like, I'm gonna shoot with the iPhone as well. I have an iPhone and actually iPhone five, which is pretty old. And I guess that it's not about the camera. That's what I want to say. Uh, this is, ah, mirror less camera. And I used to shoot with full frame camera that I just saw recently because it was just too fat and just too heavy. And it was hard to carry around and to travel with. So this free light and it's Vera last. And I guess that it's really good enough for what? What I don't want to do for lifestyle photography, we do without block and for this project, and I want to encourage you to take whatever you have, because I really believe it's not just about the camera. So I'm these technical details we're gonna see into detail later. And, uh, yeah, I hope you're excited, because I really am to teach you all that. 3. Composing & Capturing Botanical Shots: All right, so let's go walk around, see what we can find. I don't think it's gonna be too hard, because there's botanicals everywhere. I have my iPhone. I have my camera. So all right, let's go see what we can find. So we're obviously not going to try to shoot something that is too complex. This is like a mix and match, and I don't I don't know. It's not really interesting. So we're gonna try to find, like, one specific plan that's always, like, maybe a little better, a little easier. All right. So I like that I like this is, uh Well, I guess it's just a normal bush, but I like the fact that some some plans here a little burned out somehow. They are brown. I don't know why, but maybe from the sun. So I guess I I would like to capture this part here with the greens around. That could be actually a pretty interesting. Yeah, I like that. Yeah. So, as you can see, this is like just a huge bush that is like on a in the street. Could second, and I don't think that many people notice it, but it can be quite interesting to capture in a dark, botanical, moody style. This is, for example, yeah, it's lavender. I think it's pretty interesting as well. I'm going to try to capture it in a macro away, maybe from the side. Well, actually, it's good that stamps, they stand out. So I think I'm going to try something. And here for the for these plants, for example, there so long that I like to shoot the botanical Well, I like to shoot in general in 1.4 really wide open. But in this case, it's just the established started. The flower is too far away from from the main part. So I guess it's good to go on, like at 3.2 or four to get a bit more off the details in the background. Otherwise, you're just gonna have, like, this massive, blurry thing. Yeah, that's way better. So you recognize what's behind? I took these ones pretty flat. Let's go see if I can take some with some angles or something. All right, so these actually already quite interesting because it's like they are massive and a pretty big and and why, it's so gonna try to take, like, a pattern of it, like, really captured the most of it. Some depth as well. It's gonna be interesting. May. Yeah, that's one of the cases where you really can get lost into the details. It's cool. These this plan comes as well, like pretty much forward with this long stamps as well. I'm going to try to take a picture now with the iPhone, the same subject, but with the iPhone to see how we're gonna add it this later. And most important, always clean your lens because this can be quite dramatic. So it's clean and try to capture exactly what I did with the camera. I'm gonna This is this really corruption on here with the iPhone is that you can control light just with your thumb when you click on the subject and you go a little down by scrawling a little. So you see right away that the result is pretty cool. We're gonna just focus here on one part. No, this is nice. Shoot. That's it. Okay, so I guess this plant is also pretty interesting. You want to try to take it from the side because they go like into into the street here, and I think it's pretty cause I'm gonna really from the side, going to go a bit inside on with the bees here and try to see Yeah, that's nice. This is also pretty good. Well, the weather is pretty good today. It's kind of cloudy. So you don't have, like, this full reflection off son on the plant. So it's really beauty, fully moody. Let's say so. I like it pretty much so. This is really cool here as well. Trying to There's a beautiful depth here and here. Yeah, just like with the iPhone. I always should under light it, because it's better to at least assure you keep all many details when you wanna process the images later. So always go a few points under lighted, then over lighted. Oh, this is cool. I don't know what the desire. It's like little fruits here. I think it's pretty interesting. Gonna try to get them with the phone and the camera as well as the pines on the floor. I think it's pretty interesting. They're just lying there like a not your Most. So try to grab these details, maybe with some plans, as well, just over it or something. Don't need to compose much. It's nature. That's just leave the way it is. If you see fruits of physio flower usually tend to get it at the center of the image, which is, I think, pretty basic. Tried to go maybe in just in the corner, keep the subject just in the corner. Or if I see the fruit here, I could maybe take some leaves in the front. I like to do that A lot as well is to layer things. For example, I think a few leaves here in the first layer in the bottom. I'm going to focus on the fruit and keep the rest of the background so, like, three layers. So I'm gonna try to do that now. That's really nice. Like it a lot. So I think we got pretty cool pictures. Let's go home and edit these and see how I do that with the phone and with the camera. Let's go 4. Editing Process: All right, So this is it. We took out pictures before. Let's edit them. I'm going to show you how to edit these on ah, smartphone. Ah, IOS or android with the application. Visco, it's a free app. The chicken download for both platforms and on the computer on the laptop. I'm going to use light room. Buy it from Adobe. So let's go ahead and see how this visco app looks like This is it. I've imported a few images, as you can see, like a few plans that we took before. So the cool thing with this core is that it's based on templates on preset. Sorry. And if I said I know an image like this one, Uh, thats one is all right. And if I go here in the settings, I can select one of these presets and you can see that there's like, tons of them even have at the end. Oh, my God is, like, really a lot. And in the end, you have, like a shop. We can even get more. They're really high quality presets and re love them. But we're gonna see how to use one and just going to details of it. So you have, for example, the 1st 1 which is a four. If I on it, you see, you can see the result by actually tapping the image itself. You see that that's before, and that's using the A four fully, because if you tap once again on a four, you see the amount off preset that you can add to the image. So let's just give, like about nine. See it before it sees just It's subtle. That's that's The cool thing with Visco is that the percents are really subtle, and then you can really go with the brightness and everything in all the different settings . Go slowly with it, and I have to say that I'm doing it right now. Outside in the outside. It's not something I recommend. I do it for the video better setting, but it's better to be indoors to put the brightness on your phone or on the laptop. Really, to the max, you couldn't have a better result of what you are really editing. So here I am at this, like nine points off, preset and then on the little occurs that he had the bottom. You can have even more details. And that's what we want to see today. You see, you have, like, for example, here the exposure or brightness have the contrast. You have perspective, options, sharpness, high high tones, shadows, temperature saturation and all that. What we want to see. What I wanna give you an advice or, let's say, for this project, dark photography. Well, we wanted what we're going to change. It's basically the brightness contrast. Give it some sharpness if we if we have to, some just a little bit once again, but and then play with the situation. And if you want to, then off course. You can go crazy and play with a little temperature change or or higher low tones, adding a little more. For example, a little purplish filter to the dark tones and everything. This is doable. This is up to you. If you want to give a personal touch for the more what I want you to focus, its brightness, contrasts, saturation and sharpness. This is like the most important things. So let's see for this picture, for example, what can we do with the exposure we want dark and moody? So let's go low. Let's try to go at minus two. Let's see before and after this is already know bad and the contrast Something really important. Look at the low tones. If I go low with the contrasts, you see basically everything you know. You lose a lot of details as well. And if I go hi, it's like, really, The dark tones are really profound. Let's say deep, Let me find out words. Eso If I got let let's just go a little up here like 11 point five. That's pretty cool to see how deep the the Stones are really nice and moody. So let's add it, then, sharpness Here, the little triangle. I just add a little bit. It's just because if I use it on Instagram, it's always good to have a light crisp sharp. So if you had too much is gonna almost look like hdr, so I just use it like, yeah, three is fine for this image. And then this dude here, which is saturation I don't like to have. It's so bright green, so I even go a little lower. I can goto minus 1.5, which is beautiful temperature not going to change anything. The grain is a nice option, but not gonna add it here. I just saved the image the way it is. And wait a second. There you go. This is a result. Looks pretty good. Pretty good to me. So the cool thing on Visco is that I have all these other images which I can simply select the one I've already edited and copy edits. And I go, for example, this one with the fruit, which is actually good. I just faced the edits from the other image. And technically, it should be good. And it is. It is actually pretty nice. I could This one could have a little more brightest. Maybe just because you lose some details may be on the on the fruit themselves, but I think it's pretty much all right. Look at this one here. I can also try to give exactly the same edits. Paste, that's beautiful. Greens are still a little strong. Let's go here in the edits. The phone is a little snow. As I said, it's an iPhone five. Sorry, but as you can see, it's still pretty good and I go the lower Let's go 2.5 That's beautiful. Yeah. Look at that. Before enoughto I'm going to show you the images, like all one after the other. Also side by side for you to see that the changes I did. So this is it for the smartphone part, which is really interesting because you can do it on the go. You have the phone, you can pass it maybe by WiFi with some cameras And on the go and a bus in the train. You just do these edits and put them on inside on your instagram account. So now the very interesting part is, well, light room, which is a beautiful app application on desktop. Where you gonna go? Really far. And this is really precise, but it's really good. If you wanna print this images out, maybe. And when the smartphone is maybe no, not the best tool. Uh, let's go and check it out. Okay, so they sit. If I select non image, we are on light room. You see that? I have presets. These are my private percents that well, things that some sometimes it just goes faster. I know my own presets. You can do that for your own as soon as you have changed a few settings, see on the right you can obviously save it as a preset for yourself and have you save some time, have important a few images that we took before, which are basically almost the same as the phone, and I'm gonna let start edit them. That's the food. See, this is what I said before with the lay layering the images with the composition. You see that there's like this first layer here off completely blurred out leaves the fruity in the second layer and then in the back you have, like almost half of the image with this battle. Nice background, green background. So it's pretty cool. It's also pretty sharp. It's nice. So let's take one like that, for example. We want it even if we are now on desktop. We want toe the pay attention to the same details as we saw on the iPhone, but she's exposure contrast saturation. Here. You have clarity here, which is like a package of sharpness plus contras exposure. It's yeah, it's you gotta be delicate with it. Same for vibrance about the colleges. This is the package off saturation, and maybe countries and all that region is really interesting as well. Maybe not here, because you don't really have, like, a lot of different tonalities, you know it is know that you see white highlighted parts, so this is more. I use this a lot when I do lifestyle photography. And then you have here the saturation for for some levels, like for for the magenta levels of blue, the green levels only sharpening part, all the older part to rotate the image and everything and living yet which is this which we can use. Sometimes you can go on white or black. It's actually pretty good when you have to go subtle as well. But to use when the subject is really in the middle like a flower, something you can really emphasize that it's can can be really cool and grain. But to be honest, I have one point off extra grain coming from my camera. You see, it's already a little bit grainy, so that's because I have just one point off grain in my camera. So let's go and change a little. The exposure here, let's go, just like before we go a little low here. Exposure contrast. Let's boost these deep tones here. This is really nice already. If we go to saturation, let's go a little low. 10 15. Maybe it's nice. You can always do the reset button here and then back the result, which is ready. Nice. You go play just a little bit with the saturation from the greens, you see can go really extreme. Let's just go like this, Shopping it up a little bit like this. Fine knowing that not for this image grain I don't need. It's already there and look at it now, before and after really settled. The image in itself is already quite good, but this is really nice. I quite like it. So this is for the 1st 1 You can also, of course, copy your presets, you know. But I think I'm gonna do it just over again because it's not that much that we do here. We can hear easily. Just do it again. Exposure a little minus. Let's go low for dark and moody contrast. Let's go up just a little bit. Play with the saturation in General Lo. 20 of this one is nice saturation of the greens. They're pretty much okay. Let's go sharp here. See also the preview here, creating good no grain reset here to see the foreign after. Look at that, it's way better than was before. It's really subtle. Once again, this is the way I had things. Sometimes I go drastic. Let's say that today, when we shot the pictures, the weather was pretty good. It was like cloud it just like now. So it's You don't have a lot of variation on the tones, which can be really good here. You don't have to edit that much. Otherwise, you could just play around a little more and be creative as well in the edit. This is why I like light from so much and the editing part in general. Yeah, this is basically it. It's really subtle. As you see, I hope you were not imagining that would be like something completely out of this world, because what's important as well there's a lot. The composition. It's just how you take the image and try to get a lens, which goes, Why the temperature? Maybe this is really nice, but off course. As I said, you can try to bring your own touch by colorizing maybe the images a little bit different or playing with other things like the the clarity, vibrant and all that try to stay consistent while you do, and sometimes put the images side by side to really compare the green tones sometimes, especially when you play with the temperature. It's not really nice to have ah, really bluish everything green, but let's say a little more bluish and then a yellow wish or purplish greenish. You know, it's good to stay in the same level on the if you If you intend to have an INSTAGRAM account, you always gonna be able to see in some side by side with some application. Drop me a message if you want me to give you some advice for that. Yeah, I think I would like to see you trying this out. So if you want, just go out and go crazy once again, just take your camera, shoot a few plans as few bushes, whatever you want, whatever you feel like and post them here in this school share class. I would like to see it. I would like to give maybe my advice, a few tips and yeah, if you want to leave a comment about this class. What? I can improve because this is honestly my first class. Feel free to say it. I would be really happy about it. Thanks for joining this class. See you soon.