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

      0:40
    • 2. How I discovered Botanical Photography

      3:28
    • 3. Composing & Capturing Botanical Shots

      6:46
    • 4. Editing Process

      13:46
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About This Class

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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.

Transcripts

1. Course Presentation: Hey, guys. My name is David. My wife and I are two designers. We work and travel around the globe as two nomads. I've recently started this new photography side project on Instagram, which is all about Dark Botanical Photography. If you want to learn more about this style which is really particular, if you want to see how I gather my inspiration and the tips I can recommend to you, if you want to see how I added this pictures which is really subtle but in the end 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 dark botanical photography. Let me start by introducing myself. My name is 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 we run on the go. We travel around the globe as nomads. Actually, a little month ago we came back to our native country to sell most of our belongings and to really go as full nomads to live really off the grid. I have this passion for photography and the lately when we've been in, a few months ago, we've been in Kyoto in Japan. We were in north of Kyoto in a little quiet neighborhood. I remember one of the first days, that we were just walking around seeing a bit of the neighborhood. It was this little garage that I remember one of the first photographies that I took there, and there was a real light shining through. It went well, the garage was massively cluttered, but there was this light that shined through and just on a few objects and I thought it was so interesting and the light in general. Let's not be too poetic, but I guess the light in Kyoto really inspired me. We were walking in the streets, people used to have pots of plants in front of the houses. I noticed this plants and I was like," Oh, well, it's actually cool that they have all these plants here." I believe that nobody really pays attention to the beauty of the plants or to the details of the plants. So I was like, "Oh, well, it would be cool to capture, I do like botanical plants and everything." But it was like, could I combine that with this dark moody style that I wanted to actually go a little further into? So I 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." What I like about this project is that it's really versatile. I am niched into botanical and everything are all greens and everything in plants. But 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. We're going to go around, I'm going to show you how I capture these things maybe, and how I edit them later on. This is my cam at the moment. What I want to say is like, I'm going to shoot with the iPhone as well. I have an iPhone and actually iPhone 5, pretty old. I guess that it's not about the camera. That's when I want to say, this is a mirror-less camera. I used to shoot with a full frame camera that I just sold recently because it was just too fat and just too heavy and it was hard to carry around and to travel with. So this is very light and it's mirror-less and I guess that it's really good enough for what I want to do for lifestyle photography we do with our blog and for this project. I want to encourage you to take whatever you have because I really believe it's not just about the camera. So these technical details we're going to see into detail later. I hope you're excited because I really am to teach you all that. 3. Composing & Capturing Botanical Shots: Let's go walk around, see what we can find. I don't think it's going to be too hard because there's botanical everywhere. I have my iPhone, I have my camera. 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 mix-and-match, I don't know, it's not really interesting. We're going to try to find like one specific plan that's always like and maybe a little better, a little easier. I like that. I like this is, well, this is just normal bush. I like the fact that some plants here are a little burned out somehow. They are brown, I don't know why, but maybe from the sun. So I guess I would like to capture this part here with the greens around that could be actually a pretty interesting. Yeah. I like that. As you can see, this is like a just a huge bush that is like on a street could [inaudible] , and I don't think there are many people noticed it, but it can be quite interesting to capture in a dark botanical, moody style. This is, for example it's lavender. I think it's pretty interesting as well. I'm going to try to capture it in a macro way, maybe from the side. Actually, it's good that stems they stand out. I think I'm going to try something. Here for these plants, for example, they are 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 stem, the flower is too far away from the main part. So I guess it's good to go and like at 3.2 or four to get a bit more of the details in the background. Otherwise, you're just going to have like this massive blurry thing. 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. These actually are already quite interesting because it's like there are massive and they're pretty big and wide. So I'm going to try to take like a pattern of it, like really captured the most of it. Some depth as well. This can be interesting. Yeah, that's one of the cases where you really can get lost into the details. It's cool. These plant comes as well pretty much forward with this long stems as well. I'm going to try to take a picture now with the iPhone. Same subject, but with the iPhone to see how we're going to edit this later and, most important, always clean your lens because this can be quite dramatic. So it's clean and tried to capture exactly what I did with the camera. There's a really cool option 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, right by scrolling a little. So you see right away that the result is pretty cool. So we're going to just focus here on one part. This is nice shoot, that's it. Okay. I guess this plant is also pretty interesting. You want to try to take it from the side because they, go into the street here and, I think it's pretty cool. I'm going to take a really from the side and go a bit inside with the bees here and try to see this 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 of sun on the plant. So it's really beautifully moody, let say. I like it pretty much. This is really cool here as well, we are going to this beautiful depth here. Yeah, just like with the iPhone, I always shoot on the lighted because it's better to, at least ensure you keep many details when you want to process the images later. So always go a few points on the lighted than over lighted. This is cool. I don't know what this are, it's like little fruits here. I think it's pretty interesting, I'm going to 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 are just lying. They are like a natural marked. I'm going to try to grab these details. Maybe with some plants as well, just over it or something. Don't need to compose much its nature. Just leave the way it is. If you see a fruit or if you see a flower, you usually tend to get it at the center of the image. which is I think pretty basic, try to go maybe just in the corner, keep the subject just in the corner. Or if I see the fruit here, I can maybe take some leaves in the front. I like to do that a lot as well is to layer things. For example, I take a few leaves here and the first layer and the bottom, I'm going to focus on the fruit and keep the rest as a background. So like three layers. I'm going to try to do that now. That's really nice. I Like it a lot. I think we got pretty cool pictures. Let's go home and edit these and see how I do that with a phone and with a camera. Let's go. 4. Editing Process: This is it. We took our pictures before. Let's edit them. I'm going to show you how to edit these on smartphone, iOS, or Android with the application VSCO. It's a free app that you can download for both platforms and on the computer. On the laptop, I'm going to use [inaudible] via Adobe. Let's go ahead and see how this VSCO app looks like. This is it. I've imported a few images, as you can see, like a few plants that we took before. So the cool thing with VSCO is that it's based on preset. If select now an image like this one, this one is all right. 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, there's really a lot, and in the end you have a shop. You can even get more. They're really high-quality presets, I really love them. We're going to see how to use one and just go into details of it. So you have for example, the first one which is A4. If I tap on it, you can see the result by actually tapping the image itself. You see that's before and that's using the A4 fully. Because if you tap once again on A4, you see the amount of presets that you can add to the image. Let's just give like about nine. See its subtle. That's the cool thing with VSCO, if the presets are really subtle, and then you can really go with the brightness and everything in all the different settings, go slowly with them. I also have to say that I'm doing right now in the outside, it's not something I recommend. I do it for the video titled 'better setting' but it's better to be indoors and typically the brightness on your phone or on the laptop really to the max. You can have a better result of what you are really editing. Here I'm at this nine points of preset, and then on the little occurs at here at the bottom, you can have even more details, and that's what we want to see today. You see have for example here the exposure or brightness have the contrast. You have prospective options, sharpness, high tones, shadows, temperature, saturation, and all that. What we want to see, what I want to give you as an advice, or let's say for this project, all right photography. What we're going to change is basically the brightness, the contrast, give it some sharpness, if we have to. Just a little bit once again, and then play with the saturation. If you want to then of course, you can go crazy and play with a little temperature change or a 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. Furthermore, what I want you to focus its brightness, contrast, saturation, and the sharpness. This is the most important things. Let's see for this picture, for example, what can we do with the exposure? We want dark and moody. Let's go low. Let's try to go at minus two. Let's see before and after. This is already not bad, and the contrast, something really important. Look at the low tones. If I go low with the contrast, you see basically everything. You lose a lot of details as well, and if I go high, it's like really the dark tones are really profound. Let's say deep. Let me find my words. Let's just go little up here like 1.5. That's pretty cool, see how deep these tones are. This is really nice and moody. 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 like crisp sharp. If you add too much, it's going to almost look like HDR. I just use it like yes, three is fine for this image, and then this dude here, which is saturation. I don't like to have it so bright green. So I even go a little lower. I can go to minus 1.5, which is beautiful. Temperature, not going to change anything. The green is a nice option, but not going to add it here. I just save 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 VSCO is that I have all these other images, which I can simply select the one I've already edited and copy the edits. I go for example, this one with the fruit, which is actually pretty good. I just paste the edits from the other image, and technically it should be good and it is, it is actually pretty nice. This one could have a little more brightest maybe. Just because you lose some details maybe 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. The greens are still a little strong. Lets go here in the edits. The phone is a little slow. As I said, is an iPhone 5, sorry about that. But as you can see, it's still pretty good. I got a little lower. Let's go 2.5, that's beautiful. Yeah, look at that, before and after. I'm going to show you the images all one after the other, also side-by-side for you to see the changes I did. 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 maybe via WiFi with some cameras, and on the go in a bus, in a train, you just do these edits and put them on your Instagram account. Now the very interesting part as well, Lightroom, which is a beautiful application on desktop where you can go really far, and this is really precise, but it's really good if you want to print these images out maybe and when the smartphone is maybe not the best tool. Let's go and check it out. Okay, so this is it. If I select non-image, we are on Lightroom. You see that I have presets. These are my private presets, things that 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 setting here on the right. You can obviously save it as a preset for yourself and save some time. I've imported a few images that we took before, which are basically almost the same as the phone. Let's start edit them. That's the third. See this is what I said before with the layering the images, with the composition. You see that there's this first layer here of completely blurred out leaves the fruit here and the second layer, and then in the back we have like almost half of the image with this nice background, green background. It's pretty cool. It's also pretty sharp, it's nice. Let's take one like that, for example. Even if we are now on desktop, we want to the pay attention to the same details as we saw on the iPhone, which is exposure, contrast, saturation here. You have clarity here, which is like a package of sharpness plus contrast exposure. You have to be delicate with it. Same for vibrancy about the collage is a package of saturation and maybe contrast and all that. Region is really interesting as well. Maybe not here because you don't really have a lot of different tonalities that you see white highlighted parts. I use this a lot when I do lifestyle photography, and then you have here the saturation for some levels, like for the magenta levels, the blue, the green levels only. The sharpening part. All the part to rotate the image and everything, and the vignette, which is this, which we can use sometimes, you can go on white or on 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 or something. You can really emphasize that. Can be really cool en-grained. But to be honest, I have one point of extra grain coming from a camera. You see it's already a little bit grainy. So that's because I have just one point of grain in my camera. 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. Ten to 15 maybe, it's nice. You can always do the reset button here, and then back. See result, which is already nice. There you go. Play just a little bit with the saturation from the greens. You see it can go really extreme. Let's just go like this. Shoving it up a little bit like this is fine. Knowing at not for this image it's grain I don't need. It's already there, and look at it now, before and after, really subtle the image in itself is already quite good. But this is really nice. I quite like it. So this is for the first one. You can also of course copy or presets, but I think I'm going to do it just over again because it's not that much that we do here. We can here 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 a saturation in general, a little low 20. This one is nice. Saturation of the greens, they are pretty much okay, let's go sharp here. See also the preview here, pretty good. No grain. Reset here to see we find after. Look at that, it's way better than it was before. It's really subtle. Once again, this is the way I added things. Sometimes I go drastic. Let's say that today, when we shot the pictures the weather was pretty good, it was cloudy just like now. So 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 can just play around a little more and be creative as well in the edit. This is why I like Lightroom so much and the editing part in general. 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 is a lot the composition. It's just how you take the image and try to get a lens which goes wide than aperture maybe. This is really nice. But of course, as I said, you can try to bring your own touch by colorizing maybe the image is a little bit different or playing with other things like the clarity, vibrance, and all that. Try to stay consistent with what 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 a really bluish, everything green, but let's say a little more bluish, and then a yellowish or purplish greenish. It's good to stay in the same level. If you intend to have an Instagram account, you always going to 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. If you want, just go out and go crazy. Once again, just take your camera, shoot a few plants, a few bushes, whatever you want, whatever you feel like, and post them here in this skill share class. I would like to see it., I would like to give maybe my advice, a few tips. 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.