Studio Botanical Photography With Claire Carter


This week the society had its first talk of the season that was on Zoom*, rather than in-person. Our guest speaker was the gifted Claire Carter, a nature and landscape photographer who now lives on the fringes of Fort William but is originally from Shropshire. Her talk, titled “Studio Botanical and Macro Photography,” admirable showed why she was one of the category winners of the 2022 International Gardener of the Year competition.

Preferring to photograph her botanical exhibits indoors in her studio gives her greater control of the positioning of the subject, the background and the lighting, and avoids wind movement.

The multiple images she takes of one subject are then “layered” into one image using her computer to produce the stunning results which win her awards. This most knowledgeable photographer with an easy manner was a joy to listen to and demonstrated why her tours and workshops are oversubscribed.

Some top takeaways:

  • She always uses a quality tripod along with her Canon cameras.
  • Lighting of the subject is of the greatest importance, with different intensities against different backgrounds, using textiles, wallpapers and shadow to enhance the final image.
  • The importance of knowing where to focus on the subject — usually a flower — with or without a stem or using a leaf or leaves for the close up images using various degrees of zoom lenses.
  • The flower can be faded or natural and the leaves full or skeletal to add to the intensity of the image along with the use of long or short exposure plus the use of subject movement.

These are all techniques that Claire has mastered and which she demonstrated, via her wonderful portfolio of both botanical and landscapes.

The evening ended with a lively question and answer session with the audience roundly showing their appreciation.

*This season, we plan to do approximately one Zoom session per month, with most of the rest of our meetings taking place in person.