I’m delighted to feature a selection of beautiful flower images taken by London-based photographer, Jocelyn Horsfall.
Some of her photographs are taken in the studio and some in gardens, with the clematis, iris and rose in today’s blog post being taken at Mill Dene Gardens in the Cotswolds.
Jocelyn very kindly answered a few questions for me:
Could you tell us a little bit about how you became interested in photography?
You could say it’s in the genes, because my grandfather and my mother were both photographers with a focus on nature. I grew up understanding the importance of early morning light, endless patience, f-stops and more!
I started out in the world of corporate advertising, but then decided to follow my heart and focus on photography.
I’ve always been particularly attracted to the natural beauty of flowers and foliage – the wonderful colours, the sensuous curves, the delicate textures – and have wanted to reflect this in my photographs.
My style is painterly, using soft focus, textural effects and abstraction to create images that are evocative and intriguing.
I do some work in black and white, but at heart I’m a colour girl.
How did you learn your photography skills?
Apart from what I picked up from my Mum, I did a BTEC in Photography at Richmond College, and later a BTEC in Digital Imaging at Nescot.
I learnt a lot about studio photography when I worked as an assistant, and there have been various short courses and workshops along the way.
But really it’s a question of just getting out there and taking pictures – experimenting and learning all the time.
What type of camera and lenses do you use?
I started in film, so have quite a few film cameras that haven’t been used in a while – a studio 5×4, a Mamiya medium format and 35mm Nikons.
When I moved to digital, I switched to Canon and have a 5D MkII.
For flower photography I mainly use my 100mm macro lens – I love the abstract effects you can get with extreme close-ups and very shallow depth of focus. It’s great for studio work as well as out in the field.
What are your tips for people taking photos of flowers?
It depends what kind of effect you’re looking for, whether it’s for a record shot or for something more creative.
But it’s always important to take a bit of time to think about the flower’s characteristics and how you might best capture them. Is it a delicate meadow plant where you might want to see the environment? Or a lush and voluptuous peony where you might want to lose yourself deep in the petals?
Try different viewpoints and angles (including the wonderful world of macro close-ups). And for something more atmospheric, try focusing on specific points and having everything else blurred.
Soft lighting is usually better than bright sunlight, and flowers often benefit from back-lighting, to enhance their translucency.
A tripod can be vital, particularly for close-ups, but don’t let it stop you from moving around and seeing what catches your eye – and of course enjoying the flowers!
What is your favourite flower?
Such a difficult question – it seems to change with the seasons! I love lilies (particularly arum lilies) and freesias for their sculptural shape and line, and often use them for studio shots. I’ve also recently got into alstroemerias at a macro level.
At this time of year I’m entranced by the hellebores in my garden, and I always look forward to the tulip season – so many different colours and shapes to enjoy, and they even look good as they go over and die off.
What are your plans for 2012?
I want to build up the fine art side of the business, exploring new avenues for selling prints and wall art – to the consumer market as well as local businesses. I also hope to expand into cards and perhaps other merchandise with my images on.
A dream of mine is to combine the flower and abstract photography with my knowledge and skills as a colour therapist – to produce images that are beautiful to look at, but where the colours will create an appropriate mood and feeling that will enhance the space.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Jocelyn’s beautiful images. If you’d like to see more of her work, please do take a look at her website.
(Images : Jocelyn Horsfall)