Floral Fine Art Photography

Macro flower photography, when done correctly, can be very eye-catching. In this live show, Karl demonstrates how to create fine-art flower photography and how you can achieve stunning results using studio lights or speedlights.

Creating two different images (including a burning rose!), Karl demonstrates several different lighting setups and techniques, including how to combine multiple flashes during a long exposure.

In the first demonstration, you’ll learn how to create rim lighting, control flare and enhance shape and form. Karl also demonstrates how to create a ‘halo’ effect by changing the focus of the shot during the exposure. Additionally, you’ll see how a speedlight can be modified to create a similar effect to picolites.

The second shot demonstrates the inverse square law and how we can use this principle to change the mood of an image as Karl used a simple one-light setup to capture a lovely moody shot of a white rose on a dark background. For this setup, you’ll see how using mirrors can add additional light, and how to easily control light on the background without changing your lights.

Karl then further simplifies this shot by demonstrating how to use one speedlight during a long exposure to create beautiful patches of light.

In this class:

  • Creative flower photography ideas
  • Lighting setups for still life photography
  • How to enhance shape and form
  • Creative long exposure ideas
  • Understanding the inverse square law
  • Speedlight lighting setups for still life photography
  • How to reduce flare in an image
  • Using coloured gels for creative effect
  • How to photograph flames

Links to the pages Karl showed at the start of the show can be found below:

Barry Edge
Rachell Smith (Instagram)
Urs Recher
Peter Lippmann

Questions? Please post in the comments section below.


  1. These pictures look good when shooting one flower. In my case I am shooting flower bouquets. Do you suggest the same technique of illuminating the outside then shine a light without a scrim on the middle of all the flowers? if shooting top

    Also when shooting from the side do you suggest the same technique for a bouquet that you are doing in this class? and I still noticed no scrim

    We are planning on using our flower pictures on a website, We wanted a white background. Do you think that will be ok for website for the best look or do you think we should keep the back background with a light shining on it like in your class? consider they will be scrolling down threw lots of images.

    1. Hi, flowers can look great on white or a slight graduated background too. This was more of a ‘moody’ fine art example so probably not right for flower sales. A large softbox from the slightly above and to the side, one brighter smaller one from the back and above for backlighting and then a grid light or spotlight on the main bouquet for contrast is how I’d start but it will require a bit of playing around to see what works for different flowers.

  2. If one doesn’t have any octoboxes, can they use a square soft box or would they have to make a template to turn a square soft box into an octobox and then proceed with the black cut out for the center?

    1. Hi Jacqueline, no you should be absolutely fine with a square one but if you struggle with flare then you can add some black card to mask it.

  3. Hi Karl, I’m new to the group and I am enjoying the lessons. What would be the difference between the acrylic mirror and a silver reflector?

    1. Hi Kevin, welcome aboard. Hardly anything although mirrors (acrylic or normal) will give a perfect reflection and are therefore good for reflecting gradient lighting as they can create another gradient light just from the mirror, silver reflectors have different levels of diffusion so they will spread the light slightly differently and of course a white reflector will be even more diffused. I recommend you watch this block of classes before moving on to the shoot classes – https://visualeducation.com/lighting-theory-and-equipment/ especially the first class and most people also find ‘the angles of incidence and reflection’ class very useful too.

  4. jdhunter

    Hi Karl, what is the brand of your flexible light stand attachment? I can’t seem to find any longer than 10 inches on Amazon.. probably not calling it the right thing lol

  5. Hi Karl, another fantastic show mate :).

    Did you ever get round to trying the Godox projection attachment out? I only ask because, since I signed up to your platform I have been very intrigued by the cool things the Picolite and its attachments allows you to do. I can’t justify spending the money on the Scoro pack as well as the flash and other bits and bobs required, at the moment!

    I am seriously thinking about getting the Godox one but I don’t trust Youtube reviews (well, I don’t trust many online reviews if I am honest!) and don’t want to waste the money if its cheap and won’t be used. I do however, trust your opinion so would love to hear if you would recommend?

    I appreciate that they are not going to offer anywhere near the same standard as Broncolor but do you think the Godox kit is worth using is it it a load of you know what?

    Thanks in advance.



    1. Hi Nathan, thank you. That’s a good point and you have reminded me to get something on that scheduled in the live shows soon. Keep your eye on the listings and see if I’ve done it by the end of the week. If not come and hassle me!

  6. Hi Karl & the team. Unfortunately I had to watch the replay of this show as my internet connection was playing up yesterday. A great show as always! Some really interesting techniques learned. although, i’m not sure I have “setting flowers on fire” insurance sadly 🙁

    1. I once accidentally set fire to a large paper scrim, that was rather interesting as the flames grew quite large quite quickly. Luckily they didn’t last long!

      1. Hi Karl,

        How can I illuminat a subject effectively on a black glossy surface with a black background to get a beautiful reflection without spilling a light on glossy service or the background ?

        I know you like to get everything perfect straightout of the camera and for me it’s a challenging to do that without retouching the photo to get more black/ dark background and surface.

  7. Hi Karl

    Just a comment on the questions of an alternative to a Broncolor projection attachment,

    Godox makes a project attachment, model # SA-P1, this attachment by default attaches to their LED light model S-30, however they also have a “Bowens adapter model SA17”, so essentially you attached the projection attachment to the Bowens adapter which then can attached to any Bowens mount lights. Accessories wise they have 3 lens with various focal lengths, iris, shaping blades, gobo holders and gels.


  8. This is Herminio Mello from Brazil. Karl, what parameters must be changed in case we have some drops of water among petals?

    1. Hi Herminio,

      Just to chip in. I’m sure Karl will have a technical answer helpful answer for you, but what Karl obviously did not have time for in his show is the preparation of the plant material.

      If having water drops is the aim, then over to Karl. However, not having water drops, blemishes, insect life emerging into the lights, and general damage to the delicate flowers is half the battle to get perfect shots. The lighting is the easy bit 🙂

      Perhaps avoiding this situation is the better mind set? I suppose Karl and Anna Pustynnikova would be thinking this way for their so appealing food shots.

      Thinking about deliberate water drops, you might want to visit an artists’ suppliers and take a look at their water based mediums. There you will find many fluids that can enhance the appearance of the water drops eg glistening, changing the surface tension etc. Maybe of some interest or fun to experiment with …

  9. Hi Karl, handy few hints to consider from an entertaining show.

    During the Live Chat I offered to try and answer any questions that may have occurred to members after you mentioned my Flower Portraits. Unfortunately I didn’t include my website in the feed. In case anyone’s interested, I can be found at: http://www.barryedge.co.uk.

    Seems there was another flower photographer named Barry lighting your light bulb. Quite a coincidence. I didn’t contribute during this show in case there’s any confusion, though I was almost tempted to request a re-run of the Dad Dancing – almost 😉 

    All the best

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