Backgrounds are important when photographing wildflowers (or anything for that matter). Wildflowers are typically growing in with lots of other vegetation suck a grasses, leaves, shrubs, trees and other plants. This can make getting a clean shot difficult.

A simple trick I like to use is to bring piece of black foam core ora black cloth with me and put it behind the flower. If there a 2 or more stop exposure difference between the flower and the foam core or cloth then you will get a nice dark background that will make your flower stand out.

Be sure to expose for the highlights and if possible angle your foam core or cloth away from the sun so it is shaded. Below is the simple setup I used to shoot this pink azalia. I borrowed my black dishtowel, draped it over a stick and then held it behind the flower and took a few shots.

I wasn’t sure what flower this was. When doing wild flowers I will often take extra photos of the plant, especially the leaves, to make an identification.

It is difficult to ID plants from photos so it’s best to do it in the field. My favorite wildflower ID guide is Newcombs Wildflower Guide. It has a handy and efficient system for determining the flower upon which you are gazing. This flower is a pink azalia which is native to PA. I’ve been using my Newcombs guide for over 30 years and it has held up well.


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