How to photograph a toadstool step-by-step ?
During the first part of autumn nature is abundant with toadstools. Varying in size from some millimeters high till sometimes huge mushrooms of half a meter cross-cut they make perfect settings for a photoshoot. But how do you get appealing results ? In this blog I will tell you how I make my toadstool images.
The way I make my toadstool pictures
Find a perfect toadstool
Depending of what kind of toadstool you want to photograph you have to go out there and search for the right kind of mushroom. Every forest, forest edge or meadow has toadstools in this time of the year. Great chance they will even grow in your own backyard.
Check the settings
After finding a toadstool that is suitable for your photoshoot look if you can approach it easily and walk around it to check the basic requirements for your shot ; is the background compatible with the toadstool, are the lighting conditions good and can you get yourself into a position to photograph the mushroom without getting a hernia yourself ?
Set up your equipment
Use a tripod or beanbag to position your camera on eye-level of the toadstool. It is even possible to rest your camera on the ground and put some leaves under your camera as a kind of cushion. You can use different lenses, depending on what you want your image to look like. Do you want a close-up (macrolens or telezoom with extension tubes) or an image of the toadstool in its environment (wide angle lens or standard 55 mm lens). Try different lenses and see what happens. You will be surprised !
When your equipment is readily exposed you should make the first composition. Try to find a harmonious band between the foreground with the toadstool and the blurred out background. Look for contrasting or matching colours and shapes.
Now follows the phase I call “gardening your image”. Remove branches, leaves and other annoying material out of your framed shot. Rearrange whatever you want to create the perfect surroundings for your toadstool. Give special attention to the background !
When all steps are taken you can setup extra lighting. I make use of flashlight, electric torches and reflection screens to create a warm (or cold) atmosphere in the image. A light shining on the cap of the toadstool will brighten it and let it stand out from the background.
Make the shot
Finally you are ready to take the shot. I decide looking through the viewfinder which aperture will give the desired effect and search then appropriate shutterspeed and iso-value to get a correct lighting of the image. I try not to exceed 400 iso to prevent imagenoise. Because I want to avoid motion blur I use a remote control or the slow release button to press the shutter. At last I have made an image. I check the image and histogram on my backscreen, and when necessary I change my settings and make another image.
Most important lesson ;
Take your time to make the image. Sometimes I spend almost an hour before I am satisfied with the image. Luckily your subject doesn’t move, the only thing that changes is the lighting conditions. Learn to be satisfied coming home with one or two great images instead of hundred images of poor quality. Most of them you throw away anyway after postprocessing them on your computer. Want to see some more shots of toadstools then check out my website www.hollandphotography.eu
Until next time, happy shooting
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