Three Tips for Capturing Wildflower Images with Vertical Oriented Frames

Jun 08, 2021

With the recent sunshine and warmer temperatures here in Alberta, it won't take long for any remaining snow to melt. I cannot help but become excited about the highly coveted wildflower season in the Canadian Rockies. Wildflowers can, of course, be found in many different climates, but here in the Canadian Rockies, this beautiful season is short-lived. So I will be taking full advantage of this colourful time of the year as much as possible over the coming months.

Very often, the go-to orientation for a landscape photograph is, no surprise, landscape. However, one of my favourite ways to capture the wildflower season is through vertical compositions. Here are a few tips on using the vertical frame orientation to capture wildflowers within a landscape image.

1. Divide your frame into thirds and compose wildflowers within the first one-third 

Basic landscape photography composition informs the landscape photographer that frames should be divided visually into thirds so that foreground elements fall within the first one-third of the frame, middle-ground elements should be positioned within the middle one-third of the frame, and background elements should be found within the upper one-third of the frame. Composing your landscape images with wildflowers falling within the first one-third division of your frame will insert beautiful eye-catching colour and infuse spectacular depth within any vertical orientation. 

ISO 500, 16mm, f9, 1/125 sec

2. Use vertical composition to simplify a frame

Elements often appear expansive and vast within larger-scale wide-angle horizontal frames. The use of vertical compositions can simplify and accentuate the beauty of a good patch of flowers and help isolate additional elements in a frame, like a waterfall or the single peak of a mountain range. Simplifying a frame will result in singularly drawing attention to details within a frame that could otherwise become lost or hold less impact in a horizontal frame orientation.  

ISO 100, 19mm, f13, 5 sec

3. Use distortion within a vertical orientation to draw attention to wildflowers

When capturing wildflowers in a vertical orientation, try to position your tripod low and at a downward angle towards the wildflowers. The proximity to the wildflowers and a downward angle will accentuate the tiniest of flowers, making them appear larger than life. Distorting the scale of a scene through this technique will enhance the visual impact of the wildflowers in the foreground. 

ISO 400, 16mm, f10, 1/100 sec

This wildflower season, don't be afraid to turn your camera into the non-traditional vertical orientation. I think you'll be pleasantly awed by the results of this beautiful orientation when wildflowers fill your foregrounds.