Bring Flower Photos to Life: It Takes Just 3 Basic Edits

Bring Flower Photos to Life: It Takes Just 3 Basic Edits

Vibrant and full of colors. That’s what professional flower photos look like. And your pictures can look the same—it only takes a few basic edits. Get to know them.

Every flower photo is a little different. But the basic edits are usually the same. From improvements to exposure and contrast, to livening up the colors, to sharpening.

But the start comes earlier…

Choose the Right One

With the right choice of photo, you can save a lot of time editing on your computer. When pictures are uninteresting or have bad composition, delete them right away, because not even the best edit will save them. Work only with pictures that respect the basic rules of composition.

Look over the photo you’ve picked for editing and think over what aspects you want to improve. That will significantly speed up your work.

Bring Flower Photos to Life: unedited pasqueflower.

Here’s my evaluation of the photo I’ve picked:

  • The exposure is not ideal. The picture needs brightening, and it’s lacking contrast and detail too.
  • I don’t like the colors.
  • The photo could also use some sharpening.

Once you’re clear as to what about the photo you want to improve, get started with editing.


Exposure and Contrast

Every photo’s editing in Zoner Photo Studio should start in the Develop module. Specifically, in the Exposure group. There’s the place for the most basic edits.

Start with the Exposure slider. With its help you can make a picture lighter or darker. Depending on what it needs.

Generally it’s also useful to add a bit of contrast. So add some using the corresponding slider.

If there’s blowout in the picture, reduce the Lights. Meanwhile you can use the next slider to lightly brighten the shadows.

For flower photos, it also pays to emphasize the picture’s details. Here the Clarity slider will help. It increases contrast around the contours in a picture. That makes it feel more alive.

Bring Flower Photos to Life: brightened photo of a pasqueflower.
I brightened this photo using the Exposure, Lights, and White Point sliders. I used the Contrast, Shadows, Black Point, and Dehaze sliders to gain some contrast. I increased the photo’s detail using Clarity.

If you need to fine-tune the exposure and contrast, then take advantage of the controls in the Tone Curve group. Use them to set its tone curve to an S shape, emphasizing lights and darkening shadows. But don’t be afraid to experiment with these curves even further.

Bring Flower Photos to Life: pasqueflower edited by a tone curve.
I used the tone curve to brighten the photo even more and give it more contrast. At the same time I moved the end of the curve slightly upwards to rid the photo of underexposed areas. You can also get rid of overexposed areas by moving the top of the curve downwards.

Fine-tuning the Photo’s Colors

Professional flower photos grab attention with more vibrant and saturated colors. To give your pictures these, continue working in the Color group. Focus on the Saturation and Vibrance controls. Just increase their values, and the colors in your pictures will be more striking.

But stay away from changes to flowers’ hue. Don’t turn purple pasqueflowers red, or turn purple orchids blue. Adjusting the saturation and vibrance of their colors is entirely enough.

Bring Flower Photos to Life: photo with increased saturation and vibrance.
I used the sliders in the Color group to increase the saturation and vibrance of the flower’s colors. For both of these I raised the values only slightly.

Sharpening a Photo

Before producing a finalized JPG of the photo by using Export, sharpen it. The sliders in the Sharpness group will help you here. Zoom in to a 1:1 view so that you have a good idea of what the sharpening is doing, and then set the Sharpening Strength.

Try to find a good level that makes the picture sharp enough without adding unwanted artifacts (distortion). If you’re having trouble with this, try adjusting the Sharpening Threshold.

Then you just need to create a finalized copy of the picture by clicking Export.

Bring Flower Photos to Life: sharpened pasqueflower.
I used Sharpening Strength and Sharpening Threshold to sharpen the picture, moving both of them into the pluses.

A comparison of the original and the final picture. The final picture is lighter and has better detail and contrast. The colors aren’t as grayed; they’re happier and livelier. The picture has also gained some sharpness.

It takes just a few steps to rid your photos of all of these ills. Try it yourself—download Zoner Photo Studio X, try it 30 days for free, and improve your flower photos. You’ll see that after a few basic edits, they look much better.

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AuthorJosef Gabrhel

My idea of a great evening is spent under the stars or in a tent, taking pictures of the night sky before going to sleep. Then, photographing a majestic sunrise in the countryside the next morning. I am happiest when my photography takes me to Velká Javořina in the White Carpathian Mountains. I am also a passionate photographer of the fascinating, yet almost invisible world beneath our feet. When I’m not shooting landscapes, I’m busy exploring the forest, or my favorite wetland areas, taking photos of insects. Simply stated, I am a nature photographer, not just in my images, but also in my soul.

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