I just finished writing the section about lights in the new Rose book. In hoping that the book will appeal to advanced photographers I included a small section about studio lighting.

Saxon Holt's garage studio photographing old roses

A single softbox light and reflector to photograph rose Raubritter


I certainly prefer being outdoors to photograph flowers, but I do love the control and perfect light of shooting in a studio. Studio lighting is a craft certainly, but superb results can be achieved by the beginner. I use my garage and some professional quality strobe lights with soft boxes, but good results can be had with modestly priced lights at any camera store. Even the compact strobe lights attached to the camera achieve remarkable results once you know how to soften the lights with diffusion.

I usually use a medium gray seamless paper as a background. That medium gray can become a light gray or a dark gray depending on how much light you allow to spill onto the background.

 Before and After Slider


It’s a simple lighting adjustments but if you are using strobe lights you can’t really see the effect until you flash the lights and see how much is spilling into the background.   Before we had digital cameras, photographers used Polaroid film to preview every exposure. Now, we can see the results instantly, and since the smallest adjustment in the lights can dramatically affect the background, having an instant look has made studio lighting much less tedious.

Two lights, balanced on opposite sides of a set-up, is often all that is needed, along with a few reflectors.

Vintage roses in my studio


The PhotoBotanic Guide to Photographing Roses is available as preorder with discount.

Publication January 15, 2016.