Quite often when we want to take a picture of a beautiful flower other blossoms in the background clutter up the view.

Our eyes are so attuned to the one flower we don’t realize the camera will not be able to isolate the one that we want to feature.  To help myself “see” I always use a tripod and study a picture after I take it, looking for ways to unclutter the background.

For this native California Iris douglasiana, a beautiful soft yellow variety called Major, I quickly realized I could not see the real shape of the main flower in the center of the photograph. It was a pretty easy fix really, I simply left the camera on the tripod and moved the background flower out of the way, tucking it under a leaf.

Iris douglasiana v. major, California native plant flowering in Charlotte Torgovitsky garden

Note that I also cleaned up a few of the dead tree leaves in the iris foliage and moved in a little closer to crop a bit tighter.

Now to really isolate the flower, I use an extraction technique with Photoshop to create a mask around the main flower and drop out the background.  I love using this technique, feeling like a botanic illustrator yet still leaving enough of the background to show it is a living flower in the garden and not in a studio.

Before and After Slider


Then, when I finally complete the framing and add text at the bottom, I have uncluttered the original scene and portrayed the Iris as the stand alone beauty that first grabbed my eye.

Iris douglasiana v. major