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Low Key Photography Cremone

Low-Key Flower Photography

Low-Key Flower Photography Tips

If you have visited our website, you will notice our varieties are photographed on a black background. The purpose is to draw focus to the variety and its floral characteristics. Low-key photography is the art of being creative with light to expose the subject while concealing the background with shadows.

Materials Needed

  • Camera
  • Strobe Lights
  • Tripod
  • White Balance Card
  • Black Backdrop
  • Vase
  • Flowers

Setting Up Your Studio

You don’t need a fancy setup. A dark black cloth or matte black poster paper will work perfectly as a backdrop. Be sure that it is a thick cloth, otherwise, the flash will permeate through the cloth. What you want is the light to bounce off of your backdrop.

Place your camera on a tripod and place your flowers in a vase. Use a table or pedestal to give some height. You will need 1 or 2 strobe lights. Set them a few feet away from where you have your flowers set up. Pointing toward the flower in the vase on opposing sides.

Adjust your flower by positioning it the way you would like it to be photographed. Think about the purpose of this photo: Is it a product photo for your website? For Virgin Farms we use low-key photos for our website’s product catalog. A 45-degree angle works best to show the flower’s characteristics including colors, petals, size, and aperture.

Equipment Setup

Set your strobe lights to activate in sync with your camera’s built-in flash. Turn your camera to manual mode and make sure the flash is on. In your camera settings, adjust the flash compensation to negative. To capture just the flower and all its details, zoom in your lens—210 mm is a good focal length. Place your camera and tripod a few feet away from your flower. Also, be sure to separate your flower from the backdrop at least 12 inches away, otherwise, the flash from the strobe lights and camera will cast a shadow on your backdrop and you will not achieve the low-key lighting effect. Your subject should look like it is drowned in darkness.

Before Photographing

In settings, turn your camera’s color mode to neutral and change the white balance preset to custom. Hold the white balance card up in front of your camera. Take a photo of the gray card side, and that will set your custom color balance. Next, hold the color card side up to your flower (you may need an assistant) and take a photo. The purpose of this preparation is to edit in post-production. When working with artificial light the color of flowers may be altered and the hue may not be truly represented. Always shoot your images in RAW format to allow editing in software such as Lightroom or Photoshop.

Camera settings

To achieve a low-key photo, your settings must harmonize to produce the light and shade effect.

  • ISO: Use a low ISO to prevent grainy photos. Try about 250 to 350, but experiment as needed to brighten or darken your photo.
  • F-Stop: Use a mid-point f-stop. The higher the number, the less light enters the lens. At F7 or F9 you’ll let just enough light in while keeping your subject in focus and blurring the background.
  • Shutter Speed: The shutter speed determines how fast your lens stays open, freezing your frame. Since we are using strobe lights and camera flash, you want a quick shutter speed just enough to allow light but produce a shadow to surround the subject. Try 160, but again experiment with the settings as you see fit.

Tip:

Try to underexpose when photographing. In post-production editing, you can always adjust the exposure. It is always more difficult to correct overexposed photos than to brighten up an image. Similarly, a photograph that is too underexposed will be too dark to adjust. Your photo should be in the middle ground as far as exposure goes, giving you room to make minor adjustments.

The Low Key Effect

Cremone Salmon Pink – Virgin Farms

If you have followed these steps, your result should be a well-lit subject engulfed in shadow. The synchronization of light and your camera’s settings all perform in unison to produce a scientific masterpiece. After you have taken your photos, import your files into editing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. Choose which photos make the cut and flag those as keepers. Make adjustments to your photos such as exposure, highlights, and shadows.

Composition

Choose your flower based on your goals for your photo. Select one that is nicely formed and has little to no blemishes. Trim the stem if necessary and place it in a vase leaning slightly at a 45-degree angle. Take a test shot and adjust the flower until you’re happy with the composition. Tilt or rotate your flower, and remove any flawed or bruised petals. Take multiple shots—you will probably discard most of them, but that is the beauty of digital photography. Later in post-production, you can choose the best photo and edit it.

Tip:

When editing your images, don’t apply filters or unrealistic color adjustments. If your images are used for product showcasing, you want the photos to be a representation of the actual flowers. Unless you’re going for a creative effect, then you can experiment with unusual alterations.

Flower Sales Booming for Valentine’s Day

Our long-time customer and friend, Jerry from Extra Touch was featured on the Today Show.

 

The segment “Business is blooming for Valentine’s Day flowers amid pandemic” covers the incredible logistical process of transporting flowers from the farms in South America to Miami International Airport, the largest receiving hub of fresh-cut flowers.

 

The story covers how the flower industry is booming despite the pandemic. Reports from UPS Airlines indicate that there is a 48% increase in flower boxes from 2020 to 2021. Around 73 flights were added to accommodate the 21 million extra stems being shipped to the U.S. than before the pandemic began. That’s 850,000 more boxes than the last year (2020).

 

The spike in flowers is due to people skipping outings and gatherings, and spending more on floral arrangements to send to their loved ones.

 

Jerry from Extra Touch located in Palm Beach, Florida has been our client since 2007. To meet the demand this year he had to hire 21 new employees.

 

Watch the entire segment. (Jerry’s interview minute 1:20)

 

Source: https://www.today.com/video/business-is-blooming-for-valentine-s-day-flowers-amid-pandemic-100853318000

Dutch Box Floral Arrangement

Now more than ever sustainability is imperative for the health of our environment. Moving toward habits and methods that improve and reduce the carbon footprint is a continuous goal for which we must keep striving. We reached out to Maria Alejandra, floral boutique owner of Flower Fanatic (@flowerfanaticmiami) in Doral, Florida, who has come up with ways to create eco-conscious floral arrangements without sacrificing the beauty and allure of her designs.
 
In an effort to help her share her tips and practices with fellow florists we collaborated on a project. We provided fresh flowers, and she hosted a live workshop on Saturday, November 7th via Instagram. Flowers included premium varieties from our Dutch Box. This combo is available every week from our Dutch Specials, and what’s unique is that it’s a surprise mix each week. It has about 8 to 10 varieties in the box. Our flowers are freshly imported from the Aalsmeer Flower Auction.
 
Recipe:

    • Yellow & Orange Calla Lilies
    • Burgundy & Yellow Kangaroo Paws
    • Gardenia Peonies
    • Apricot Hyacinths
    • Hydrangea Classic
    • Astilbe Light Pink
    • Yellow Garden Roses

 

Maria Alejandra began the workshop by introducing each variety and how to process each flower. She suggests not to remove guard petals from garden roses because it weakens the flower at the base, and it will fall apart. Calla lilies should be cut straight as opposed to an angle because they have soft stems, as is the case with most bulbous flowers. Other tips included how to decide on the type of arrangement you will create. Based on the stem types, she decides on the materials she will need and how to construct her base. For this tutorial, she used a large reusable plastic vase lined with chicken wire and filled the water halfway. Foam-free designs allow flowers to perform better, and as a result, the client can enjoy them for an extended period of time.
 
chicken wire vase
 
She suggests starting with larger varieties as a base then fill the spaces in between. Cut the stems according to the variations in height and the artistic lines you want to achieve. If you encounter flowers that have not bloomed or a stem with an unusual curvature, work with its natural beauty. After creating the foundation with the classic hydrangeas, she began incorporating the “star of the show”: Gardenia peonies. This was the focal point of the design which determined where the rest of the filler flowers would be placed: kangaroo paws, calla lilies, garden roses, and sprigs of hyacinths for fragrance. Her tip is to cluster flowers in a way that ties the colors together into a harmonious pattern.
 
Maria Alejandra says that floral design is like art–to make extraordinary designs you have to break the rules of conventional structures. Play with colors, varieties, and textures to make your floral arrangements stand out. She said it is also important to listen to your clients’ preferences: some prefer roses partially opened, while others may like bouquets that are extremely fragrant.
 
One of the most important details after delivering a floral arrangement to the client is informing your customers about the care and maintenance of the flowers at home. Flower Fanatic includes an instructional card with every arrangement so that the customers know how often to change the water, how much water to refill, and how much to trim from the stem. Maria Alejandra also advises removing flowers that have perished so that other varieties are not affected by the ethylene or bacteria from the decay.
 
Stay tuned for a full video of the workshop!
 
Follow us on Instagram @virginfarms for updates. If you are interested in collaborating with Virgin Farms or you would like to contribute your floral knowledge, reach out to us. We would love to build our floral community to share with everyone in the industry.
 

Rose farm post production

How the Coronavirus has Impacted the Rose Industry in Ecuador

This global pandemic has impacted everyone around the world from health to the economy. In an effort to curve the increase of cases of the coronavirus we have all been adhering to social distancing and sanitation practices.

 

Businesses have been struggling to stay afloat while others have had to close their doors. The floral industry has been affected by the low demand for flowers and worldwide shutdown—and the Dutch floral sector is one of many examples of the unfortunate dump of thousands and thousands of flowers that have perished.

 

In Ecuador, roses are one of the top exports and contributor to its economy. This pandemic however has decreased the production and exportation of roses to countries around the globe. We interviewed Esteban Chiriboga, President of Ecoroses, our top rose provider located in Machachi, Ecuador. We asked some questions to get a firsthand perspective of the staggering effect the situation has had on the rose industry.

 

How has the situation concerning the coronavirus affected your business?

 

We first began experiencing the impact of the coronavirus from some of the European and Chinese markets where the effects of the virus have been dramatic. Our exports to those markets reached zero and slowly but surely other European countries have followed suit. Some states in the USA, and later others, and finally the Russian market also shut down, making our current exportations practically zero. There are flights available to ship flowers, but there are internal restrictions in each country that impede operations.

 

The emergence of the virus in Ecuador and its dissemination has also affected us, given that we have restrictions on operations for personnel and supplies.

 

We have decided to carry out certain tasks by working from home, some of the administrative, and we have let 50 percent of our field personnel go home to remain in quarantine. The other half of our employees are carrying out minimal work such as caring for the plants and processing a small quantity of roses. We are working 6 hours and 4 days per week. The effect and loss are enormous, but we are following strict guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.

 

In percentage, how much has the demand for roses decreased for your company?

 

The first week it reduced 30 percent, the second week 70 percent, and this week we ended with 90 percent of decreased sales. Additionally, the payments from some clients have been delayed and our obligations must continue.

 

How many stems per day are being processed?

 

At this moment, we are processing almost below the order requests for some clients, an average of 8,000 stems per day from the average of 80,000 stems we harvest per day. The flowers that are not processed go directly to be destroyed and transformed into compost, an organic fertilizer.

 

What is being done to care for the plants while the demand for roses is low?

 

The most basic—we are irrigating and fertilizing daily but at minimal dosage. We are trying to minimize the diseases and plagues by removing the flowers that are overdue for cutting so that it does not rot the plants, and harvest roses that are left to sell.

 

What precautions and protocols are you practicing during this pandemic?

 

We have implemented a very strict protocol that begins with allowing the people most vulnerable or high risk to remain at home, provision of the security team, training our employees on sanitation and precautions to carry out in the workplace and at home to stay healthy, disinfecting all vehicles of transportation for personnel, as well as disinfection of every person that enters or leaves the farm property. Additionally, by having half of our employees stay home, we minimize the density of persons in each area of the farm property and departments.

 

What problems have you encountered as a result of limitations or regulations, and how have you resolved or adapted to these challenges to come through for your clients?

 

The authorities have allowed us to work and consider us a priority sector because our exportations help sustain Ecuador’s economy. They have granted us safe passageways to transit through and reach the airport. We have been able to do all this, but unfortunately some flights have been canceled or product has not been able to be exported because the country of destination has been shut down; in this case, nothing can be done, and we understand and accept if our client must cancel. We remain operational and we are ready to react and attend to any of our clients’ requirements.

 

What inspirational message would you like to share with the world? What can flowers contribute during these challenging times?

 

A message of hope on one hand, given that this eventually will be over, and we will have to adjust to the new reality and resume our lives and businesses. On the other hand, I would like to share a message of reflection to everyone that yes, flowers are not an indispensable article for the body or for life, but they are for the soul and for the spirit. We unite with the campaign: Buy Flowers Not Toilet Paper.


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