52 Frames

Top Tip for Black and White Flower Photography

I rejoined the 52 Frames Weekly Challenge in Week 51 of 2020 to learn new photography techniques and reach out of my comfort zone.

Black and White Minimalist Photography is this weeks challenge.

My first idea was the obvious, a long-exposure water shot with a 10-stop ND Filter. But it’s the middle of winter and grim outside

Observing the flower buds on our Christmas Hyacinth slowly opening up during the week, I naively thought that’d make a good subject in black and white.


  • My black winter coat as a background over a stool.
  • Two Rotolight Neo 2 LED Lamps at 45° to the flower set to 5000°K.
  • A 90 mm macro lens straight on at 900 mm from the central petals.
  • Manual exposure.
  • Centre point metering.
  • F/11 aperture for a 6 cm depth of field to keep most of the petals in focus.
  • 1/15 shutter speed on a tripod with a 2-second timer for a low 200 ISO.
  • Manual focusing.

Post Processing

Processed in Lightroom using the Vivid colour profile.

The hyacinths look gorgeous in colour.

Hyacinth Flower Photography in Vivid Colour
Hyacinth Flowers in Vivid Colour

Converted to Black and White using a standard Lightroom profile.

Now I know why there are not many blog posts on techniques to master black and white flower photography.

Hyacinth Flower Photography in Black and White
Hyacinth Flowers in Black and White

I could have tried converting to Black and White in Photoshop and adding loads of adjustment layers.

Fundamentally, the subject flowers in black and white are difficult.

Form of Flowers in Black and White may have been a better idea, but I left it too late to meet the weekly challenge deadline.

Study of flower petal shape in macro mode may be interesting.

Flowers look better in colour, as nature intended.

What do you think, Colour or Black and White?

Top Tip

My top tip is to develop in colour, then convert to black and white after you’ve made all the adjustments.

What I Learnt

Flowers look awful in Black and White.

Without the 52 Frames challenge, I would not have known that.

A Weekly Challenge is a good way to learn something new. Incrementally building your skills week-by-week.

Don’t leave your photoshoot to the last day.

Now What?

Keep up with the Weekly Challenge.

Beat my last 24-week streak in 2019.

Be happy Framing.