Colorful Calla

I’m here to say that no type of photography has kicked my ass more. This is an incredibly difficult genre to shoot, let alone do it well.

Having that out of the way, it took me a solid two days to arrive at this photo. This was captured using only window light. I had others where I shined a backlight on it but they did not come out as sharp as this one. I know I have a long road of learning ahead of me, but I can’t remember having as much fun doing photography as I have these past couple of days.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I’ve always loved taking photos of flowers and other subjects up close, but I finally bit the bullet and purchased a macro lens to do it for real. I’m so new to the genre that I don’t even know what I don’t know yet.

Technical Details

Sony A7rIV, Sony 90mm Macro lens, f/22, 0.6 sec


David: Welcome to a whole 'nuther world with flowers and macro. I have the 100mm Minolta granddaddy of your lens and it is still a joy to work with and incredibly sharp .This is a great subject and a fine arrangement and comp. Your lighting looks pretty good here. My only wish would be for a touch more light on the spadex to bring out the textures there. Since you had this in a controlled environment you might try your hand at using a reflector to put some illumination on underlit spots. I’ve got some fancy ones that I’ve accumulated over the years but you can do it yourself with aluminum foil over a small cookie sheet. It works well and then if you want to bake some cookies you’re already set up. Again, well done and keep 'em coming. >=))>


Oh yeah, I love it when landscape guys try macro and discover just how much there is to pay attention to and manage. Bravo for jumping in with both feet and giving us such a lovely photo. California callas are so colorful and dramatic. I’ve never managed a photo this nicely done. The depth and width of each flower is a lot to deal with and I think the sharpness is nice and uniform throughout, with a natural fall off to the stem. The angle is nice to get a look down in the bowl, but yeah I agree with Bill that lighting the spadex, a term I would have never come up with in a million years so thanks for that, Bill! Ditto the advice about cookies and reflectors. Bonus!

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Thanks @Bill_Fach for the advice. I will definitely give the foil and cookie sheet a try. Not sure about the cookies afterward, though. I need to shed a few pounds :slight_smile:

Thank you for the kind words @Kris_Smith. It definitely is a more detailed oriented type of photography, at least for me. When I shoot landscapes, I go mostly by feel. Macro requires much for thought and attention for me. I think I’m addicted, though.

David, I have been shooting these colorful cala lilies from our garden for two years. It is challenging to get good focus inside the flower as well as the outside curves. You have found an unusual angle to photograph the flower! Congrats. I do a lot of flowers in my studio because you have more control of lighting especially. I agree a little more light on the spadex (just looked up the term in Google) will be good.

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Thank you so much for your feedback @annlouiselyman. It is much appreciated. I, too, had to look up Spadex on Google. :slight_smile: