I'm Kathleen Clemons, Ask Me Anything!

Hi NPN! I’m Kathleen Clemons and I am happy to be answering your questions today! I am primarily known as a flower photographer, though I see my images as flower portraits. You can see my photos on my website, www.kathleenclemons.com, or on my two Instagram pages, https://www.instagram.com/kathleenclemons/ for my iPhone work, and https://www.instagram.com/kathleenclemonsphotography/ for my DSLR photos.

I have lived on the coast of Maine my entire life. My degree is in education, and much of my time is spent teaching location workshops and online classes. I have also filmed classes for Creative Live, Craftsy and Lensbaby. Being able to combine my passions for both nature photography and teaching brings much joy to my life.

I am excited to be answering your questions for the next 24 hours. So, what do you want to know?

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Hi Kathleen! Has this health crisis we’re in affected your creativity?

Hi Beth,
Yes, in many ways. It’s always hard to be creative when you are distracted, and with all that is currently going on in the world, distractions and worrying do interfere. I am trying to deal with that by trying new techniques which I have been videotaping and sharing on my Facebook page. I am trying to do this weekly. As things warm up more in Maine and I can get outside to shoot in my gardens, my stress level should definitely go down.

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If I were to purchase only one lens baby, which one would you recommend?

I am interested in WHERE to put textures on my computer so they would be available for use in Photoshop and Topaz Studio 2.

Hi Barbara,
That is tough for me to answer not knowing what you like to shoot and what your style is. Each Lensbaby creates a different effect, but if I had to choose my two favorites for photographing flowers, I would choose the Velvet 85 (Velvet 56 if you are shooting with a crop sensor camera) and the Composer Pro II with Sweet 50 optic, I love them both and they are the ones I use most often.

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All answers will be here in the forum. I keep my textures in a folder on my desktop.

Your photographs are gorgeous!! I how do you create them?

Thank you, Tiffany! All of my images are created using only natural light. I spend lots of time really looking at the flowers as well as their backgrounds to create portraits that celebrate the best features of my subject. I use mostly Lensbaby lenses, and occasionally a 180mm f/3.5 macro lens.

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How do you decide on what background to use?

I’m always on the lookout for pleasing backgrounds but seldom seem able to find one to go with the image I’m working on.

Hi, Kathleen. Thanks for doing this! Can you tell me what software you use primarily for your post-processing.

I am assuming you mean a substitute background? Whether I am adding a texture in Photoshop, or shooting my subject with a printed texture behind it, choosing the right texture is super important. Though mostly personal choice, I try and choose a color that will bring out a color in my subject. I also choose simple textures without strong lines so that the lines of my subject can shine. You want to be sure that the background does not become a secondary subject, that it adds to the image and doesn’t instead take away from it. I also find that I have developed favorites, and use those more often. The more you use textures, the easier it gets to choose.

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Hi Linda,
I use Photoshop for post-processing, and I also love Nik filters.

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Hi Kathleen,
Thank you for your time today. I struggle when shooting indoors to use backgrounds that will accent the flower and find that I default to black…Can you give a suggestion for a better work around for this? I would like to use colors that create more of a Monet feeling to my images but have failed so far to give you an idea of my vision in my head

Hi Kathleen
I am wondering how you get your yellow flowers to look right. I have tried several different thing and when I get them on the computer they look so bright they almost hurt. I use the closest white Balance setting to the environment as possible and often shoot on over cast days and it still is bright. Any suggestions

Hi Leah,
I rarely shoot flowers on black, it just feels too dark and heavy for the look I prefer. Have you tried shooting on white? It’s a wonderful, universal choice for flowers, and shooting on white makes it much easier to add a textured background in post-processing, so you end up with many different options to help you to choose the one that matches the vision you have for the image.


Hi Kelly,
Yellow can be a tough color to accurately capture correctly, especially if the color is a strong yellow or has a bit of red in it. Have you tried underexposing a tad?

Yes, I was referring to composite photos as that is what was sent in the email I received.
Thank you for the response.

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Kathleen, since I now only have the iphone XS I cannot use the lensbaby lenses. Are there lenses for other iphones that are usable with later iphones?