Can Dandelions help?

April 19, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Can Dandelions help?

Although lawn owners may curse these small yellow weeds that appear every year, they can be helpful in a number of ways. There are many articles such as Promoting Health through the use of dandelions, but since this blog centers around photography, let me focus on that area.

As the weather gets warmer, many photographers choose to shoot outdoors featuring nature shots. These images can range from the fashionable subject in a maxi dress, to a more casual summer dress. Some even may strive for the Bohemian look when photographing outdoors within fields of flowers.  Surreal images are possible with almost a endless supply of filters, movement and even varying the DOF within images.  A prop crown can even be created using Dandelions which children will almost always enjoy.

The delicate white plant that spread seeds so easily has been featured in almost every type of nature photography ranging from fine art to subjects gently blowing the seedlings into the wind.

Here is an unusual idea for a photographer who may be planning an outdoor shoot, but rain or something else forces the shoot to be held within a studio.  Home supply stores often have carpets or rugs that have a grass like appearance to them ranging from the very short putting green type carpets to the more realistic long blade grass. Some of these carpets can quite expensive and bulky coming in 12 foot widths which can be a problem to store especially in a small studio. But suppose you opt for the smaller pre-cut carpet with grass blades barely 1/4" tall. This can a little unrealistic in a couple of ways.

Grass is rarely a uniform green color, even within manicured golf courses. These carpets tend to be a uniform dark green, but we can fix that in a couple of ways.  One way in pre-production is to purchase a can of light yellow spray paint.  Standing at least 18 inches from the carpet LIGHTLY dust the carpet with paint in random places so that the 'grass' has a more natural appearance to it.  A method that could even give you more control would in in post production in photoshop using tools such as Dodge and Burn to give the grass a more lifelike appearance.  

Grass again is rarely totally flat, so one could make a rolling hill by placing different objects underneath the carpet to give it a more natural look. A large rolled object placed behind your subject may may the carpet look like a hill is in the background.

The blades of the grass may be still a little short, unless you opt for the higher end carpets. A 12 foot x 4 foot premium carpet could cost well over $100, which unless used as part of a regular studio, could be cost prohibitive. Another option in post production may be to use brushes such as from Brusheezy while working within photoshop in post production.

OK, back to the dandelions. If you have ever picked a dandelion, you know that the stem is not very sturdy (at least not for long). One way to effectively place dandelions, and perhaps even some small flower is to look at the stem. A dandelion stem is hollow, so you could easily place some craft wire (or even 16 gauge electrical wire) within the stem to allow the flower to stand upright. The wire could be taped to the carpet of even poked through the carpet into some styrofoam.  Of course, if we go to Amazon, they even could provide you with Fake Dandelions for a more permanent look for a set design within a studio.

By using a combination of these methods, you can obtain a reasonably realistic 'field of grass' even within a studio on a one time basis or as a regular set.




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