8 Creative and Easy Valentine’s Day Ideas for Photographing Roses

The gift of a rose or roses is quite romantic and especially topical with Valentine's Day upon us. Why not cConsider photographing these amazing little beauties too? Photographic prints, metal prints, attachments to an email, canvas art and cards with images of your roses will let you share your passion year round.

Let's explore ideas and techniques for turning roses into images reflecting your personal artistry.

Idea 1: The Traditionalist Without Perfection

We'd be a bit remiss by not including the traditional red rose. Before processing the rose to perfection, enjoy the rose with its textures and imperfections. Somehow an imperfect rose is a perfect symbol of romance.

When photographing large flowers, using an aperture of f/11 or lower will produce a larger depth of field. By using a larger depth of field, more petals will be in focus. The fading red rose below used f/22.


Tip: When photographing with big depths of field, there is less light passing through the sensor. The use of a tripod and cable release will minimize shutter shake and keep your images sharp.

Idea 2: The Vintage Moment

Create romance, drama, and mystery. The creamy white and rich red roses add a hint of contrast and elegance against a mirrored base and black velvet. To add a vintage feel, I loaded the image into photoshop and used free flypapers (for Adobe CC members) as layers to add casts of color and textures. The Lensbaby Velvet 56mm was used to capture the image.

To create the scene, I used an old inexpensive mirror and purchased two roses at the grocery store. The scene was lit with a small flashlight. A tripod was used along with setting a time released of the shutter three seconds after I pressed the shutter button.

Idea 3: In Your Face

Fill the frame with nothing but the pure sweetness of color, petals, and light. When photographing flowers it's common to use our macro lenses. But what if you don't have one? The best lens for the job is the one in your hand. The coral-pink rose was taken in the garden using a Nikon 18-55mm kit lens for the cropped sensor camera I had at the time.

Idea 4: This Bud is For You

The delicate little buds of a rose melt with a contrasting background when using a very shallow depth of field.

Idea 5: Reaching a High Note

When the musical piano notes from Casablanca hit the airwaves, who can forget the character of Lisa's request asking for the pianist to “Play It Again Sam.”

Bring back some vintage romance with the red rose on the piano. Sure, it's traditional and been done many times before. But seriously, who cares. Real romance crosses the lines of traditional with your own unique touch!


Idea 6: Misty Petals

The red rose is the fashion icon of the flower family. Her vibrancy stands out among most flower and other roses. Add sparkle with a spritz of mist and soft light.


Reds's intensity can easily overpower and be over done. Check out Jason Row's How to Keep Your Reds Under Control

Idea 7: Faded Glory

What to do with flowers once they hit the down and out? Photograph them! Wilted flowers with their rough and crackly textures shouldn't be forgotten. With the roses below, a printed muted background attached to a mounting board served as a complementary backdrop.


Idea 8: A Teardrop or Two

The elements of nature add contrast to the velvety petals and rich reds. Chad, the artist, soaked and surrounded the rose with artistry using active water drops and a black and white scheme as the background.

You don't have to wait for nature to take charge. Make your own rain using a garden nozzle hand sprayer.


When photographing roses (or any flower), there a few tools along with links that help speed the creativity and productivity! Check out the list below:

  1. Plamp – holds plants stable in a breeze or in a specific position. The plamp (or something equivalent) is an extra hand in steadying your subject so you can spend time working on composition.
  2. Clip-on light – this is a recent addition to my tool bag. Great for backlighting in warm or cool light. Flexible, lightweight with a clip to keep your hands free.
  3. Printed backdrops – If you have images with color schemes, bokehs that you like, print and mount them to use a backdrop in situations that have distracting backgrounds.
  4. Tripod & cable release – for sharp images, low light situations

With Valentine's Day upon us and spring around the corner, roses and flowers will be bursting with color and life. February is our opportunity to photograph the colors and texture of love and romance.

About the author

Sheen Watkins

Sheen Watkins is a bird, nature, wildlife photographer and photography writer. You can follow her photography on Facebook, Instagram and her website. A long term birder and nature enthusiast she is Vice President of Saving Birds Thru Habitat, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating others about the importance of protecting our natural habitat for migrating birds. She also has a travel and photography blog.


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