Getting red or purple photos of black flowers and getting grey photos
of white flowers is an artifact of the camera. Most people have their
camera set on automatic metering. This is fine for most photos and if
not, it can be compensated by photo editing software. For the more
extreme exposure, ie white or black flowers this doesn't work well.
The camera metering is set up for an average lighting situation, which
is a mix of various light intensities, and it averages out to a 17%
grey, (Photo term) . Thus camera tries to make all photos match this
theoretical exposure. Thus it makes light coloured flowers darker, and
dark flowers lighter.
There are ways to overcome this. All cameras have a means to override
this by an exposure setting. This is found in different places in
different cameras. On my current digital camera I go to "Menu" where
there is a menu for exposure and adjust from there. For light coloured
flowers I over expose by about two settings. For dark flowers I under
expose. Sometimes a bit of trial and error is needed to find the right
There are a couple of other means to trick the camera into giving you
what you want. One way is to have a "grey" card and fix the camera's
exposure to this. A balanced photo from a magazine will work as well
as back of your hand, which is close to 17% grey, for most people. What
you do, is focus camera on flower, and then put target (grey card,
photo or back of hand) in front of the flower, and slightly depress
exposure button. This locks focus and exposure of the camera. Then
remove target and finish pressing button down. this can also be done by
pointing camera at another flower, that is a mid coloured flower, at
same distance and at same camera angle, again press exposure button
partly down, and then reset up with target flower and complete
exposure. In this case, exposure angle is very important. If sun is
behind you, then with setting exposure, sun must also be behind you.
Another method is to focus camera at the foliage, preset exposure by
partially depressing exposure button, and then return camera to target
flower and complet exposure.
The partially depressing of the shutter button does take a gentle
touch. Personally my preferred method is to adjust the exposure
setting. But you need to remember to reset this after taking the
pictures you need, as the camera doesn't change this exposure setting
on its own.
The parially depressing exposure button can also work for those
situations where camera is insisting in having background in focus
rather than the flower.