Are They Blue, or are They Purple?


Visit any garden park this time of year, and you’ll most likely find plenty of people armed with their cameras, looking for that elusive floral shot: the one with the most intense colors and largest blooms. But wait, don’t snap that shot unless you find the most favorable light on the subject! Or, should I say, less light on the subject? And, I do mean that, literally. Watch out for the sun, especially with the lighter shades of purple. I find they are the most difficult to photograph. You will lose their delicate color if you photograph them in direct sunlight. Try for a cloudy day without too much glare. Or, try for an angle where the sun does not hit the bloom directly, preferably when the sun is at an oblique angle, not directly above.

I had a bit of fun this week photographing the gorgeous and aromatic, purple Wisteria flowers in my local garden park. They are a big, tall woody stemmed plant with beautiful garlands of hanging blooms draped all around. I went out later in the day so that I had more leverage in focusing on areas of the plant that did not have direct sunlight on it. I experimented quite a bit. As many of you photographers already know, shooting purple flowers in a shaded area will add more blue than purple to your photos. Sometimes that is what you want, as an effect. It is all a matter of preference. Here are a few more Wisteria photos with different degrees of lighting. Notice the variations in blues and purple tints.





And here is another example of color saturation with blue when photographing in the shade. Check out the purple fringed, white Irises in the first shot taken in full sunlight. Below that are similar blooms, only photographed in the shade. What a lovely blue! Which is your favorite? Again, a matter of preference.



And, here are some Bluebell flowers photographed in a shaded area. Again, the blue saturation comes into effect. I actually prefer the blue instead of their true purple color in this case. Fits the Bluebell name a bit more nicely, don’t you think?


So, get on out there while the spring flowers are still around and have fun experimenting!


© Peggy A Thompson

About northwestphotos

A long time resident of Washington State, located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest USA. I am retired and enjoy regional travel, exploring all the wondrous, natural settings that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. If you get a chance, visit my Northwestphotos Zazzle store,
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5 Responses to Are They Blue, or are They Purple?

  1. Blues and purples react so much more to changes in lighting than the other colors, as you have pointed out. If you want to take it a step further, try using a flash, it can drive one crazy. That applies to birds that are basically blue as well as flowers.

  2. Who is bothered? 🙂 i simply love the flowers!! Gorgeous!!

  3. Beautiful shots, Peggy!

Thank you!

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