Photographer Leah McLean of The Salted Image shares her incredible images and some tips for how she arranges flowers to create them. We think her flower arranging tips for beginners are just as useful for composing a painting as they are for creating stunning photographs! Here is just a taste of what Leah shares in the Fall 2022 issue of The Turquoise Iris Journal.
Ever since I was a child, I have been hooked on the art and craft of photography. I also have a great love of nature, gardening, and studying art. I love being able to combine these interests in my image-making in order to create environmental portraits and floral still-life photographs. I started my business around 17 years ago and have transitioned from photographing people to growing, designing, and Photographing my own flowers. I work with an art licensing agent to sell my prints worldwide and teach photography skills through Skillshare and my own education platform.
For my arrangements, I like to create simple groupings made up of just one or two types of flowers or make a larger, more varied combination of blooms and foliage. When building the varied arrangements, I try to have a few main focal point flowers, like Dahlias and Peonies, some supporting cast members, something like marigolds or carnations, and then my beloved extras like heuchera and ornamental grasses and shrubs for added texture and visual interest.
When I craft my scenes, I really try to listen to each bloom and follow its lilting voice to where I should place it into the arrangement. Some flowers may have a stubborn bent in one direction or constantly tip their face downward. I try to work with these characteristics instead of forcing them to follow my will. I love to forage from the path outside our neighborhood and add wild and unexpected weeds and branches. My children bring me expired insects and I add them as little surprises into the scene for the observant viewer.
When I create arrangements, I arrange them specifically for my photography and so I am not concerned with making a long-lasting tabletop centerpiece. Much of the time my flowers are just precariously balanced upon each other so that I can capture the photo before changing the floral composition.
When paring flowers I pay attention to textures, shape, and color. If I have big round flowers with loose leaves like peonies, I might try and pair them with a more angular flower like a tulip; its smooth, simple petals are a nice contrast to the extravagant peony.
Find more from Leah, including exclusive pictures, in the Fall 2022 issue! Subscribe today, issues ship October 15th!