© Jerry Rice - NYI Instructor
Shadows and reflections can be part of the photo. In the picture to the left, NYI Instructor Jerry Rice used glossy blue paper as the background. At first glance, you might think this is the blue of the sky. But then you see the heavy shadow of the flower. The shadow helps make this picture! It's a wonderful part of the composition. And we know that you don't see shadows like this in the sky.
What color background? You are limited only by your imagination and the availability of supplies. Our suggestion: Use a background color that contrasts with the color of the flowers. If the flower is red, don't use a red background...etc. Neutral colors like gray, black, white, and beige are good if the flower is very colorful. If the flower is a neutral color - like the white lilies, above - a more vibrant background color is usually better.
What lighting? Any light source can do. If you're outdoors, consider natural sunlight. Indoors, you'll probably use flash. Just be aware of the possibility of a hard shadow, and decide in advance if you want your picture to include that shadow, or you want it to be outside the frame.
NYI Dean Chuck DeLaney reports that in warm weather he wanders out after dark and shoots flowers using only his on-camera flash, as in this picture of June-blooming peonies. The concentrated light of his on-camera flash gives sharp definition to the flowers. Further, because it's pitch-black out, the background is usually totally dark.
© Chuck DeLaney - NYI Dean
Other backgrounds. Don't overlook other possible backgrounds. Perhaps you want a background that has texture, like the slate in this picture. (Hint: To bring out texture, have your lighting come from the side.)