Photo Editing for Beginners

Being the non-professional photographer that I am, my photos ALWAYS need to be edited. I’ve learned a few tricks on how to edit a photo to get it to look the way I want, even if my original shot wasn’t exactly great. First thing’s first, what tools do you use to edit?? I edit everything straight through my phone (unless I need to photoshop something big, then that’s on my pc) and I primarily use Adobe Lightroom. However, I have the free version of Lightroom, so I also use Snapseed to blur backgrounds when necessary, and sometimes I will also edit the photo straight in iPhone Photos’ editing features since I’m able to adjust the “brilliance” more easily.

Okay so you have the right tools, next you need to decide how you want your final product to look! I don’t like when my photos look over-edited to where they seem unreal, but I also prefer sharp lines, vibrant colors and decent contrast. The point of my editing is to accentuate my pieces and make the viewers see how great they are in real life- the last thing I want is to misrepresent how something will look when you buy it! That being said, sometimes it’s fun to have artistic photos that are edited to look (in my opinion) super cool, even if they definitely don’t look like that in real life.

When I get to the actual editing, I use Lightroom first and I go down the line of tabs: start with lighting, next adjust color, then increase texture, clarity, and sharpness. If I had to choose one editing feature that’s my favorite, I’d have to say it’s playing with contrast (this helps the image pop and not feel as flat). After getting my lighting and colors fixed up in Lightroom I consider the focus within my photo. If too much of the image is in focus and I want to narrow that down, I’ll open it up in Snapseed and use their Blur tool as my last step.

So you’re editing your photo and something just doesn’t feel right about it, it happens to all of us! Take a step back, do something else and come back to it, you may find you love it as it is (and were overthinking things per usual) or that you now realize what’s missing! In the end, it’s about how you want the photo to appear to the viewer, and that just takes practice.

Happy Floristing and Happy Editing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

Improving Photography Skills

Let me start by saying: I am not a professional Photographer, and I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing most of the time with Photography. It’s a skill that I’m still working on and learning, but I can at least say I have improved and learned a few things since first starting product photography.

Product photography is a key ingredient in the necessary evil that is marketing; I wish I could just tell a few people I make beautiful arrangements and then word of mouth would do the rest of the work, leaving me to never have to post anything ever again, but unfortunately that’s not the way this works. Taking the right picture (and marketing it the right way) is sometimes more work than my actual job: being a Florist, so it’s important to do it well (or at least not suck at it).

During my trial-and-error-style of photography studies I learned about the necessity of a few important things: setting intent, background, angles, lighting, and editing. Think of “setting your intent” as the planning phase: decide what you want the image to show and focus on. This may be showing the use of a bouquet by having a bride holding it, or it may be highlighting the artwork on a wineglass by showing off the brushstrokes. If you don’t know what you want your image to portray, you won’t know how to set it up!

Background, angles, and lighting are all somewhat self-explanatory, but that doesn’t make them easy to get the hang of. When figuring out where to stage your photo, a large part of that is deciding what is going to be behind your focal point (*cough cough* background *cough cough*). Backgrounds can enhance your image as well as take away from your focal point. I typically choose a background that’s mostly one color and has some texture (e.g. a paneled wall, an interesting-grained wood table, a lush plant, etc.). Once you’ve decided on your background, you’ll need to figure out your angles and lighting. I tend to take a BUNCH of pictures, moving the objects as well as the camera, to figure out what looks best. Ever notice how you sometimes look different in different pictures of yourself? The same goes for objects! Play around with the angles, play around with the lighting, figure out what works best for what you’re trying to create.

Editing your photo digitally is a WHOLE different ballgame that I’ll talk about in another blog post soon, but for now, go take some pictures!

Happy Floristing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

How to Pick Your Flowers

Think of building a floral arrangement like you’re cooking dinner: you have food in the fridge, you can throw it all into a bowl and maybe it will turn out alright, or you can look at a recipe to see what ingredients work together. After you figure out what foods to use, then you can go back to the “throwing it into a bowl” plan, or you can follow the instructions to make sure it turns out the best it can. Flowers work the SAME WAY (gasp!).

You can walk into any grocery store and grab a bunch of those petally, leafy things and call it a day; or you can pick out certain flowers that go well together and follow a plan to put them together. First thing’s first: how do you pick what flowers to use??

Floral Arrangements, whether you’re building a centerpiece, bouquet, or even something more complex, all have three basic properties:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Texture

Let’s break it down…

Color

               Colors should complement each other! For a basis think some light, some dark, and some middle toned. You can choose complementary colors (colors that are near each other on the color wheel) or contrasting colors (colors that are across from each other on the wheel). One tip when choosing contrasting colors, try to have colors that tie each other together. For example, having pink and blue flowers and incorporating some purple as well.

Size

               Size works the same way as color: think one big, one medium, and some small. When you have all the same size nothing sticks out and the individual flowers don’t get the attention they deserve.

Texture

               Adding some texture elements means maybe using some greens or flowers with atypical petal structure. If they’re all the same shape it tends to blend together and it’s hard to tell where one flower ends and another begins.

Now you’re ready to pick out your flowers! Happy Floristing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

How to Care for Cut Flowers

How in the h*ll do you keep cut flowers alive?? Well, I had to learn due to the fact that pretty non-dead-looking flowers is low-key important when you’re a Florist, and now I’m going to share this knowledge with you! There are some general tips that help with all cut plants and then there are some specific flowers that enjoy being more of a pain and require a little extra love, but I’ve broken it down as simply as I can below.

  1. Prep the flowers
    • Unpack the flowers from their wrapping as soon as you get them home, but you’ll need to do a little prep work before you put them in water!
    • REMEMBER, nothing keeps flowers fresher for longer than a clean environment, so be sure to use clean clippers, a clean vase, and clean water!
    • Cut at least 1-2 inches off the ends of the stems, making sure to cut at a 45° angle to help them soak up water better. Take off any leaves/foliage that would be sitting in water once you place the flowers in their vase/container.
    • Water temperatures also have an effect on the bloom life, and while room temperature water is typically the safest, warm water can help open the stems to better soak up water. Be careful not to shock the flowers however, for example putting fresh-from-the-cooler flowers in hot water.
    • Just like people need food, so do flowers! Be sure to mix flower food into the vase/container water.
  2. Find them a good home
    • Flowers tend to last longer in cooler temperatures. The ideal temperatures for storing cut flowers is 33°-35° and 50°-55° for tropical flowers such as bird of paradise, tropical orchids, and anthurium. This is best when keeping flowers for a long time before designing with them. However, if you’re designing immediately and putting the flowers out for display, steer clear of extreme temperatures while still leaning towards a cooler environment.
    • If you’re like me and don’t have a cooler, keep the flowers in a cooler part of your house/apartment and pick them up 1-2 days before designing with them so they have time to soak and liven up but not so much time that they wilt.
    • Sunlight speeds up the bloom life, so to keep the flowers looking fresh for as long as possible you’ll want to keep them out of direct sunlight, however placing some flowers in sunlight will help them open up. If you are storing your flowers for a few days before designing, keep them in a dark room to last longer.
  3. Freshen them up
    • Bacteria is the arch nemesis of cut flowers, and the best way to combat it is to trim the ends of your flowers and to replace the water every couple of days!

I hope this information helps you with your cut flowers whether you’re designing for yourself or for a business. Good luck and happy floristing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

Starting a Business

(And my Bare Minimums Business Lists)

When I decided to start a business, I planned the only way I know how to plan: I made lists! I knew that a lot goes into getting a business up and running, so the only possible way I was going to keep track of it all was if I organized it in a way where I could continuously add and reprioritize tasks. I started by grouping my lists into my major categories: Materials List, Business Outline, Things To Do, and Random Notes. My Random Notes list is kind of like the “junk drawer” of lists; it’s meant to be where you put information you come across or think of but want to come back to later to research or implement.

After starting the framework of my lists and filling them with everything I could think of, it was time to fill them with what other people could think of! (*cough cough* research time *cough cough*) I kid you not, my research consisted of typing “How do I become a Florist?” into Google and clicking the first thing that showed up. BUT that is how I found my Florist Fairy Godmother, Alison Ellis of Real Florist Business and Floral Artistry. She showed me that I really could do it and laid out what I needed to get started. If you’re interested in checking out her page, you can click here. After getting over that hurdle (also known as fear) I was finally able to take the next step. Sometimes, all you need is for someone to show you that the hardest part is all in your head.

If you’re starting your own project or business, here is the framework for my Bare Minimums Business Lists!

Good Luck!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

Processing Flowers

You’ve picked out your flowers and you’re about ready to start designing! However, there’s one step you should do first that will make your design process easier and help your flowers look their best: Flower Processing! For those of you who are hearing this term for the first time, it basically means cleaning and trimming your stems.

Watch my video demonstration below on processing your ingredients to use in arrangements!

As a short recap of the video, the main goals of Processing are:

  • Stripping off any leaves that would sit in water and cause excess bacteria growth
  • Taking off any dead or unwanted branches, flowers, etc.
  • Trimming your stems so they can start soaking up water
  • Leaving them in clean water to hydrate 1-2 nights

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

My Bare-Minimum Floral Design Tips

(And how to say F**k-it to Fear)

If you’ve read my previous post on being an ‘Accidental Wedding Florist,’ you know that I didn’t start out knowing what I was doing. In fact, I’m still learning and figuring that out. When I say that the very next time I made an arrangement was AFTER I decided to officially become a Florist (which also happened to be years later), I’m not exaggerating. **If you’re bored of stories and only interested in my Bare Minimum Floral Design Tips, scroll to the bottom.**

Fast forward to when I began making moves to become a Florist, my desktop is filled with lists (things to learn, things to buy, etc.), and I’m dying to make my “first” arrangement! What I wouldn’t tell a soul at the time was that I mostly wanted to see if I was even any good at arranging flowers. As much as I wanted to jump in, I was having this inner battle on which came first: the chicken or the egg? And by that I mean, I couldn’t possibly make the arrangement without buying the tools first, but I also couldn’t buy the tools unless I was sure this was going to work (cue steam coming out of my ears).

This is the moment where I reiterate one of my long-standing mottos: F**k it and go!

I swallowed my danged fear (yet again) and just went for it! I drove to the local grocery store, picked out flowers I thought would look nice together, got a cute vase, and took them home to be floristed…designed?…arranged?? Whatever you want to call it, I did it to those flowers. And guess what, they looked be-YOU-tifully sub-par. (Don’t mind me, the tears are from cracking up at this creation still) Honestly, at the time I was darn proud of those flowers, but even that is not the point! DON’T STAND IN YOUR OWN WAY (I’m creating more mottos for myself every day if you can’t tell). All that mattered was that I did it and I decided to continue to get better. You don’t always need to be a pro to attempt something, in fact I challenge you to (safely) do something you’ve always wanted to but didn’t think you were quite ready. Who knows, you might just be amazing, or love it enough to work towards becoming amazing!

Warm floral arrangement, sunflower, tulips, orange roses, flower centerpiece
Warm floral arrangement, sunflower, tulips, orange roses, flower centerpiece

The Bare-Minimum Floral Design Tips

And for you beginner Florists out there (whether you’re designing for yourself or others) here are some tips that may help:

  1. Bare minimum things you need:
    1. Flowers
    2. Knife or scissors
    3. Water
    4. Container to put the flowers in (preferably one that will hold flowers)
  2. Pick flowers of varying sizes (small, medium, and large blooms)
  3. Pick flowers in colors that you like together (don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!), whether that’s similar colors or opposing colors, have fun with it!
    1. You can also use different textures to add interest
  4. Whatever knife or scissors you use to trim them, make sure they’re sharp and clean
  5. Make sure to cut off at least 1-2 inches of the stem, and try to cut at a 45° angle to help the flowers take in more water
  6. Take off any leaves that would be sitting in water, otherwise they cause bacteria to build up a lot more quickly
  7. To allow your flowers to open more (but not too quickly) and look healthier, after you trim them, keep them in water in a cool and darker room
  8. Arrange flowers so that the blooms fall on varying planes to add interest, rather than all sitting at the same height and same direction

Happy Floristing!

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman

The Accidental Wedding Florist

My first ever time as a Wedding Florist felt like a high-stakes DIY moment, where I somehow volunteered to be the Florist for the wedding of one of my best friends for whom I was already the Maid of Honor. The ceremony was going to be in a public garden and a low-key event, which meant I needed to help plan the timeline, rent the furniture, reserve the reception restaurant, plan the bachelorette party, AND plan the floral details, all while living 600 miles away. My Hospitality degree, planning, and Type-A personality kicked in big time; and when I tell you we pulled it off, we pulled that mother OFF! Now keep in mind, this was a few years before I decided to become an actual Florist, so my entire Floral education at this point was from Professor You-Tube, and to be honest I probably only watched a 3-minute video and called it a day. The Bride and I talked flowers and colors, I placed the order with their local grocery store and an online wholesaler, then I crossed my fingers! I arrived the day before the wedding, picked everything up and began designing (thank god to the family member who told me to have the roses delivered a few days before and have them sit in water in a cold, dark room).

Was the Bridal Bouquet perfect? Hell no! Did I make sh** up as I went? Abso-freaking-lutely! Let me also mention the fact that post bouquet-making I had extra flowers and greenery, so I decided (very) last second to flower-ize the ceremony arch! Being a wedding Florist with no background, no tools, and no education was hectic and scary, but I am so unbelievably glad I did it. I learned, I had fun, and I got to do this wonderful thing for a friend for which I will always be grateful.

Mountain Mama Florals Bridal Bouquet
Pink & White Natural Bridal Bouquet
Mountain Mama Florals Wedding Ceremony Greenery Arch
Wedding Ceremony Greenery Arch

Mountain Mama Florals Wedding Ceremony Greenery Arch
Wedding Ceremony Greenery Arch

**PSA pleeeeeease take off all leaves that are located at or under where you are going to tie-off your bouquet! If you don’t, you’re going to have one THICK stem bundle and the leaves will create more bacteria if the bouquet goes back in water.**

Opportunities and new experiences come out of nowhere sometimes, and I for one try to practice swallowing my fears and jumping in whenever possible! You never know where it will lead you.

Sincerely,

Savannah Wichman