A tenderness for flowers inspired wedding photographer Steffi Smith to create fine art photography of clients’ bouquets and wedding reception arrangements. “It broke my heart when I would see all these gorgeous flowers and they would die afterwards,” she says. “I always take pictures of them, and one winter when I had nothing to do, I started messing around doing paintings of them.”
Smith was a painter before she became a photographer, selling her work in galleries for upward of $20,000. She leverages her artistic sensibility to create these photographic works, starting with a photograph of acrylics on canvas, combining that with her bouquet images in Photoshop, and then using Photoshop brushes to complete the work. “I call them painterly images,” she says. “To me, it’s like contemporary mixed media.”
“The brides love it,” she says. She makes the works for her own enjoyment during her downtime in the winter months regardless of whether the bride plans to purchase a canvas print of the image. But many of them do. “It’s nice for them to be able to preserve the bouquet,” she says. Recently one bride displayed the canvas print of her pink bouquet in her newborn’s bedroom. And another bride asked Smith if she could have the image printed on a leather purse. “That way, I can take the bouquet on every date with my husband,” she told Smith.
Smith makes the images by arriving early to the wedding. “I always take the time to take the flowers beforehand, even before the wedding starts, before they are paying me, because I love, love, love flowers.”
Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer.