Minimalist Surreal Flowers: A Glimpse Into My Creative Process

When we moved to Southern California from New England just over four years ago, I never imagined the incredible variety of photographic subject matter that would be here. To this day, I am constantly in awe of living around all the amazing flora here, it truly never gets old. Flowers are everywhere in Southern California, and it seems there are so many varieties and seasons for them:

  • Winter - aloe
  • Spring - wildflowers
  • Summer - various lilies
  • Fall - sunflowers

I love all the different varieties such as lotus flowers, water lilies, and Crinum lilies of which there is an abundance here. Balboa Park in San Diego has a really nice Lily pond, as well as some amazing gardens to find beautiful flowers. I also like going to the San Diego Botanic Garden, where there are a few lily ponds with some stunning flowers.

Since I have been editing my photos with minimalist and surrealist styles lately, I realized that my flower images would make perfect subject matter in this realm. That led me to masking out the backgrounds in these flowers in Photoshop, and adding special effects such as reflections, clouds, symmetry, and color variations.

I have found that creating layer masks are a bit tricky when it comes to flowers, so the trick is to photograph a flower with a solid color or plain background. A clear blue sky works well, or simply a solid background color that differs from the flower itself. It seems that masking has improved over the years in Photoshop, and CC 2015 is the most powerful version yet for this. With certain types of images, Photoshop's quick selection tool works wonders for creating a layer mask in short order.

I've been having fun with these types of images and posting them to my Instagram account. I hope to push the envelope even further with upcoming creations.


Water Lily and Reflection