I may as well admit it. I like to cheat every once in a while. I hate changing lenses and setting up my remote flash gear just to get a quick indoors shot of something interesting, like the flowers my daughter bought for my wife’s birthday. So I cheat a little by borrowing a tip from Scott Kelby‘s The Digital Photography Book on shooting flowers against a black background using a zoom lens and natural light.
The lighting was provided by three windows facing the kitchen table in our breakfast nook and diffused by the white-painted wooden blinds. The vase and flowers were sitting in the middle of the table on a stack of books about three feet from my tripod mounted EOS 50D. My daughter was holding my navy sport coat about five feet in back of the tulips, which made a perfect black background for these shots. I manually focused on the center of the one tulip facing the camera, set the exposure compensation at -1 EV and voila! For a little more fun I had my daughter spray the tulips with a little water for a nice “morning dew” effect.