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Orchids and Artwork

If you love to photograph flowers, there is nothing prettier than an orchid. Join us for a photo shoot at the National Portrait Gallery.

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The Orchids are back! If you love to photograph flowers, there is nothing prettier than an orchid!

Orchids are amazing – their ability to adapt to different habitats has made them one of the most diverse plant families on earth, with more than 28,000 species worldwide!

Here is an opportunity to photograph an extraordinary collection of orchids entitled “Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women”, which are now on display in the beautiful and softly lit Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, located between the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum! This exhibition was organized by Smithsonian Gardens in collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden and features the living collections from both organizations.

In honor of Women’s History Month, “Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women” unearths stories of women who have enriched our understanding and appreciation of orchids. Despite their remarkable achievements in art, botanical illustration, orchid cultivation, and scientific discovery, many of the featured women have not received the recognition they deserve. Support for “Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women” was provided by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

Instructor Sherryl Belinsky will be there to guide you in the best techniques of macro/close-up flower photography without tripods, giving tips on composition, white balance, exposure, and the blurring of backgrounds (known as Bokeh).

After photographing the orchids, we will make our way into the spectacular art galleries and exhibits this museum has to offer. Renovated and reopened in 2006, the National Portrait Gallery/ American Museum of Art is a photographer’s delight, and most of the exhibits are open to photography.

Properly done, your images of world-famous paintings and Presidential portraits will be so good that they can be enlarged, matted, printed on canvas, framed, and hung in your home to look as good as the original signed artwork! If you would like to decorate your home with art from the great masters, this safari will teach you how to do that at a MUCH lower cost than bidding at a Sotheby’s auction!

For best results we suggest digital cameras with adjustable shutter speeds, manual settings and ISO ratings of 1600 or 3200, or late-model smartphones. Digital camera users should be familiar with setting Tungsten/Incandescent White Balance, and high-end DSLR users will learn how to navigate the Kelvin color temperature scale for the most accurate color. Zoom lenses in the 24-70mm range are good for this safari, but if you want to get really close (as in fill the screen), a longer lens will help. Of course, macro lenses are even better!

No tripods or backpacks allowed.

The museum is open until 7pm, Thursday-Sunday, so the safari has been scheduled on a weekday evening when it is less crowded. And, with Daylight Saving time, we’ll have just enough light to photograph the orchids before going into the museum.