Here's how to find soft light for flowers even on hard-light days:
• Wait for it. For the ultimate in soft, white light, wait for a cloud to cover the sun, or for an overcast day. Just don't include the overcast sky in your composition: The pure white sky is sure to be distracting.
• Do it yourself. You needn't wait for clouds if you use a diffuser -- a piece of translucent white fabric, usually on a flexible metal hoop, was used for the main shot above. (In a pinch you can use a white T-shirt.) Hold this portable cloud over your subject to soften the light. This only works on small subjects, unless you can afford a diffuser that will cover a house!
• Make some shade. Use something like a sheet of cardboard to shade the subject. This is akin to using a diffuser, but, since the yellow light of the sun is blocked from the photo, the picture will edge toward blue. Use an 81B warming filter on the lens or set the white balance to "shade" to restore truer colors.
• Hold out for natural shade. Shoot when the sun has moved behind a hill, a stand of trees, or a building. It's like cardboard on a grand scale -- so you'll still need that warming filter or shade setting. -Timothy Edberg