For a gardener, nothing quite compares to seeing your labour result in a stunning garden full of fresh blooms, abundant fruit and vibrant greenery. Unfortunately, this lovely scene does not last – our beautiful gardens chop and change as they transition into the next season.
If your garden is looking particularly spectacular, though, you may want to take a few pictures to show your friends, post on social media or put in a gardening scrapbook. Luckily, whether you use a hand-held camera or the camera feature on your smartphone, there a few great tips to keep in mind to ensure you capture the beauty of your garden.
Lighting is the most important element of photography and can significantly improve the look of your photos, so choosing the right time of day to shoot your plants is essential if you want to take a stunning shot of your garden.
It’s best to take garden photos in the morning or afternoon because the light in the middle of the day is often too harsh. This harshness will pick up shadows around your plants while reflecting white light off the leaves and flowers. The reflective nature of the light is bad for picking up colour and will make your photos look washed out.
The diffused light in the morning and afternoon softens the shadows and lets the true colours of foliage shine through. This type of light also fills in the shadows without providing too much contrast.
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Think about your garden as a whole before you start taking pictures. What could be some of the focal points, what colour combinations work well together in your garden and what areas look the best?
To capture the essence of your garden you need to imagine that the only view you have is through the rectangular viewfinder of your camera. Like scenes in a movie, you need to be a director and choose which shots will look the most beautiful. Try to imagine seeing it through the eyes of a visitor – what would your eyes be drawn to? Use a winding path to point to a special feature of the garden or a single stem to emphasise the length of a blooming flower.
It’s a great idea to take both close-ups and landscape shots of your garden as this will give other more insight into the plants you used and the finer details. Helpfully, you can also refer back to the pictures later on when you’re planning out what annuals you wish to purchase for the next season if you have a few favourites.
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Gardening isn’t just about the amazing plants. Without bees, birds and other little critters our gardens wouldn’t be so fabulous. If you have the opportunity to capture a live subject on camera, go for it!
If you want to be really artistic, you could also take a few shots of your garden tools or items you associate with gardening, even using them to set up little scenes in your garden to capture your ‘gardening experience’. You might try out a muddy pair of gumboots next to a pot of pansies or perhaps a dirty shovel placed next to a fresh basket of produce you have just collected from the garden.
Sometimes you might think you have the perfect shot, then when you look back at it, it looks boring. Trying different perspectives is a great way to get the perfect shot – especially now smartphones mean we have the luxury of being able to take plenty of snaps and delete those we don’t like. So, try out a few shots from a few different angles and take the shot from up-high and down-low to see what the best perspective is.
Single out a few of your best specimens and give them the attention they deserve. If you have the perfect bloom, fill the frame with it. If something looks spectacular from a distance and you want to emphasise the scale, move back and take the shot from down low, looking upward. For smaller flowers, photograph them in a bunch rather than individually.
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When taking photos, it’s very tempting to centre the subject or focal point of your picture. Unfortunately, this usually results in stagnant and uninteresting images. Instead, try to divide your frame into thirds and place the subject of your photo to the left or right.
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