How To Take Beautiful Garden & Flower Photos
In anticipation of the approaching garden season, I thought I would share some of the things I take into consideration when I am out photographing my own or someone else's garden. After 10 years as a photographer most of this isn't even something I am conscious of anymore, so I really had to think hard to pull this knowledge out of my mind and get it written down.
Fullblown mid-day sun is the garden photographer's worst enemy. It creates deep dark shadows and hard white light that makes colours disappear. Let's be honest, the magnificent colours are a big part of why we love trees, flowers, vegetables and fruit. To get the most interesting images, the most true to life colours, and the most magnificent glow here's what you can do:
Know your phone or camera so you can shoot in Manual and have full control.
Shoot with a shallow depth of field to create extra attention for the focus of your image and let the background fall into a soft blur (When shooting single flowers or close ups I almost always shoot at an fstop of 1.8 and otherwise around 2.8).
Get up early on sunny days so you can start shooting about 15-30 minutes before sunrise.
Shoot backlit (into the sun once it rises and is still low on the sky) to get that beautiful glow/halo effect that makes everything come to life.
Don't be afraid to explore the garden on cloudy or misty days too. The mood can be quite powerful.
Include birds and bees in your photos if possible to add life to the image
Look for objects or design features that adds depth, like a winding path.
Look for symmetry.
Try shooting through branches to add layers of interest.
If you are photographing individual flowers try to find that particular flower or plant's most unique attribute. Is it the outside, or hidden on the inside, is it a specific colour palette or pattern, is it the vein of the leaves, or the shape of the flower. Move around and have a closer look.
And always always always be mindful of the horizon and/or horisontal or vertival lines if they are clearly visible in the photo. Make sure they follow the framing/out lines of the image.
If you would like to get my free guide to my favourite flowers for a wild garden you can do so here!