We love gardening for all sorts of reasons. It’s a hobby that yields genuine rewards, makes the overall aesthetic of the home more attractive and also gives us something to talk about. When a plant or flower comes out particularly well, you can bet that we want to share it and it goes without saying that we always prefer to display our work in its best light.
You do not need to be a professional photographer to make those pictures as good as they possibly can be. Indeed, just a few quick tips to get the lighting right can be all that it takes to show off your handiwork in a manner that is bound to receive plenty of attention on Facebook, Instagram or anywhere else that you like to show off your shots.
1. Bright Days are Good, but Overcast is Better
There is nothing with the potential to ruin otherwise excellent garden photos quite like a shadow in the wrong place. Even at best, those shadows will dampen the vibrant colours you’ve worked so hard to create. At worst, the photo will be of no practical use at all and stands no chance to catch the eye. This is why bright yet overcast days should be the ones that you focus on for your photography needs. There is enough sunlight to frame your image in the best way possible, but not so much from a single direction that it casts a shadow over everything else you wish to highlight in the picture.
2. Find an Angle to Cope with Shadows
Depending where you are, bright but overcast days may come at a premium. If you want to build a following with your photos or like to post consistently, you might run out of time to wait around for inspiration. In these cases, you need to get your angles right. We do not use any professional photography equipment – just a smartphone – so we are used to getting into unusual positions. Make sure that position captures your shot in a way that grass and other garden elements don’t put your subject matter in the shade.
3. Photograph Into the Light Source
This is a tip that is easier said than done but is well worth practising. The last thing you want in garden photography is for the light to hit your subject from over your shoulder. It will saturate the shot and lead to suboptimal results. If possible, shoot with the light source – usually the sun – behind the subject, but take care to avoid flares in the shot.
4. Shoot at Different Times of Day
If you always go out to take pictures at midday, you’ll settle on a style, but not necessarily the right one. You can see it for yourself if you go out to take the same shot at sunrise, midday and sunset – the images are of the same subject, but the results will be vastly different. Notice how the light works differently at these times and use it to inspire future shots.
5. Experiment with Positions
It helps to be flexible as a garden photographer. Look at most images of plants and flowers, and you’ll work out that it seems like the photographer lay flat on their stomach to get the shot. That’s fine and is commonplace for a reason. However, if you don’t want your pictures to be identical to theirs, you may wish to consider a drastic change of angles. Most garden photographers don’t bother with ladders, so that can make you stand out. An aerial shot can be striking just because it’s so unusual.
6. Try a Drone
There will be some plants and flowers in your garden that you’re more proud of than others, but we’d like to think that you’ve put in enough work that the garden as a whole would make for a stunning visual. If a ladder isn’t enough, try a cheap drone that you can affix your smartphone to and take some aerial shots that a ladder would not achieve.
7. Consider Treating the Garden as a Landscape
If you have a broader interest in photography than just shots of the garden, you may know some of the tips for better landscapes and specifically the importance of layers. Think of viewpoints that add a foreground and a background naturally, and then crop the resulting picture so that each layer can jump off the screen.
8. Remove Distractions
If you take your photos to share, there is nothing wrong with taking steps to alter your images before they’re seen. You can tidy up before you take the shot, ensuring hoses, pots and anything else that can distract from the subject are temporarily out of the way. After the shot, you can carry out some simple edits to get the picture you hoped for through removing anything you couldn’t do in the real world. This could be a tree in the neighbour’s garden, power lines or anything else that shouldn’t be there.
9. Take the Same Shot from Different Angles
You’ve put months of effort into the growth of a specific plant or flower – it has to be worth more than a single photograph. Even if you’re not a professional, you can adopt their mentality and move around the subject. You never know what you might see from another angle, and if all the shots come out well, that’s plenty to post on your social channels.
10. Set Up Photoshoots
You may be used to taking occasional photos in the garden while you do something else and that has served you well so far. However, if you want plenty of great pictures in a short amount of time, you can set up your own photoshoot. Check the weather in advance, block out a few hours of your time and assess when your flowers will be at their most colourful. From there, take all the shots you can and then take the time to sort and edit them properly for amazing results.