For good garden photos your garden needs to be looking at its best and the light has to be right. But as you look out of the window at it everyday, you'll see when your plants and flowers look their best and you can easily be out there with your camera in minutes snapping that perfect garden shot.
1. What Gear Do I Need?
Your standard zoom is fine but if you want to get closer to the flowers to hide the weeds you need a macro lens. If it's very bright attach a polariser to your lens to reduce glare and consider using a tripod that has a centre column that can be used in a horizontal position such as the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod
to get closer to flowerheads. A small reflector will help direct light to where it's needed and you don't even have to purchase one as you can create your own from foil and card.
2. Avoid Bright, Sunny Days
To be honest, bright days when the sun is high in the sky can be awkward as the colours will be too harsh and you'll have deep, dark shadows. A lot of flower photographers prefer early mornings but a still evening's just as good. In fact, why not get outside after work and enjoy the warmth of the evening while you take your photographs? Hazy days when it's a little cloudy but the sun's still shining are perfect, though, as the clouds act as a giant softbox, diffusing the light.
3. Dealing With Windy Days
If there's a gentle breeze in the air crank up the shutter speed or stick your camera on a tripod and slow the speed right down if you fancy taking some experimental shots.
4. Create Paths And Frames
If you have a path use it to guide the viewer's eye from the front to the back of the image, creating depth. A small aperture will give plenty of depth-of-field. Give your garden a 'frame' too as with portraits, they can be improved with one. Entrances, arches, gates, hedges and over-hanging trees all work well. Also, look beyond your garden hedge and fence to see if you have a view that can add to your garden landscape.
5. How Green Is Your Garden?
If your garden's too green you may need to narrow your focus as even though your eyes can see the spots of colour your camera might not. Getting in closer will also hide the weeds and broken shed windows you want to disguise or you could use them as subject as weeds can be just as photogenic as roses.
6. Shoot Some Macro Work
If you do get your macro lens out make sure you fill the frame and blur the background with a larger aperture. Flowers are nice but look for interesting leaves too as these often have textures flowers don't have. Keep your eye out for insects such as butterflies who can be found on a cool morning with their wings open warming up too.
7. Make The Most Of Showers
If a gentle shower's fallen get outside as you can get great images. Close-ups of water droplets on blooms can look great. Of course if you haven't had any rain for a while, fill a water spray or even a watering can and provide your own 'dew' or 'rain'.
8. Take Garden Photos All Year Round
Don't think this is just a one evening project either as different seasons, mood and light give you endless photographic opportunities right on your doorstep.
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