With towns decorated with flowers and parks brimming with plants we soon realised you don't need a garden for flower photography! But if the town's blooms aren't looking as vibrant or you're bored of walking to the park find yourself a garden centre for another try at flower photography. The beauty with garden centres is there's always something to shoot and as some are undercover, rain and wind can't spoil your photography plans.
Your standard zoom is a good piece of kit to take along but if you really want to get close to the flower heads fix a macro lens to your camera. Pack a polariser to reduce glare and help enhance the colours of the flowers and a reflector will bounce light where it's needed. Leave your tripod at home as garden centres are busy places. Instead, you could pack a beanbag but working hand-held or using something such as the edge of a planter or a table to support your camera will work just as well.
There's so much to photograph at a garden centre you could end up rushing around snapping every plant in sight but it's best to slow down, really look at the plants and be selective about what you photograph. You may be limited on the amount of space you have to work in but this doesn't mean you can't be creative. Play with different focal lengths, move to create different angles and don't forget to change your point of view. If the plants are on a table, crouch down for a 'flower eye view' or if it's the leaves of a tree that's got your attention throw the background completely out of focus so the colourful plants are turned into a backdrop that really makes you focus on the leaves. Look for patterns and pay attention to how things are planted – are there rows of symmetrical tables or shelves that can draw your eye into the photograph? Rows of sprinklers will leave drops of water on leaves and flowers that look great shot with a macro lens and barrows, spades and other gardening tools always make great shots for gardening stock. You'll also find plenty of green-fingered shoppers and garden centre staff but if you do fancy shooting some portraits make sure you ask them before you point a lens their way. After all, it's always good to be polite.
If the centre's particularly busy watch out for knocks and bumps as this will blur your image and if you're moving from outside in, pay attention to your white balance and exposure.
You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.