The vivid colours, complex shapes and natural beauty of a garden can make it a stunning photography subject. Like any photography subject, though, a garden has its own challenges that must be met with the proper tools and techniques. Here's how to make the best use of light, color and scope to get great shots.
One of the best things about photographing outdoors is the ability to use natural light. Natural light is less harsh than light from a flash and won't wash out your subjects. There are some tricks, though, that beginning photographer can use to get the best results.
The Best Types of Light
Not all natural light is good natural light when it comes to photographing gardens. To get the best shots of flowers and foliage, make sure to avoid shooting during high noon. During this time of day the sun is at its brightest and can wash out your subjects and create harsh shadows. The best time of day to shoot is during the morning or late afternoon when the day is still bright, but the lighting is softer. Overcast days are also an ideal time for photographing gardens because the sun is defused by the clouds.
Using a Reflector
In a garden, trees and bushes may cast shadows on flowers and foliage during up-close shots. In this case, the natural light can be manipulated with a photography reflector.
A reflector is a round silver or white surface that is used to reflect light onto a subject. A photographer can buy a reflector, but a piece of white poster board works well for the beginner. Simply have a friend hold up the poster board at an angle that reflects the sun onto the object being photographed.
Gardens are bursting with natural colour, but photographs won't do it justice if precautions aren't taken before the shoot.
One of the most important tools for maintaining colour is a polarising filter. A polarising filter screws onto the lens of the camera and filters out rays from the sun that can wash out an image. Blues skies are particularly more vivid when using a polarising filter.
Get in Close
Taking photos of delicate buds and bugs crawling on leaves can be a fun part of garden photography. With most camera lenses, though, the shot will end up blurry because it is not meant to be used for such close-up shots. In these instances, a microlens and the camera's micro setting should be used to get the best results. Beginners can simply experiment with the micro setting on the camera. Some models have very good micro capabilities and will allow the photographer to get very close to small subjects while creating a clear shot.