Taking photos in the garden is way harder than shooting indoors because you can’t control all the variables (have you ever seen it snow in a kitchen?). So, we asked Gardenista‘s editors and correspondents to divulge their tips for taking great shots. Here are five of their photo-taking secrets:
Above: Tip No. 1: Avoid midday sun or harsh light. It makes flowers and gardens look plastic-y, like they’ve been laminated.
“The English weather is a photographer’s dream,” says Kendra Wilson, our UK correspondent. “As long as the day is not actually dark, the softness of rain and cloud means you can shoot all day instead of just after dawn and just before dusk.” For more of her misty photos, see “A Gothic Garden Visit, Courtesy of the Mitfords.”
Tip No. 2: Take as many shots as as possible of the same thing, trying different angles and distances.
“Tweak each shot slightly until you’ve got it just right,” says Remodelista‘s San Francisco editor Sarah Lonsdale, who uses an iPhone to shoot. For more of her photographs of the olives that grow in her Napa garden, see “DIY: Home Cured Olives.”
Tip No. 3: Remember that God is in the details.
When our London Editor Christine Hanway recently visited antiques dealer Will Fisher’s home, she focused her camera on the many vignettes and details tucked into the design of his garden. “I find ‘overall’ shots tricky because gardens have so much going on that those wide-angle photos often seem too general and boring,” she says. “Instead, I try to look for an architectural feature or a planting around which to compose the image. For more photos she took that day, see “An Antiques Collector’s Garden in London.”
Tip No. 4: Look for the “architecture” of a plant.
Our East Coast correspondent Justine Hand arranged bittersweet berries and Virginia creeper vines in a case to create this arrangement. “Just like with buildings or homes, whenever I’m photographing flora I look for the ‘architecture’ of the plant—dramatic angles or curves created by leaves, stems or blooms,” she says. For more of her architectural arrangements, see “5 Favorites: Foraged Bouquets.”
Tip No. 5: Get face-to-face with flowers. “I try always to get down on their level when I’m taking the picture,” Justine says.