How To Take Beautiful Pictures of Spring Garden FlowersApr 13, 2022
Spring is in the air - the birds are singing, and gardens are blooming into life. So it is time to take stunning garden scenes and flower images with our top photography tips.
Set up your alarm clock if you want to capture gardens at their best. Dawn can be as early as 4:30 am during this season and the first hour after sunrise, also known as the golden hour, is the time to shoot gardens.
Gardens at dawn have a magical quality that the low-angled sunlight can enhance.
Shadows gather across garden scenes, and shooting towards the sun makes flowers and foliage sparkle with backlighting.
Moisture levels can be high, so mist, fog, morning dewdrops and cobwebs can all add a mystical quality to photographs.
An added advantage to waking up early to photograph gardens is that there is often little wind at this time, so you can capture garden views in sharp detail using narrow apertures like f11 and f22 to get a good depth of field. Check the weather forecast to see what the wind is doing.
Try out various lenses to create several compositions.
A telephoto zoom will allow you to fill the frame with a single subject, such as a tree or statue, whereas a standard zoom will show the subject within the wider scene.
You should use wide-angle lenses with care: if the sky has good colour or dramatic clouds, we recommend using a wide-angle to include it. However, on soft, overcast days, the sky can be white and dull, so you will need to crop it out or do a sky replacement (See our Ultimate Sky Bundle for sky replacements: https://www.cleverphotographer.com/skies ).
Light is the essential element in any photograph.
Backlighting is fantastic for adding drama and beauty to garden scenes and flowers, particularly in the early morning or late evening. It helps to show the translucency of flowers, such as anemones and poppies and adds a nice rim light to floral subjects.
Side lighting will emphasize the texture of subjects like bark and leaves.
Soft frontal lighting is great for showing the rich colours and details in gardens and plants.
Midday sun is to be avoided at all costs: as the sun is directly overhead and strong, there are few shadows to add three dimensionalities to garden scenes.
If you have to shoot in the middle of the day, it is better to wait for cloudy conditions. Clouds act like a giant softbox, reducing contrast and revealing subtle colours and details in flowers and foliage.
Framing your garden images is easy in really good gardens because the designer has used frames to create pictures within the garden. Pergolas, arches and doorways are all excellent subjects to frame views of gardens. Using a telephoto zoom lens will allow you to crop tightly and frame the picture exactly as you want.
Spring blossoms need to be captured right at their peak of flowering - too early, and they won't be at their best; too late, and you'll have bare branches while the ground is littered with decaying remains.
Zooming in for a tight crop keeps your frame uncluttered, while a narrow aperture keeps everything sharp, from foreground to background.
In garden photography, you can be creative by getting close to your subjects to show the natural world in incredible detail.
When shooting up very close with a macro lens, the depth of field is severely restricted. While a degree of background blur can be pleasing to the eye, there is a danger that too much blur can result in the subject becoming indistinguishable. Use a narrow aperture around f16 to increase the depth of field so the entire flower head is sharp and a tripod to keep the camera steady.
When photographing close-ups outdoors, even the faintest breeze gently blowing delicate flower heads can result in blurred shots. This is either due to the movement of the flower at slower shutter speeds or it slipping from the plane of focus when dealing with an extremely shallow depth of field. Shielding the plant from gusts with a reflector can help, or use a clothes peg to gently clamp the plant stem against a solid support - such as a stick pushed firmly into the ground.
When the weather is poor outside, don't be afraid to bring subjects indoors. If you have a garden, you can bring flowers inside when they are at their best, and if you don't have a garden, feel free to go out and buy flowers to bring home from your local florist or nursery.
Once inside, shoot flowers against a very simple backdrop, such as coloured sheets of card or even velvet if you want a matt black background. Experiment by shooting your subject with different lenses and by moving your subject around to find its best side. Place the coloured card about a meter behind the subject and think about using a similar colour to the flower you are photographing.
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