August 17, 2018

Photography Tips for Shooting in the Garden

By Melissa Pace,
Garden Educator


One of the most pleasurable activities at Mass Hort is taking photographs of plants, animals and insects in the garden. 

If you do take that awesome photograph, don’t forget to enter one of our photo contests! The Boston Flower Show is March 13 -17, 2019! And locally, there is a 2018 Garden Photography Competition for The Gardens at Elm Bank.

Here are a few techniques to try in the never ending quest to take the perfect shot:

Photograph during the ‘golden hours’– the hours before and after sunrise and sunsetThis light is for warm, dispersed light which casts long shadows. This quality light will give you the most options in shooting your subjects. This will keep the color of flowers from washing out.

Keep your photos clean and simple. Too many details can clutter your photo- leave negative space in the composition. Move your camera around until you have eliminated non-relevant items from your composition. Take your time composing your image. 

Change the angle from which you shoot- move around- show your subject from an unusual point of view. Don’t just “point and shoot” straight on. Lower the angle that you are shooting from- it will add drama to your photo and also add detail to the foreground that might have gone unnoticed.

Shoot close-up– Shooting close, whether it is a plant, animal or person, adds details about your subject. If you’re shooting a landscape, include some close-up detail in the foreground. To take extreme close-ups you must acquire an add-on macro lens.

Utilize depth of field in your photos- Use leading lines created by straight edges such as paths, roads, fences, water lines, and the like. This will move your viewer into your photo. Other ways to accomplish movement to the back of your photo are to:

Use the tools available to you- Use burst mode (also called sports mode or continuous shooting mode) to photograph moving subjects such as animals or insects. Hold the shutter button down for a duration. You will have multiple shots of your subject- pick the best and trash the rest.

Use diagonal lines to create a sense of movement through your photo.

Include shadows, darks, and lights that comes from your subject. Don’t forget to use your exposure adjustment to create dark, rich shadows.

Use your flash during the day if the light is uneven. This will even out the light on your subject and improve skin tones.

Take photos in silhouette- This is easily achieved by shooting into the light. Shoot a lit subject through a doorway or an arch for a forward silhouette. 

Shoot reflections of your subjects- Water is the best provider of reflections- whole reflections can be caught in a single droplet so look for them in dew drops, ice, glass, and shiny surfaces. To shoot a reflection, hold the camera as close to the reflective surface as you can.

Create balance by placing your subject on one of the lines on the grid in your camera. If you do not have a grid, imagine your image in left-to-right and top-to-bottom thirds. Avoid putting your focal point dead center.



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