Garden Photography

In the last ten years digital cameras have improved to the point where technical aspects of photography such as exposure, depth of field, focus and sharpness are no longer problems. What has not become any easier is composition and the ability to communicate; in other words, the art of photography.

Generally I am disappointed by the quality of photography presented on gardening blogs and web sites. Too often snaps of flowers and gardens are put up that whilst in focus say very little about their subject. Surly, the appreciation of gardens and plants is foremost a visual experience and for those of us who are passionate about these things we should really be making every effort to present them well and effectively.

I am no better than many bloggers and will, in a rush, throw together a few pictures to decorate a post, but mostly I do make an effort to go one step further. With the new gardening season gathering pace I plan do my best – but note this post contains no images!

For computer savvy gardeners there are two online resources you might find useful. Firstly, Craft And Vision is run by David DuChemin and offers a range of very reasonably priced eBooks on all aspects of photography written by different professional photographers. The books are very well presented, beautifully illustrated and highly informative. I have personnally enjoyed reading a number of them and picked up quite a few useful tips. Some are how-to books, but there are a number of others that focus on the real art of photographic expression, and it is these that I would strongly urge you to take a serious look at. Even experienced photographs will benefit here as what I found was that they make you stop for a time and think about what it is you are really trying to do. There is even a free eBook to get you started and to gain an insight into the quality and style of what else is available from here here – entitled Craft and Vision – 11 ways to improve your photography.

For those of you who want to go a stage further and really step up your level of photography the English based My Photo School has been running for about a year. Here you follow an online course for a month. Each week you download an illustrated lecture from your tutor. You are required to carry out a study project each week based upon the lecture content, and are brought into contact with the professional tutor as well as the other students following the course via a discussion forum. This unique approach to online study gives you a chance to have your work critiqued and to ask questions that never seem to be covered in the books on garden photography you have read.

Remember that the best camera for garden photography is the one you have with you. Being in the right place at the right time and knowing how to capture you subject without having to think about it is what matters. Even a smart phone in the right hands can create truly evocative images. Make sure you are prepared to shoot.

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3 Responses to Garden Photography

  1. Emmon says:

    I so agree with you, Michael — it’s not the equipment. (Or in golf terms, it’s your swing, not the clubs.) We might have better cameras on our phones than Ansel Adams had 60 years ago, but it’s no easier now to shoot a good photograph. It’s HARD WORK. If I see something that grabs me, I move around, try to see the essence better, searching from different angles and different lighting, often moving in closer to simplify. Even then, I often end up without a good shot, even if I shoot 30. (Occasionally, though, I’ll discover a decent photo while editing that I didn’t realize was there.)

    • Michael says:

      Yes Emmon, that was my point – it takes real effort to take a garden photograph that actually communicates something. It is too easy to get things in focus and flll a blog post with colourful close ups. I have just bought myself a new camera – fix lens, no zoom and no option to change lenses – I will have to move more an think more before pressing the shutter – it will be challenging, but hopefully worthwhile. So keep an eye on my blog and see if you see an improvement over the next few months. Thanks for your comments, Michael

  2. Helen says:

    I would like to take better photos but only have a bridge camera and the instruction book is useless. I mess around with the settings and sometimes the photos are good but not always. I have looked at books and courses but they are always aimed at SLRs which is very fustrating

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