Garden photography tips for during the shoot
Use natural light
“I never use flash – I can’t stand it!” says Clive. “The light is too hard and it’s fiddly to get the right settings. For good plant and flower photography, a soft and slightly diffused light is perfect. This type of photography is very similar to photographing people, so a cloudy day can be great and create excellent results.”
Clive makes the most of natural light. “I carry a small reflector to bounce light into the darker shadow areas surrounding the specimen. A gold reflector is also handy for warming up foliage if the light is too cold.”
Shallow depth of field
“I like the symmetry of the leaf in this composition. This was my first time using a true macro lens and I was impressed by the shallow depth of field I got by using a wide aperture, such as f/3.5.
“The challenge was the white balance, which was set to Auto (AWB). The shot was too blue so I changed it to Cloudy, which produced a vibrant green that was much closer to the colour I saw.”
“During my day with Clive I learned to look at scenes in a new way by trying different angles and thinking of compositions that would work well as close-ups. I found I got much better shots by getting down to ground level, for example. Clive suggested kneeling on a mat so I didn’t get wet if the grass was damp.”
Blur out distractions
“There were a lot of flower heads packed into a small area, so the challenge here was to isolate a nice-looking flower and blur out distractions in the background. Setting a wide aperture helped me to achieve this.
“The wind presented another challenge and at times moved my tripod as well as the plant, resulting in a few blurred shots. I love the colour and intricate detail that can be seen in this small flower head.”
Using the histogram to expose
“I like the dynamic shape that the curling white flower makes in this shot. Getting full detail in the highlights of the white petals was challenging, but I managed to get the right exposure in the end, using the histogram as a guide. I wanted to have a solid green leaf colour in the background behind the white petal, so it would jump from the page.
“However, the foliage wasn’t as dense as I’d have liked, so Clive suggested I make a long, thin crop in Photoshop afterwards. I think it has worked well.”
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Garden photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final garden photography tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
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