As part of our ongoing series to help you get more creative with your digital camera, each month we publish some fun, seasonal, creative photo ideas to help inspire your imagination. Along with some amazing images, we’ve also provided some quick photography tips by both amateur and professional photographers who are experts in these fields.
We’re kicking off August with a new list of exciting projects like shooting a summer garden, black and white travel photography, zen scenes, food preparation and many more.
Creative photo ideas for August: 01 Shoot a summer garden
With the acuity for which he’s famed, Shakespeare once penned the line “And summer’s lease hath all too short a date” – so make the most of every opportunity to get great shots of gardens in high summer.
At this time of the year, the light can be harsh on a cloudless sunny day, so make sure you visit the garden early.
There are other important considerations for stand-out summer garden shots.
“The breeze is the garden photographer’s worst enemy,” notes Duncan Heather, garden photographer, landscape architect and co-founder of MyPhotoSchool.
“If you’re hoping to do some close-ups, check the five-day weather forecast, and try to go on a day when the wind strength is low. Also, take a Wimberley Plamp or a similar device to keep the flowers still.”
Duncan is a stickler for using a tripod, so use a carbon-fibre travel tripod if you want to keep the weight down.
“Yes, I know tripods are a pain, but they help you slow down and fine-tune your composition for both close-ups and general garden shots,” Duncan explains.
“You should also only photograph really perfect subjects. Watch out for damaged petals, flowers marked by water, or slug-eaten stems.
“Last but not least, if you intend to sell your images to garden magazines or websites, they will require a range of images – from establishing shots showing the overall site, to mid-range images, down to macro shots.
“It’s easy to get carried away with close-ups, so get in some wider garden views as well.”
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* Duncan reckons that a couple of zoom lenses, incorporating wide-angle (for establishing shots of the garden) and medium telephoto up to 200mm (for detail shots) will cover general garden views. For close-ups, a 100-to-200mm macro lens is ideal.
* Shoot flowerbeds at an angle when you’re using a zoom lens: it will help to compress the border and bring the plants in the background further forward. Try to avoid shooting the borders straight-on.
* A reflector and scrim are handy for close-up photos if the light is bright. A reflector brings light into the shadows, while a scrim softens the light and makes your subjects ‘glow’.
* Check your viewfinder before pressing the shutter. Watch out for plant labels, bits of wire, dead leaves or even fence edges spoiling the composition you’ve carefully set up.
* For wider views, try including some foreground interest to give depth to your photograph – just as you would with any landscape photograph.
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10 summer photography tips to help you get creative in the warmer months
When to use a reflector: how the different colours produce different effects
25 flower photography tips for beginners