5 Top Tips For Better Plant & Flower Photography

By Geoff Harris

105 delphinium

It's high summer in many parts of the world, so a great time to work on your plant and flower photography skills now that everything in the garden is lovely. The beauty of garden photography is that you don't need too much in the way of specialist lenses or equipment, and even if you live in a high-rise apartment in the middle of a city, public parks are gardens are not usually too far away. Read on for some blooming brilliant photography tips!

1) Get the timing right

In this image I hadn't noticed the shaddows of grass falling on the petals and spoiling the shot

Shadows cast on the blue petals have spoiled this shot

In high summer, the light can be very harsh on a cloudless sunny day, so as with landscape photography, it makes sense to do your photography as early as possible. The light is lovely and mellow first thing, and you won't need to use a reflector so much to reduce the impact of harsh shadows. Apart from harsh light, the other big headache is the breeze, so invest in a Wimberley Plamp to keep the flowers still, or a similar device.

2) Use a tripod

25 astrantia major claret
While you might not want to lug your tripod around the garden, they help you to fine tune your composition and experiment with creative effects, such as shooting with a very narrow aperture for maximum depth of field. They also free-up one of your hands so you can use a reflector to bounce nice light back on to the petals. Consider using a scrim too, which softens the light and makes your subjects appear to glow.

3) Be a perfectionist

28 love in a mist
While it can take you longer, it's well worth seeking out perfect specimens – or as perfect as you can find. Damaged petals, whether damaged by water or the effects of insects, will be painfully obvious if you are shooting close up, and can take ages to fix in Photoshop.

4) Shoot from a variety of angles

23 sunflowers
Flower and plant photography is not just about close-ups with macro lenses. If you wish to sell your garden images, or promote them on your blog, it's best to get a range of perspectives, from an opening 'establishing' shot to a very detailed close-up. It is a good idea to shoot flowerbeds at an angle when using a zoom lens; this will compress the border and make plants in the background appear further forward. If you are taking a wider angle shot of a large expanse of garden, consider adding some kind of attractive foreground interest to lead the eye in – but make sure it's not distracting clutter like garden rubbish!

5) Choose your lenses carefully

61 acer leaves

A couple of zoom lenses, covering both wide angle to medium telephoto up to 200mm, should suffice for general garden images. For flower close-ups, a 100mm to 200mm macro lens fits the bill. When using a zoom lens, try using its widest aperture, then extending the zoom to its greatest length.  This will give you the smallest depth of field possible with that lens and can lead to some very creative photographs.

If you would like to make beautiful flower photos like those above, why not enrol on Sue Bishop’s 4 week online photography course Creative Flower Photography

Geoff Harris

I am a journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) - http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill and Steve McCurry. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time. In addition I write about well being/personal development and antiques collecting for a range of other titles, including BlueWings, the in-flight magazine of Finn Air.

Stay updated

Receive free updates by email including special offers and new courses.

You can unsubscribe at any time


Related posts

Our best selling courses

Awards & Accreditations

  • Good Web Guide
  • Red Herring Winner
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • Education Investor Awards 2021 - Finalist
  • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)