Interview With Master Photographer Clive Nichols

By Geoff Harris

Clive Nichols Flower & Garden Photographer

Garden & Flower Photography Online Course

Clive Nichols is one of the UK's leading garden, flower and plant photographers with a stock collection of over 60,000 images. We are proud to now have Clive as a tutor, and here he talks about his career, technique and inspirations.

What do you need to be a garden photographer?

Garden & Flower Photography Online Course

Patience, as you have to wait for a garden to be at its best. Sometimes the weather can spoil the whole season and you have to try again the following year. It's very frustrating sometimes but I have to wait until conditions are perfect.

How has your photographic style changed over the years?

Garden & Flower Photography Online Course
When I started off, I used to shoot gardens and plants in very strong light which isn’t always the most successful approach.

I hope that after 30 years I am starting to appreciate light and the impact it has on plants and flowers, and this is something that has really helped my photography. It took me a while to get going with digital cameras, but they have been a big help.

Do you need to be an expert gardener or botanist to do what you do?

Garden & Flower Photography Online Course

No, I have built up a knowledge of plants just by seeing so many of them in so many different situations. If you keep adding images to a database you definitely start to build your plant knowledge but you don't need to be a botanist to be a good photographer in this genre.

What kind of mistakes do people tend to make when they are photographing plants and flowers?

Garden & Flower Photography Online Course

As mentioned, understanding light and the best time to shoot is really important. I would say by far the biggest mistake that people tend to make is thinking they can just turn up in the late morning or early afternoon and still get good results.

You can't. It is like landscape photography, you will take the best images in the first and last hour of the day. Sometimes this means getting up very early, but the effort is worth it.

Do you have any other practical tips to get people started in this colourful and rewarding genre?

Garden & Flower Photography Online Course

As well as doing your best to get to a garden at dawn, use a tripod in low-light situations so your images are as sharp as possible. Also try to shoot into the light so you can add drama and three-dimensionality to your images.

Find out when a garden or plant is looking at its best and make sure you are there!

What equipment do you use?

I use the Canon 1Ds Mark III as my main SLR and the following Canon lenses: 80-400mm, 70-200mm, 24-70mm, 17-24mm, 180mm macro, 100mm macro, 45mm shift and 24mm shift.

Further Study

Clive Nichols’ Flower and Plant Photography Masterclass A 4 week online photography course with Flower photographer Clive Nichols. With 1-2-1 tuition, weekly assignments and an opportunity to quiz the master himself all inside our award winning classroom.

Geoff Harris

I am a journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) 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.

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