Whether you are just getting into photographing gardens, or you’ve been doing it for years – you’ll probably agree that you never stop learning about different techniques and tricks that you may not have considered before. However stunning a particular area of a garden looks at a given time, it is transitory and will soon change – so that’s why it becomes so important to take stunning pictures when you can.

Below, we’ll take you through some top tips to consider when taking still life pictures. And, give you a couple of tips on enhancing the composition of any photograph that you take…

Top tips when photographing still lifes

Photographing still lifes

Neither animal noises nor shooting four frames a second is required for still life photography! Gardens offer great potential for this kind of imagery, either photographing existing features such as groups of containers, ornaments or plant and support associations, or creating a special arrangement. ‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it,’ advises the great landscape photographer Ansel Adams. Composition is key, and it can take hours to prepare a picture that is taken in just seconds.

Photographing still lifes

Composition is very much a matter of personal taste and style, but the most successful arrangements are those in which the various elements are balanced and create a distinct mood — harmonious, dramatic, tranquil, mysterious or inviting, amongst others. Different lenses play a major part in capturing particular scenes or moods, and include the wide angle, zoom or telephoto which compresses the perspective — useful for making borders appear crammed with plants. It also makes a long line of trees appear closer together. Then, there are macro lenses, ideal for really close-up images because they magnify the subject to life-size.

Enhancing the composition of any picture you take…

Enchacing the composition of your photographs

Before shooting always check for unwanted elements such as plant labels, unsightly buildings in the background or dead leaves – what is excluded from an image has as much influence as what remains. Scrutinise the scene from different positions to find the best viewpoint, and consider shooting from different heights – up a ladder for an overview of a large area, or lying flat on the ground to look up a snowdrop’s petticoats. If composing a picture is tricky, use the ‘rule of thirds‘ to help place the subject within the frame. First, imagine the picture space divided into thirds both vertically and horizontally, and then align your subject with one of the points where those lines cross – sometimes a grid is visible to make this easier. This places the subject off-centre, creating a more dynamic image than centre placement which can seem static.

Other tips when photographing gardens…

     
A guide to photographing close-ups A guide to photographing vistas