Garden Photography

How many of you really enjoy going out into the garden and snapping photos of your favorite combination, planter, or flower? I do, and I am sure there are many other like me. Now, while I do own a professional grade SLR camera, I rarely have it on me when in my home garden, I mostly use it at botanical gardens and parks. I do however; take hundreds of photos with my camera on my phone. While phone cameras’ quality may vary, good photos can be taken with the right eye for light, subject material, and good positioning.


Good or excellent photographs can be taken with just about any camera, if you know what you are doing and can pick the right setting for the photo. It does not take a professional photographer to make professional photos. The first thing you need to know is the settings on your camera. If you are still using a 35mm camera or similar I applaud you, though I expect you are having trouble getting your film developed? For this article, we are mainly discussing the use of cameras on cell phones. I have the Samsung S-5 Active phone, which has a great camera and settings. I am sure there are other comparable phone cameras or even better ones.


Luna Moth
Proper focus and camera distance is critical to capture subjects up close.

Once you have tried different settings with your camera, be sure you recognize the difference in zoom and where you need to be when using it. Sometimes objects will not focus unless the camera is close when using the zoom.  It is also difficult to photograph moving object such as birds and butterflies with a phone camera.

Flower in shadow
Try different lighting situations for new effects!


Your subject matter can be anything to your heart’s desire, from the monarch butterfly on your milkweed to the rough bark of the sassafras tree. I like to photograph my subjects in different lights and settings, to use both as frame-worthy photos and pictures for writings and blogs.  The best times to photograph in the garden are when the sky is cloudy, just after a rain, or mid-afternoon, after the sun has passed its peak location in the sky. You will want to get as much contrast in color behind your object as possible for the best shot. For example, if you are photographing an insect on a branch or twig that is light colored and you have a light colored sky, your camera may have difficulty focusing on your object.


Dark backgrounds bring out bright colors.
Dark backgrounds bring out bright colors.

If you are photographing something brightly colored such as a yellow coneflower or a red echinacea, try to get something dark behind it or use a setting on your phone that blurs the edges while focusing on the center.


Back Lit Bean Pod
“Try shooting from underneath plants”

Be sure and experiment and try different positions when photographing; try even shooting from underneath plants and flowers-you may be surprised by the results.


The most important thing to remember is to photograph what you love and to have fun doing it!

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