Summer is here and everyday it seems like a new flower is in bloom, take some time and check out your community and see if there are any formal gardens in your area. If so These areas can provide you with plenty of subjects and chances to practice your close-up photo techniques. If you own macro lens pack it in your bag, a more affordable alternative to a Marco lens is a set of extension tubes.
On any given day you will usually find lots of people with sell phones and point and shoots snapping photos. For better results as a photographer the old saying rings true “If you snooze you lose” . Set your alarm for before sunrise head out and get set up so you can enjoy the soft morning light and capture dew drops left behind by the cool night.
Below you will find a few tips to help you get some nice garden shots this summer.
Cameras: Almost any camera will give you a good photo in good, if you are looking for photographs that will isolate your flower from the background, or capture the whole garden in a wide angle view. Consider an interchangeable lens camera a DSLR or any of the new mirror-less camera systems. For more information on mirror-less cameras check out the pocket lenses podcast, every week Sonny talks about the latest news in the mirror-less camera world, he also has interviews from photographers from around the world.
Lenses: As I mentioned above flower gardens offer plenty of photographic opportunities so bring a wide angle lens, macro lens and a normal range zoom lens. You can also use a 70-200mm to isolate your subject from the background.
Tripod: A good steady tripod becomes your friend when doing close up photography or any type of landscape work. have a tripod and ball head that will support the weight of your gear.
Remote Shutter release: Pick up shutter release cable, or these days there are wireless options and cellphone options for remotely triggering your camera. But to keep things simple and keep you connected to your camera and subject get a generic cabe that is compatible with your camera. This is an accessory that will not add a lot weight to your bag but you can use it every time you are out shooting.
Reflector or flash: Use a 5 in 1 reflector the white side can be used to bounce just a little extra light into the flower helping to bring out the detail. The 5-1 also has a diffuser panel on the inside and this can be used to soften direct sunlight as the sun gets higher in the sky. A flash unit can also be used to add light, change the flash power output to just add enough light to not over expose the delicate flower petals.
Knee Pads: I have been using knee pads for years “best thing ever” I get mine at one of the big box hardware stores, mine are just a foam pad covered in a heavy nylon cloth and they go on with Velcro. Another option is the foam pad you can place on the ground these are nice when the ground is wet, rocky or muddy. Knee protection is one of those comfort items that will really make your photo days a lot more enjoyable.
Spray Bottle: Have a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops go glycerin and you will have instant dew when mother nature doesn’t cooperate and there is no natural due on the flowers.
Other Items you should always have with you are charged batteries with out power your digital camera is a garden ornament, memory cards and filters (polarizer)
A good way to approach formal garden photography is to first look at the entire garden, remember to tell a story take the opening scene or the establishing shot. The opening photo can be a wide angle photo maybe low angle but don’t forget a high angle shot. Next look over the garden and decide where you want to shoot. Very important when you are looking for your subjects step back and look is there a pleasing background its much easier to get the photo right when you take it.
My last bit of advise is be deliberate in your photography, take less better photos then hundreds of so-so photos, you will be very happy when you get home and you download your days photos into the computer. Its much easier to look over 75 photos the 400 photos.
For more photography information take a look at Explore Photography Workshops
So enjoy your self and Keep on Shooting