How to take great pictures of gardens

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If you’ve never been too good at taking pictures of your beautiful blooms, now’s the time to brush up on your skills.

World-renowned garden photographer Richard Bloom, one of the judges of the annual RHS Photographic Competition, offers the following tips on how to get the best out of the outdoor world on camera. After all, nature photography is one of the more socially distant and safe pastimes in the current climate.

Read more: Stunning submissions for world photography awards

Aim from the side

Compose the scene with the light coming into it from the side or backlit rather than straight on. This will help to create mood, contrast and depth to the image.

Shoot for diagonals

Including diagonals creates both depth and drama. If a garden has a path or stream running through it, find an angle where these elements are arranged diagonally so the eye travels through the image from foreground to background.

Consider unusual perspectives

RHS Photographic Competition 2020, Under 11s, 1st place, Bursting light

Photograph from low down or from high up. Plant portraits and close-ups are often best from a low angle, depending on the plant.

Find the light

RHS Photoographic Competition 2020, Celebrating Gardens, 1st place, A winter’s day at Wisley

The best light for garden photography is early morning or evening on a sunny day, ideally within the first hour of sunrise or last before sunset, when the sun is low and the light is soft and golden.

Read more: Pro photo tips: how to capture a sunrise and sunset

Capture colours

The best conditions for recording colour in the garden is when it’s cloudy or early or late in the day, as colours appear more saturated when the light is diffused.

Take inspiration from previous winners

Last year’s Overall Young Winner Elliot Connor, scooped first prize with his dramatic snapshot of a perching bush cricket in Australia’s Garigal National Park.

Offering words of wisdom for this year’s entrants, Connor says: “Entering a photography competition of this calibre can seem like a leap of faith, but it’s well worth the effort. The best pictures, I feel, are those that change our perspective.”

“Look for new angles, get creative with shadows or silhouettes, be choosy about your backgrounds and bold in the execution. I hope that this year’s competition goes even further in lightening COVID’s load, as a celebration of the great outdoors.”

Read more: Don’t forget to capture the moment

Make the subject stand out

Look for patterns, shapes, petal edges, curves, colours or textures – something that grabs your attention and stands out.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and start clicking.

What’s your favourite subject to photograph? Have you ever taken a nature photograph that you’re really proud of?

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