Plant photography tips for your own garden (2024)

16 February 2023

Learn how to capture stunning photos of plants at home, whether in your garden, on your balcony or even windowsill.

By Katie Avis-Riordan and Ines Stuart-Davidson

Plant photography tips for your own garden (1)

Freedom to travel and access to nature may be limited at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy nature photography.

Whether in your garden, on your balcony or even around your indoor plants, you canstill capture stunning photos of plants at home.

Here are our top tips for beautiful plant photography.

Seasonal highlights

Nature is alive with colour throughoutspring and summer.

From fresh green leaves unfurling on trees to magnificent flowers blooming, you’re spoilt for choice for photography subjects in these gorgeous seasons.

At this time of year, wildlife is also more active and visible. Including animals, birds and insects in your garden photography can sometimescomplement and enhance your plant images.

If you don't have any outdoor space, you could try photographing trees and other plants that you can see from your window.

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Colours and mood

For a dramatic and eye-catching photo, play around with harmonious andcontrasting colours, whether that’s seasonal soft pinks and purples, vibrant reds, warm oranges or lush greens.

Whilst flowers have a variety of colours, don't forget to also focus on the beauty and texture of foliage, and the effect of light on or through leaves.

Look at the ways the colours compare and contrast in your own garden planting scheme, vegetable patch or houseplantcollections.

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Best time of day

Lighting is key in plantphotography. Early mornings and late afternoons usually offer the best natural light.

At this time of day, the sun emits a soft and warm golden glow, perfect for capturing beautiful images.

For beginners, it's a good idea to take pictures when the sunlight is not directly hitting the plants. This is so you know where the light will be and how it will behave in your space.

When the sky is overcast you can also capture more of the natural colours of plants.

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Get up close and personal

Your space may be limited at home and you might be taking pictures in a small back garden or even around your windowsill.

So, this is a great opportunity to get striking close-up shots and practise your macro photography skills.

Have a tripod or something sturdy that you can place your camera on to avoid blurry images.

Don’t worry if you haven’t got a macro lens. Place yourself at the minimum focal distance that your lens will focus at and zoom in as much as you can.

You can crop the image afterwards (but do remember, if you crop in heavily you will be removing pixels from the image which will affect its quality).

Make your close-up photographs more dramatic by filling the frame with a single colour or texture of a plant.

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Add some personality

Capture distinct characteristics of your plants to portraypersonality. Focus onlines, patterns, textures, shapes, shadows and light.

Tree bark, veins in a leaf, and colourful petals are all interesting subjects to explore.

You can also use the plant’s surroundings to make the image stand out, such as handmade objects and structures. Perhaps include a stone bird bath, wrought iron balcony railings or a wooden garden fence?

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The wonder of water

Spraying mist or watering your plants can add an interesting dimension to your plant photography.

It’s best to do this on a clear day when the sun is shining to add contrast to the image.

You can even continue to mist water over the plant as the photo is being taken to make it look like rainfall. A spray bottle or garden sprinkler will worknicely.

This is also a great tip for when you’re practising your macro photography.

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General plant photography top tips

  • Keep the photo background clearof any distracting elements– minimalism is good
  • Try to position yourself so you canfindcomplementary colours in the background of the image
  • Vary theangles from which you take yourphotographs. This allows complete control over how significantthe background or foreground willbe
  • Set the camera on a wide aperture to reduce the depth of field. This willkeep your subject sharp while its surroundings look blurry
  • Use compositional tools such as a rectangle frame to arrange and frame your plantphotos
  • Take photos in both portrait and landscape forvariety

Follow these top tips to take some great plant pictures, experiment, and, most importantly, have fun!

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International Garden Photographer of the Year

Visit our annual exhibition to see the world's best garden, plant and flower photography.

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Plant photography tips for your own garden (2024)
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