February 2, 2016

5 Garden Photo Ideas to Steal From the Pros

When I first took up garden photography, and gardening in general for that matter...I knew absolutely nothing about the process. I still have MUCH to learn, but I did pick up a few tips and tricks about composition from the professional photographers and magazine editors I've worked with over time.  

#1.  Try not to Cut Things Off ... 

in the scene you are capturing..... like the arbor post on the left hand side of the image above, which doesn't catch enough of the post to effectively make it a part of the scene...

or the cut-in-half terracotta, heart-shaped plaque on the gate of the potager. It can be displeasing to the eye...making the image look truncated and somehow incomplete. These issues could have been addressed by cropping after the fact, but would have made a more pleasing image at the outset...

had I included or excluded the gate and its plaque entirely. It was the same photographer, Ralph Anderson, (with SOUTHERN LIVING at the time), who suggested...(we both had the AHA! moment )...to paint the back bench in the same hue as the Goldsturm Rudebeckia and coreopsis blooming at the time.

Of course, sometimes the opposite of a principle...(in this case cutting things off)...when executed with intention as in the above composition, is ALSO effective.  


#2. Just Catch the Edges of Things

as in the container ensemble above or the garden bench here...

or the gate and Japanese Maple branch below.

#3. Look at the Garden from Unique Vantage Points

Take a picture from the OPPOSITE end of the view that is usually seen. Step into the bed if you must...and look from back to front for a change.

Or get up high...

or down low. Finally,

#5.  Look for the Story.  Tell the Story.
 Create Visual Poetry

Storyline:  Summer Romance

 Storyline:  Purity

 Storyline: Just beyond... and Out of View

...and a favorite image and storyline of my friend Color Girl...

The Empty Nest.

 Tell me a story please...


  1. Your photographs are a welcome sight this time of year! Love the view from above your garden with the tulips in bloom.

    1. It is always fun to look at your garden as Rapunzel! Thanks Sonia!

  2. Beautiful! Little tips like this help so much with photography. Sometimes our minds only see things from a certain perspective and tips like this really help.

    1. Stacey, do you have a favorite tip to share?


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