How to Photograph a Flower Garden
" flower garden is any garden where flowers are grown for decorative purposes. Because flowers bloom at varying times of the year, and some plants are annual, dying each winter, the design of flower gardens can take into consideration maintaining a sequence of bloom and even of consistent color combinations, through varying seasons.
Flower gardens combine plants of different heights, colors, textures, and fragrances to create interest and delight the senses.
Flower color is an important feature of both the herbaceous border and the mixed border that includes shrubs as well as herbaceous plants, and of bedding-out schemes limited to colorful annuals. Flower gardens are sometimes tied in function to other kinds of gardens, like knot gardens or herb gardens, many herbs also having decorative function, and some decorative flowers being edible. Many, if not most, plants considered decorative flowers originated as weeds, which if attractive enough would sometimes be tolerated by farmers because of their appeal. This led to an artificial selection process, producing ever-prettier (to humans) flowers." Wikipedia
Many people like to look at pretty flowers and many also like to have their own flower gardens.
Not only does a well maintained flower garden help feed and host a multitude of insects like butterflies and bees but it can also be a great source of inspiration to any photographer and other artists as well.
They are a pleasure to look at and for most any photographer it also presents a good source of photographic subjects to keep oneself busy most of the year depending on the location.
I have always liked to photograph nature and many of its subjects. Because of time constraints I always seem to turn to my ever trusted flower garden.
I have had several types and in various designs.
Off course everything was depending on where I lived and the space available as well as the hardiness of the host subjects.
A flower garden lets you shoot macros, full blooms, plants and let's not forget the many beautiful butterflies as well as a hots of other insects.
The garden also allows one to plan some shoots with the bounty that it provides and this can easily be done in a studio setting.
Dried flowers are one such good theme, cut blooms arranged in a design, individual flowers, flowers stalks.
Take your cuttings, seeds and any fruit as well as leaves and arrange them on a flat monochromatic surface and shot from above in a style reminiscent of the earlier drawings made by turn of the century botanist on their field visits.
Only use enough material so that you won't kill the host plant.
Take as much as you need but be conscious when collecting specimens.
Even if you do not have the space need for a garden, there are many botanical gardens in most major metropolitan areas.
The entrance fees are not usually that expensive and it provides a multitude of native as well as exotics for your photographic enjoyment.
For example near my home in sunny Miami Florida there is a major world known one called the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden and it features a wide variety not only of flowering plants but of native fruit trees and nature inspired artwork by world renown artists and sculptors.
You will feel welcomed to one of the world’s most unique botanical gardens. The moment you enter Fairchild you are transported to the tropics. Sweet fragrances wafting in the warm breeze will remind you of dreams of paradise.
They also feature several bird species which call the gardens their home, several butterfly gardens specially designed to attract these lovely winged creatures as well as several other native and non native animal species such as the South American iguana which have made Florida their home, at least for now.
Granted, not all these creatures were invited in, but they are here nevertheless and in some case are causing havoc in not only this botanical gardens but across many private homes and flower beds as well.
But like I say , if they are here why not take their pictures, specifically if you are able to spot one of many beautiful wild macaws.
If you are planning to have your own flower garden is worth it to visit your local botanical garden and researching the best plants for your area as well as their care.
You can often buy fully grown specimens or seeds and get plenty of free advice when starting your own.
Think also about the "learning" that can happen at any garden if the species are carefully selected and it attracts insects and other wildlife. You may get a better understanding about nature and let your love for all things grow with time just like your garden.
This is also a great chance for you to hone your photographic skills by doing various techniques and using a variety of lenses.
Pay attention and experiment with various angles and perspectives and also try doing your picture taking under various lighting conditions.
This lets you see how each situation can be made better and tests the limits of your gear.
plan your garden well. Look for typical design that will fit and thrive in the pace and location provided. Take good care of the plants and exercise care when detailing it.
Once your plants mature and are ready for the lens, plan the shoot to correspond with the light conditions that appeal to you.
The best light however, remains one that is diffused by overcast skies and one often found right after a rain shower.
Midday shoots or light conditions typically tend to create harsh shadows and if you can try to avoid photographing during this time of day. Take a couple of shot though just to see how the strong light works and use it as a learning experience and guide for other shoots.
Try to emulate this type of design with your fresh cut flowers and stock.
Many of the resulting images can be used towards the production of a nature inspired book, used for galleries and for general photographic publications.
Do not forget that many images can also be sold as individual pieces as well for home and office decorating purposes.
If you do your work at a public botanical garden you may also want to reach an agreement that will allow you to sell the images taken at the garden in their gift shops as well and may grant you special private shooting times too.
There are a host of benefits of photographing a nice garden and you should take full advantage if you have your own of can gain access to a good private or public garden.
© 2014 Luis E Gonzalez
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