1. On cloudless days, try to visit the garden early or late in the day to get the best light. The ‘golden hour’ is consider to be some of the best light for garden images and many phone apps such as ‘Sun Position’ by Stonekick tell you the start and end times are for that day.
2. A breeze is the garden photographer’s worst enemy. If you’re hoping to do some close ups, check the five day weather forecast, and try to go on a day when the wind strength is low – preferably 6 mph or below. Take a Wimberley Plamp (Plant Clamp) or similar device.
3. As far as lenses are concerned, a couple of zoom lens incorporating wide angle (for overall, establishing shots of the garden) to medium telephoto up to 200mm (for detail shots) will cover the general garden views. If you’d like to take flower close ups, a 100mm to 200mm macro lens will be ideal. Photography flowerbeds at an angle when using a zoom as it will help compress the border and bring plants in the background further forward. Try and avoid shooting the borders front on as these will often lead to very unsatisfactory images.
4. A reflector and scrim will be handy for close up photos if the light is bright. A reflector, to help bounce light back into the shadows and a scrim to soften the light and make your subjects appear to glow.
5. Always use a tripod! Yes I know they are a pain, but they will help slow you down and fine tune your composition for both close ups and general garden shots. It also allows you to work single handed so you can hold a reflector while still taking the photograph.
6. Only Photograph really perfect subjects. Watch out for damages petals, watermarked flowers or slug eaten stems. Try and find a flower that is perfect before you compose your image.
7. Check your viewfinder before pressing the shutter. Watch out for plant labels, bits of wire, dead leaves, even fence edges
8. If you intend to sell your images to magazines they will require a range of images from establishing shots showing the overall site to midrange images down to macro shots. It’s easy to get carried away with close up shots, but remember to look for some wider garden views as well.
9. For wider views, try and including some foreground interest to give depth to your photograph just as you would with any landscape photograph
10. Although spring and summer are best for flowers, there are beautiful shots to be found in gardens at other times of year too – autumn foliage is always stunning, or seed heads sparkling with frost on a winter morning. Another favourite of garden editors is to see the same garden photographed during all four seasons. So don’t forget to comeback at different time of the year and record how the garden changes.