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Photographing gardens

From magnificent formal gardens to your own backyard wonderland, we've got the tips to help produce great garden photos.


Show the overall design
Big or small, nearly every garden has a design. Stand well back and, if possible, higher—a second story window or a mound—to reveal the overall design of the garden.



Document your plantings
As flowers bloom and die, it's easy to forget what is where or how much space plantings took up. Use your camera as a tool to help you plan next year's plantings. Plot a photo grid of your garden's major blooms and evaluate the results for future plantings.



Take before and after pictures
Wow! If dieters look amazing in before and after photos, why not your garden? For each new project or major new planting, take a before picture, and then weeks, months, or even years later, take an after shot. Add them to your garden album.



Add interest and depth to your overall shots
To spark up your general shots showing a wide area of garden and to give depth to your picture, include something in the foreground—a rosebush, a brightly colored flower bed, or a birdbath. Consider locking in the focus on the closer object.



Place the point of interest off-center
Your picture will be more interesting if the point of interest is not in the center of the picture. Consider putting the treetops or tallest flowers in the flower bed a third of the way down from the top of your viewfinder, or the prize dahlia, flowering bush, or sculpture a third of the way in from the left or right. Experiment until you find a composition that appeals to you. Lock the focus so that your subject will be in focus.



Record the seasons
Most gardens change significantly over the months. Pick a vantage point and one composition. Then take the same picture once a month to show how your garden changes throughout the year. Keep it up for several years to create a history of your garden.



And don't forget the gardener
Whether you're the gardener or it's a famous personage at a famous garden, no story of a garden is complete without a picture of the gardener. Skip the stiff, posed smile and get the gardener deadheading or weeding or displaying their prized cabbage.



Discover themes
Many personal and most formal gardens have thematic areas. A chorus of yellow flowers and foliage, a children's spot, a waterfall, a heritage area. Treat a newly visited garden as a puzzle to be solved and unlock the themes with photos.


Create a garden album
If gardening is a favorite pastime, then your garden deserves its own album. Add pictures of new creations, your favorite flowers, the seasons, and that disastrous May snowfall. Over the years it will bring back rich memories and spawn creative ideas.


Garden greeting cards
What better reflects you than your garden? Choose a favorite shot and turn it into a greeting card using your own inkjet printer or by ordering cards from an online photo service, such as KODAK EASYSHARE Gallery.