Some basic tips today. Whatever your choice of camera, there are some simple rules, or tips, you can learn, to get the best out of your tool and for photographing your garden.
- Learn to steady your phone, or your camera, or use a tripod. The heavier the piece of equipment (think camera body with large lens) the harder it is to take still shots. But even a phone camera can have shaky photos if you have the shakes. Learn what works for you, and use a tripod if you need to, or lean up against something. Or perhaps rest your phone or camera lens on a fence, tree stump, or even someone’s shoulder, when lining up a shot.
When I first started using a long lens, a 70-300mm lens, it took me three months to learn how to stand properly and hold the lens still. I thought there was something wrong with the lens but it was simply me – not used to being steady enough for a still shot. Later, when I upgraded to a 200-500mm lens I thought I’d experience the same issue, but I didn’t as I’d already learnt about the stance and position for holding. However, there are still times when I need to use a tripod, or lean against something, especially when taking shots in low light (think of a full moon at night, for example). So experiment, try things out, don’t expect to get it perfect the first time, or even the tenth time. It’s worth working at it.
- Rule of Thirds. Have you notice how many photos don’t have the subject of the image centered? This is because they’re far more interesting if you put your subject into a third of the screen, or two thirds – off centre. This is not to say that subjects can’t be centered but if you look at photos published online and in publications, often the main subject is off centre. So in any of the sections, rather than the centre. Just makes images more interesting.
- Time of day makes a big difference for your shots. If you shoot early morning or late in the day, you can get the best light conditions. Middle of the day, when the sun is directly overhead, means that the lighting can be very harsh, but earlier in the day, or later in the day, gives softer light conditions, and longer shadows too. This is worth thinking about when planning your photo shoots. I often walk around mid-late afternoon here at my home – but only because I’m just not up early enough to make it early morning.
This image below, was taken with my Samsung S10 phone camera late afternoon. I love the lighting in this shot, and the long shadows. It’s of the camelia bush in our backyard, in late Autumn. It truly is a picture to see when in full flower. The birds love it too.