Posting photos from your garden on your blog can add to your blog what words simply fail to get across. You can upload them directly to your blog or link to them from your on-line photo album or stick them on your sidebar like my flickr badge. In this post I hope to share with you some tips that I've been taught or have picked up along the way that have helped me.
Best time for photos
Believe it or not there is a best time to take photos. Early morning and early evening are the best; avoid taking photos outdoors in the midday sun. Not only is it bad for your skin but it's at it's strongest and washes away color and blows out your photo's highlights. Early morning or early evening Sun gives you the most accurate reproduction of color and the shadows created by the Sun's position in the sky add depth and interest to your photos.
How to hold your camera
Pay attention to how you're holding the camera. You're probably sticking out your elbows perpendicular to your torso and look like you're about to break out into The Chicken Dance. It's only cute when Elmo does it so tuck your elbows against your torso and hold them firmly against your rib cage. If you're photographing something lower than eye level steady your elbow on your knees or lean back against something sturdy and hold your breath for that split second as you press the shutter. Doing these things will minimize the amount of movement and result in clearer, sharper photos.
Choose your camera setting
Most digital cameras now come with an array of settings to make your photo taking experience that much easier. If you're taking a photo of your entire garden from afar choose the landscape mode, if you're taking a photo of a flower or a leaf or something else that's small turn on the macro mode. On the average digital camera the macro mode is represented by an icon of a flower-clever, right?
"God is in the details" & "less is more"
Those are two quotes attributed to the Architect Mies van der Rohe and they not only apply to his field but to taking good photos in your garden. What exactly is it that you're taking a photo of? Oh, a flower! Then why is your thumb so prominent in the photo? The only time a visitor to your blog should see a thumb is if you're part of Green Thumb Sunday. Get in close to your subject and make us feel like we're right there. Eliminate the unnecessary distractions in the background with a white bed sheet or a piece of white or green card stock.
Spend a few bucks on a tripod
Take your digital camera and turn it upside down. Does it have the hole for screwing it onto a tripod? Buy one. You don't have to buy a big expensive one for a little camera, invest about 6 dollars on a mini-tripod. Take your houseplant and set it on a flat surface and cover the background with that piece of card stock I mentioned above. Use the timer and burst mode on your camera to take hands free photos. Less shake makes for better photos. If you're taking a photo of a flower snip off the flower and place it in a vase and take your photos. A good photo will last you longer than the flower will. Since your hands are free you can hold another piece of white card stock and stand close to the flower and reflect light back towards your subject.
Get a photo editing program
Use a good photo editing program to resize and edit your photos. Remember that after you resize your photo you will need to sharpen it because resizing causes a loss in pixel clarity. See the image attached to this post. If I did it right you should notice a difference in the photo clarity and color, I also cropped it to bring attention to the subject which is the beetle eating my Rose. All I did was play with the color a little and sharpened it after I resized. Notice the hairs on the beetle in the after shot. You don't have to spend big bucks on something like Photoshop if it's out of your budget but if you have the money go ahead-you'll love it. Download GIMP for free it's a good PS like program. Or try Picasa from Google (click the Google button on the side of this blog)also free. When you first open it up you may be intimidated but after you've learned how to use it you won't know how you lived without a editing program. Whatever editing program you go with turn to the internet for free lessons on how to use it. Search for the name of your program + tutorial and you should come up with a lot of free tutorials on-line by people who already know how to use it. Most of them have screen captures and show you step-by-step how to achieve what you're looking for. The internet is a great library use it for more than keeping up with Paris Hilton.
"There will only ever be one Andy"
That's a quote attributed to me :) Once you've mastered your photo editing program resist the urge to use all of those crazy filters on your photos. Your plant or flower is plenty beautiful and you don't need to introduce psychedelic colors or swirling lines. There will never be another Andy Warhol. Stop trying.
Make your photos work for you.
Did you know that advertisers and graphic designers buy photos from regular people like you or I? I sell my photos on Shutter Stock and Big Stock Photo. They're two on-line stock photo agencies that are free to join and I get paid every time someone who is a customer of theirs downloads a photo of mine. The pay per photo may seem small at first but think big. Those little amounts add up when you factor in having hundreds of photos for DL with a stock agency. Make sure to read their guidelines for a good photo and keep in mind that they probably have hundreds if not thousands of photos of Daisies already, take photos of something different and submit only your best ones. You can start your own small business with a company like CafePress where you can create things like calendars, coffee mugs, books... that you can sell through your blog or website; they do all the work by taking care of the retail end of things. Maybe you can't bake a cookie to save your life but you can upload your photos and make a nice calendar that you can sell to raise money for your child's soccer league. Will your significant other be able to complain about you buying yet another plant when they're depositing a check? If you answered yes maybe you should check out Dr. Phil's blog.
Make sure you're having fun and that someone is actually seeing your photos. Whether it be in money making venture or on your blog. The photos of your favorite things in your garden should be seen even if it is only by your on-line friends.
If you have questions feel free to comment.