How To Take Incredible Garden Photos With Your Phone

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Everyone who gardens loves showing off their blooms on social media. Plus, in the middle of winter, it’s nice having luminous flower photos around to remind you of sunnier times!

Better yet, why not decorate your house with some of your favorites? Prints of flowers and greenery are a wonderful way to add a touch of nature to your living room. Bonus, no need to remember to water a houseplant!

Our guide will show you how to master the art of taking radiant garden photos with your phone (since that’s usually the camera you’ve got on you anyway)!

Get the Light Right
Looking for dramatic flower photos? You can’t beat shots taken within an hour or two of sunset or sunrise (the “golden hour”). Not only is the light divine, but you can use it to compose shots where it’s basically brushing the item you’d like to emphasize.

The combination of the camera’s gentle blurring and dark shadows give the photo below a dramatic feel and emphasizes the shades of yellow, making this a perfect print to hang in a cheerful kitchen or to brighten a hallway.

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The evening light in this photo helps the center flower pop. (Image: Tamra Hart, HTC Rezound)

One of the most popular trends is to get a “flare” or backlit shot of your subject, with the sun coming from directly or just off to the side of the back and the camera facing into the sun. Depending on your camera, this technique can result in effects ranging from a glowy haze to bewitching beams of light.

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The back light on this shot not only highlights the petals, it also resulted in pink beams! Nice. (Image: Bruce Hart, HTC Rezound)

Composition Tricks: Decide How To Fill The Frame
While a perfectly centered flower makes a lovely formal shot for a dining room wall, don’t overlook the potential with alternative compositions! Be sure to take a few shots where the flower or plant you want to feature isn’t dead center.

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I moved around until the only items to the left of the flower were distant leaves and dirt that were in the shadow, then changed the focus point to be in the right 1/3rd of the screen. (Image: Tamra Hart, HTC Rezound)

If your phone’s camera only focuses perfectly in the center, but you don’t want a perfectly centered flower print, you can always use photo editing software to crop the image before printing it.

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Left image is before. Right is after cropping the image to create impact. (Image: Tamra Hart, HTC Rezound)

Don’t forget to shoot both horizontal and vertical versions (by turning your phone) of any image you may want to crop, so you can choose the best version to print.

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I made sure to get both vertical and horizontal shots of the lovely flowers in this garden. (Image: Tamra Hart, HTC Rezound)

Also, some phone cameras have a wide aspect ratio (width vs. height) of 9×16, but the usual ratios for prints are 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10. When you compose your shot, remember that you might end up getting some of the original image getting cropped when you print it. You could also use photo-editing software (like Google’s Picasa, which is free) to already crop the photo to one of those standard print dimensions.

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8×10 crop of the vertically-oriented photo shown above. Perfect as wall art! (Image: Tamra Hart)

Don’t Be Afraid To Edit!
As beautiful as the flowers are when you shoot them, there will be times when you’ll want to edit the photos to enhance certain features. This is only natural, whether you’re a hard-core photoshopper or brand new to the editing game.

There’s tons of free or low-cost editing software out there which can import your images from your phone to your computer, or you can also use apps right on your cellphone to change up an image and give it a custom look. The only way to learn what techniques and actions/presets will work for a photo is to play around and just cancel if you don’t like where the image is headed. Think of this as the interior designer’s version of using crayons –  go ahead and color outside the lines!

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Left photo: straight from the cellphone. Right photo: I cropped and edited this dark and slightly blue-tinged shot using the Aperture editing program to create a pretty coffee-toned shot that will look great in my kitchen near my coffee pot. (Image: Tamra Hart, HTC Rezound)

Photographing your garden is the perfect way to create custom prints for your home and to immortalize everything – from this year’s prize-winning zucchini to your mom’s favorite rose. Best of all? Your phone fits easily in your pocket, ready to pull out and use whenever you spot the perfect shot!

For all your green thumbers out there, got any additional tips? We’d love to see them in the comments below!

And of course, you can use the Kicksend app or go to http://kicksend.com/print-photos to get some prints for yourself of those magnificent shots from your garden. ✽

Featured Image: Some of the many amazing plants in my in-laws’ garden – you can see why the local garden club loves to meet there! Credit: Tamra Hart, HTC Rezound

Tamra Heathershaw-Hart is a photographer, writer, and graphic designer based in Salem, Oregon. You can find her on Google (https://plus.google.com/105664046560955484743‎) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tamrahart‎).

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