Take advantage of the best light by taking pictures early or late in the day. I’ve heard garden photographers rave about the diffused light of misty mornings, but they’ll also tell you that the perfect light is surprisingly rare.
If you’re looking to experiment with natural light, the famous ‘golden hour’ for photography is a good place to start: it’s the time just after sunrise or just before sunset. The light then is warmer, with a quite noticeable reddish hue. It’s also softer and less contrasty.
It’s not exactly an hour – if you want be scientific and check its duration for a particular location and date, check out this site:
In practice, though the golden hour adds a special magic and allure, I find the light can sometimes change the colours of roses more than I want for individual blooms shots.
So during the UK summer, I’m happy to take pictures of roses from just after sunrise till around 9.30am, or from 5pm till just before sunset. Even this more flexible time frame is cutting it fine for many major gardens. The rest of the day, all you can do is wait for a cloud.
Any time you spot visitors with camera equipment, pressing their noses wistfully against the door of a garden, impatiently waiting for it to open, you’ll do them a much bigger favour than you’d imagine if you wave them through first!
And if you’re fortunate enough to manage a major garden, and are looking for new ways to attract more visitors, please consider holding a Golden Hour Day each year when the plants are at – or around – their peak of flowering. All you have to do is publicise the event, then stay open from dawn till dusk to give photographers the chance to capture your creations in the most flattering light.
If you go a step further and invite submissions for an annual photo competition, I’m sure you’ll be delighted and inspired by the results!
Once photographers have pictures they can be proud of, they’ll be sure to share them. As the years go by, you’ll be rewarded by seeing your garden appearing more and more often, immortalised in wonderful professional and amateur pictures online and in magazines. It’s an easy way to tempt more people to visit your garden and enjoy it for themselves.