Gardens in the Instagram Age: Top Tips for Taking Great Flower Photos

In today’s age of smartphones and Instagram, everyone’s a photographer. Especially when there’s something we’d like to show off—like our lovely garden—the desire to take photos grows. But just because your blooms look stunning in their natural habitat, doesn’t mean they’ll translate the same way through the lens.

how to take pictures of flowers

Whether you’re a  lifestyle blogger looking to amp up your social media influence, or you’re just sharing your gardening joy with friends and family, these tips will help you show your flowers in their best light. Need insight on how to take pictures of flowers? Here are the photo-taking tips we recommend specifically for flower photography.

Understand the basic principles of photography

There is no shortcut to becoming an expert. Even if you’re taking photos for Instagram, the rules of photography will greatly help you produce eye-catching pictures of your flowers that your followers will fawn over. Luckily for you, simply knowing the best practices for shooting great flower photos will show a big improvement in your garden pictures. Help Rozanne tidy up and get her ready for her big photoshoot; it’s time to capture your garden!

Lighting

Lighting is everything in photography. The right kind of lighting can enhance the quality of your image in ways you can’t even imagine. Likewise, though, the wrong lighting can greatly impact your photo’s potential.

how to take pictures of flowersThe best kind of lighting in most cases is natural lighting. However, be careful of too much—harsh, direct sunlight will wash out the colors of your blooms and create distracting shadows. The best time of day to shoot is in the early morning, late afternoon, and the “golden hour,” also known as twilight. These moments will produce milder shadows and let your flowers be the stars. Remember, not enough light will make your photo look grainy.

Composition

It’s all about what you see in the shot. Is there an unsightly garden hose in the background? Are there dead leaves around the plant? Either remove the obstructive elements or change the angle of the shot to play with perception.

Depth of field

For a variety of flower shots to choose from, try changing up your stance and point-of-view. Get creative to discover at which angles your plants look the best. Don’t be afraid to get down or below your plant’s level—sometimes, the best shots are the most unexpected.

Understand your camera

how to take pictures of flowersWhat type of device are you using to take flower photos? Are you a casual Instagrammer just trying to snap a quick pic, or are you an avid gardener hoping to document your stunning collection? If you’re the former, get to know the different functions your smartphone has. Often, the camera app has built-in filters and editing features.

  • Pro tip: If you’re shooting with an iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, or X, these smartphones have dual cameras, enabling you to shoot in “Portrait Mode.” This mode automatically focuses on your image subject, tastefully blurring the background and making the shot look much more professional than the average phone picture. Give it a try if you have one of the iPhone versions mentioned above!

If you are using a digital camera, do some tinkering to play with the settings. As you get more comfortable using it, you may want to try to take more advanced shots, adjusting exposure settings and the like. User manuals will help you figure out any mysterious buttons!

Browse photo filter and editing apps

There are plenty of smartphone apps that can take your photo from drab to fab, but our advice is to use filters and editors with caution. Heavily edited photos can lose their natural beauty—and isn’t that what a garden is all about?

As long as you don’t abuse your photo editing apps, though, they can help you make your photo even better. You can change settings such as color tone, saturation, light exposure, and so much more, depending on the apps you get. You should want to enhance the flower’s natural beauty, not manufacture it!

How to take a gorgeous picture of flowers

Think you’ve got enough things to keep in mind when upping your Instagram game? Now, here are our top tips for taking the best pictures of flowers you’ve ever taken. Try these tricks for gorgeous garden photos worthy of a double-tap!

Tip 1: Create context

how to take pictures of flowersIt’s common to zero in on the gorgeous flower petals, but if you want to keep your photo collection interesting, remember to change up the shot composition. For further-out shots, consider staging a cool background with your prettiest garden supplies. A “flat-lay” shot with the plant in the center and a couple garden tools and loose flowers around it can make for a really stunning, artsy shot.

Tip 2: Bug out

Show off your fabulous pollinator garden with a well-timed shot of a hummingbird or butterfly interacting with your pink Prairie Twilight. Even a nicely focused shot of a small insect on your plant could make for an interesting photo—you can always kick it off right after to snap the perfect photo.

Tip 3: Look for the plant’s “architecture”

how to take pictures of flowersEvery plant is unique, so look for the details that make each one stand out. Is one a perfectly shaped specimen? Does one flower insist on jutting out to the side? Look at the overall shapes of your plants to consider new ways to capture them. A shot calling attention to that jutting flower could be a whole new way to appreciate that plant.

Tip 4: Repetition

Even when you think you got the perfect shot, take one more. Take multiple shots of your plant, changing up the angles and depth of field to get a wide variety to look through. Sometimes, you can’t tell what looks best until you see all the options side by side. Eventually, you will get the hang of which shots work best.

Tip 5: Exposure, Saturation, and Sharpness

These three settings are important ones to tweak for optimal flower photos. Tone down the exposure if you shot in bright light and the colors got washed out. Up the saturation if you want the colors to appear more vibrant. Increase the sharpness to call attention to detail—and, if you’re really savvy, single out only certain details with sharpness.

Ready to get to snapping? Hopefully you’ll see much better flower picture results with these tips! If you want more helpful info like this, get in on Rozanne’s Inner Circle.