University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial Publications : Book of the Month

Photographing Plants and Gardens. 
Clive Nichols.  1998. David and Charles, Pub. 160pp, paperback.

This book of the Royal Horticulture Society was a winner of a Garden Writers Guild book award, and is a good starting point for beginners, as well as a reference with tips for the more advanced.

If you're wondering why such a reference is needed with today's sophisticated electronic cameras, the author answers with, "even the most sophisticated computer-controlled camera still depends on the skill and aesthetic judgment of the photographer."  The British author is a good one to help you hone these skills, being one of the world's foremost garden photographers, having received awards and held shows in both the U.S. and Britain, and who teaches garden seminars in the U.K.

The book opens with discussion of equipment including cameras, films, lenses and accessories.  Next are techniques for successful garden photographs-- the author's secrets divulged!  Then covered are approaches to photographs outdoors, from close-ups to panoramas.  Covered as part of this are the effects of weather and lighting, both the good and bad of these.  He show how to utilize and take good photos in rain, fog, snow and frost.

The techniques and approaches are abundantly illustrated with examples from the author's own work, and show not only the usual spring and summer photos most take, but the beauty of the garden to be found in fall in winter.  The photos mention the equipment used, including film, as well as location, making this book a beautiful coverage of European gardens as well as photography guide.  Often there is also even more in-depth description on each photo, explaining how the author chose his settings and approach and why.

Studying the photos, and reading his descriptions, one can get inspiration and ideas for garden photos.  And if you desire to pursue this as a career, there are even some tips and suggestions from the author's own experience.

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