6 Photo Tips for Garden Bloggers – Book Tour

– Posted in: Contests and Giveaways, Garden Photography
2 macro views of Clarkia williamsonii -

How to find a point of view for macro photography

Usually authors make the rounds of books stores when a book comes out. Since my new books are e-books I am making a blog tour – and announcing a new photo contest. I have managed to get 6 great garden blogs to participate in the book tour and each has its own photo lesson and tip for taking pictures this time of year. I have summarized the tips below, but to get the full illustrated lesson I hope you will get the whole story from the bloggers.

Good Garden Photography eBook cover

First three books in The PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop Series

Then let’s have a new ‘Picture This‘ photo contest “Photos of Summer”. Details below the tips.


September 9 – Dee Nash at Red Dirt Ramblings. How to find photos in The Late Season Garden. Dee is giving away Think Like A Gardener.

Red Penstemon, summer flower drought tolerant perennial in California garden

The tip here is to fill the frame with your subject and be careful of the backgrounds. The late summer garden is full of overgrown plants, flowers in need of deadheading, and zucchini. There are photos to be had, whether in the late summer perennials, grasses, seed heads or fruit, just be sure you use your camera frame as a canvas and fill it consciously without background distractions.


September 10 – Pam Penick at Digging. Pam wants me to give tips on how to work with Death Star Light and will be giving away Good Garden Photography.

Sunlight scrim for harsh light for photographing Lilium humboldtii

I sympathize with Pam and Texas gardeners who get frustrated with bright days of sun beaming down hot, death star light. The best advice is to avoid bright sun and shoot very early or very late in the day. Plan for good photography and don’t just grab your camera.

When you must photograph in the sun look for backlight or use a scrim to diffuse the light for flower photography – as explained in this post on photographing lilies.


September 11 – Jenny Peterson at J Peterson Garden Design gets tips of macro photography and a reader will win Think Like A Gardener.

2 macro views of Clarkia williamsonii -

Jenny’s readers get tips on how to use the camera to isolate the close-ups, with before and after photos showing examples, using depth of field tricks and ideas for choosing your point of view.

I really like getting down to the flower’s level and shoot as if you were doing a botanic illustration. PhotoBotanic is my business name after all. Yes, it is sometime hard to get back up from the belly shots, but that only makes you look more closely when you are down with the flowers.


September 14 – Genevieve Schmidt at North Coast Gardening. The Leaves of Fall – making art photos with autumn leaf patterns. Gen will feature Think Like A Camera.

Tapestry of autumn leaves, Tupelo tree - Nyssa sylvatica


Leaves are already turning in the northern climes and have begun in my Tupelo, perhaps because we are so stressed with the drought, but there are great photo opps in those transitional stages when some leaves have turned and others are green.

I am very excited to use two of my favorite art pieces to illustrate the power of leaves to act as brushstrokes of color. When you look at a mass of leaves, let your eyes loose to see patterns, stare in wonder, then let the four edges of your camera frame and hold the pattern as a photograph.


September 15 – Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening. How to Photograph Grasses featuring Think Like A Gardener.

Seed heads of Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' (back-lit) in grass garden

Anyone who knows my work knows how I love grasses. From the Grasses book, to The American Meadow Garden, to the six galleries of grasses at PhotoBotanic, I never tire of how they harvest the light. Grasses are now at their full glory.

When you photograph grasses, watch for dark backgrounds or use back light. They are wispy plants and often hard to separate from their surroundings, which is why back light is so effective. Exposing the camera to capture the highlights forces the shadows to go even darker


September 16 – Evelyn Hadden at Garden Rant. I get to rant about just what is a “good” garden photo, and a reader will win a copy of Good Garden Photography.

Plants and hedges framing the garden designs at Digging Dog Nursery

I can’t wait to be back on Rant. Amy Stewart called me out nine years ago with a challenge: “Hey Saxon: Do people really stick cut flowers into their borders for photo shoots to make them look like there’s more in bloom? Come on, you can tell us”.

Now I get to explain that the original title of “Good” Garden Photography had those quotations in it for a reason and I have a whole book explaining that a good photo is not about the eye candy but what story it tells. If a photo helps a gardener towards success, no matter what I had to do to get the photo, I think it’s good.


If you go to these sites and read all the tips and bookmark the sites properly, you will have your own book, whether or not you win a free copy. I think my publisher must be crazy. Blogging can be an enjoyable pastime for some and profitable business for others. If you are interested in starting your own blog there are a ton of different web hosting sites available to you – here is an example from Site Beginner.

Now, how about a photo contest with all these bloggers inspiring new photos? My next post here will be on September 25 and summer will be officially over, so let’s see what you have photographed this summer.

Watch the Picture This Facebook Page for tips and announcements. And read all those blog posts for tips if you still want to shoot something new.

It’s still summer, so I guess my blog event will be known as my 2015 summer tour. I hope to see your comments.

If you just can’t wait to see if you win a book at the bloggers, head on over to Photobotanic and shop 24/7.

Good Garden Photography eBook cover

PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop Series

Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt is the owner of PhotoBotanic.com, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at www.photobotanic.com. https://photobotanic.com
Saxon Holt

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6 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Dana September 10, 2015, 4:24 pm

Thank you Saxton. I found your article very helpful.
I feature flower art and butterflies for your home and office.

Kevin Espiritu October 2, 2015, 8:02 pm

HI saxon, thanks a lot for this guide. i’ve been working on my photography skills lately and in combination with my gardening skills (which are slowly improving), hopefully I’ll be able to take some photos as nice as yours soon. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Saxon Holt October 5, 2015, 12:55 pm

Thanks Kevin – Did you take any photos in summer ? Go ahead and enter the new Picture This photo contest

Robbie Miller May 26, 2017, 10:51 am

Great article. Thanks for putting in the time to put this together and sharing with us. Now that the UK have had some warmer weather with a mix of some rain, all of our gardens are looking as bright as the ones you have taken a picture of. I know mine certainly is. I will work on my photography skill and send in some images, if I can ensure my photos do my garden justice!

Gary Waters September 3, 2017, 4:51 pm

Hi, Saxon, thank you for your tips; until this point, we have found it hard to take pictures that do our gardens justice, we will be acting on your recommendations. Thanks once again

Gary September 3, 2017, 4:59 pm

Hi Saxon, thanks for the above tips, we have until this point found it hard to take photos that do our gardens justice and will be trying your recommendations.

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