If you've ever rushed out to photograph your garden at its very peak of perfection only to be disappointed with the blah, washed-out colours of your prints, take heart. Whether you use a conventional or digital camera, here's how to dramati-cally increase your rate of success.
• When photographing your garden, the light-or more accurately, the quality of light-is probably the most important factor. It sets the mood for your photographs and determines how vibrant the colours will be on your prints.
• The most common mistake that many amateurs make is taking pictures when the sun is bright. On a sunny day, avoid taking photographs between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., as colours that may look gorgeous to your eye will be washed out on your photographs. Conversely, shadowy areas will look too dark. The best time to capture your garden is early morning (just after sunrise and for about two hours afterwards). It's quiet, the plants have had a chance to recover from the heat of the previous day and the light is soft and warm. Try to choose an angle where the light is streaming in from the side or behind your subject, but avoid letting any direct light into your camera lens.
• Cloudy days also work well, as the light is even and colours photograph vibrantly. Shadows are reduced, so you can successfully capture areas that would otherwise be half in shade and half in sunlight.