I am very excited to announce that I’ve found the first balcony to profile for My Balcony, My Garden, my upcoming book with Timber Press. Anna Beaudry lives in Vancouver, BC and gardens on her condo’s patio. Anna is a professional photographer (check out her work at http://www.annabeaudry.com) and tweets from @Annabeau. Anna very generously agreed to share some tips for taking great photos of your balcony.
I still am sorting through all of your submissions for My Balcony, My Garden (so many great balconies to look at!), but if after reading Anna’s tips, you’re itching to try out some of her tips, feel free to send a few more photographs my way. And there is still plenty of time if you haven’t submitted a photo yet. Here is where to find out about how your balcony can be featured in my book.
Sometimes covering the basics makes all the difference. Anna recommends making sure your lens in clean, and that your camera is set to capture images at as high a resolution as possible. She suggests using a wide angle lens (anywhere between 14 mm and 35 mm) for capturing the entire setting of your garden and balcony. If you’re looking to capture a special vignette or grouping of pots, use a normal lens like a 50 mm or a slightly longer.
Be sure to turn your flash off, natural lighting is best.
Anna suggests that if you have manual controls “be sure to select an exposure that gives you the most depth of field combined with the fastest shutter speed.” If your camera just has automatic settings for different types of scenes, “choose landscape as it usually enhances greens and blues.”
Getting Your Balcony Ready to Be Photographed
Again, covering the basics will get you a lot of bang for your buck. Remove dead leaves, sweep the floor, rinse your plants to remove dust and other debris. I know I have to resist the urge to just snap away and do these first, but having a sharp looking garden makes it a lot easier to produce sharp looking photographs!
Anna also suggests some styling tips that will help you enjoy your garden long after you’re done photographing it. She thinks groupings of three are often pleasing to the eye, and likes adding some accessories to liven things up. “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, painted rocks, watering cans, sun umbrellas, statues, etc” all work well.
As far as the day of your photo shoot, including your family pet (“if they like the serenity of your garden”) is a great way to add interest to your photos. Anna also points out that a nice food set up can work well too, like “a bowl of colourful fresh fruit or a loaf of bread, cheese & wine.”
Be sure to choose the time of day that shows off your balcony in the best light. Here are Anna’s suggestions for different exposures:
- If you are north facing, any time is perfect as there won’t be any direct sunlight.
- If you are west facing, consider waiting until late in the day when the sun is low and lazy.
- East facing? Get up early and catch the sun’s first rays kissing your plants good morning.
- South facing balconies might be best at high noon.
Don’t forget about nighttime! As Anna points out, “Sometimes a night shot, with patio lanterns or candles, works amazingly well. Just be sure to use a tripod to avoid camera shake. Don’t use flash, it will spoil the ambience of the natural lighting.”
Capturing the Perfect Shot
Anna recommends “tak[ing] a few pictures showing the widest view of your garden that you can so we can see it in it’s entirety” and also “tak[ing] a few pictures highlighting some special settings or groupings. Move around your garden and shoot from different angles, up high, down low and be sure to shoot some vertical and some horizontal images.” She says–and I totally concur!–make sure to capture ”the unique qualities and features of your garden. Maybe you have some rare plants, unusual pots, or interesting decor…show it off!”
Now that you surely have plenty of great balcony garden photos, why not share them in the Life on the Balcony Flickr group?
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