The Garden Photography Workshop, by Andrea Jones | Book Review

Take a masterclass in garden photography as you tag along with a professional garden photographer as she works through the challenges and rewards while shooting a selection of beautiful gardens.

The Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Cover
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Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Cover
Title: The Garden Photography Workshop: Tips and Techniques for Capturing Your Garden
Author: Andrea Jones
Publisher: Timber Press
Publication Date: March 08, 2017
Total Pages: 224 pages
ISBN-13: 9781604696691
Buy at Amazon

In Brief: Take a masterclass in garden photography as you tag along with a professional garden photographer as she works through the challenges and rewards while shooting a selection of beautiful gardens.

Every garden has a unique beauty. In the course of my work I have photographed a huge range, from magnificent royal palaces to small domestic yards, finding something original in all of them. [p.8]

Some of the books I’ve been reviewing recently related to shooting in your garden or a local park or forest have focused more tightly on close-up, or macro, photography. While this book does have a section on macro, it’s much more general than that. You don’t need specialized macro lenses or diopters or tripods to follow along with much of this book. In fact, you don’t need fancy camera equipment at all, really. One of the several virtues of this book is that it’s as much about seeing as it is about shooting.

Don’t always wait for blue sky—some of my best pictures have been taken in a thick mist or in a light summer haze. Blue sky can look impressive at any time of year but brings sharp contrasts, and although it can create striking images, the bright light it brings with it can be harsh on plant details and can throw garden scenes into deep shadow. [p.36]

I like how this book is structured. The author has, for the most part, moved away from a more traditional class-style approach and instead focuses much of the book on a series of case studies, each shooting in a specific garden. The author calls them “Garden Portraits.” And within each of those garden portraits, there are specific challenges to grapple with and specific skills that can be put to use. While none of us is likely to shoot in those exact same gardens, there are plenty of elements that can be applied to shooting situations we’re likely to run into.

When I am trying to understand a new technical concept, I always find it easier to learn when someone shows me, rather by reading long technical explanations in textbooks. Workshops are great but are not always possible to attend for one reason or another. The second part of the book, a collection of ten garden portraits, offers a variety of photographic studies—composing a photograph, telling a garden story, capturing details in shadows, editing and archiving photos, and much more—in a unique and hands-on format. With a combination of my own photos and those from the garden owners, I will present how I photographed the gardens professionally, how the owners photographed them, and what we learned from each other. [p.15]

There is a short but refreshingly concise section at the beginning that focuses on gear and (very briefly) some technicalities such as depth of field. But the bulk of the book is taken up with 2the garden portraits.

No matter your level of photography, the everyday challenges you will come across in your own garden—such as harsh light, wet weather, awkward angles, cramped spaces, and vast views—are the same ones that I frequently confront on photography shoots. Here we will delve further into solving these problems, learning new techniques, and finding more ways to enjoy documenting and immortalizing your outdoor space, whether in a print or by sharing on social media. [p.55]

One of the things I really like about this book is the way it presents alternative ways of taking a similar shot. There are side-by-side examples of the same scene shot by different photographers, or the same scene under different lighting conditions (such as with a cloud passing overhead). It’s a very useful way to illustrate that there’s no right or wrong way to take the shot and many different ways to skin a cat.

In talking to gardeners and from my own experience, I know that for various reasons these snatched photographs of our gardens can often be disappointing, failing to capture the brilliance of the moment. Yet this needn’t be the case. With just a little more know-how and the willingness to practise and experiment, you can overcome many of the obstacles to taking great images. [p.10]

I’ve really enjoyed this book. It stands out as something quite different from other books in its genre. Ms. Jones’s overall style in this book leans toward the types of shots you might find in a high-end landscaping or architectural magazine. And it’s full of insider trade secrets that she employs in her works. But the approaches, vision, and techniques provide very useful ideas that can be put to work in any garden, no matter how big or small. The information is presented in a very approachable manner and isn’t overwhelming.

Author Bio

Official Bio: Andrea Jones specializes in photographs of landscape architecture, gardens, and plants. Her work regularly appears in House & Garden, Country Living, Gardens Illustrated, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Sunset, Organic Gardening, Fine Gardening, and Garden Design. She runs a stock photo library called Garden Exposures. Jones is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and exhibits her work around the world. She has been recognized with multiple awards from the UK’s Garden Media Guild.

Table of Contents

Why Photography Your Garden
Getting Started
How to Photograph a Garden

  • Knowing your garden
  • Decision-making and planning

The Ever-Changing World of Cameras and Digital Devices

  • DSLRs and lenses
  • Compact cameras and point-and-shoots
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Camera basics

The Garden Portraits

Finca Vida: Creative Composition in Southern Spain

  • Crafting a garden photo story
  • Composing your photograph

NARA: Up Close in a Japanese Courtyard in Dublin, Ireland

  • Photographing in close-up
  • Getting perspective correct

Lynn and Ralph’s Garden: A Mosaic of Moments in Washington State, USA

  • Making a photographic patchwork quilt
  • Editing, archiving, and organizing your photos

Parkhead: Working with the Elements on the West Coast of Scotland

  • Capturing winter weather
  • Creating slide presentations and photo books

Mill of Fyall: Social Media from the Vale of Strathmore, Scotland

  • Creating a visual diary for social media
  • Understanding histograms, contrast, and clarity

Farrs: John and Jennie Makepeace’s Crafted and Colourful English Garden

  • Using colour and light to reveal a garden’s character
  • Getting detail in shadow

Nancyland: Curating Creativity in Oregon, USA

  • Capturing the style of a garden
  • Playing with depth of field

Ard Daraich: Sketching in the Scottish Highlands

  • Telling the story of a garden and its gardeners
  • Using the garden as inspiration for art

Ann Stafford: Compiling Botanical Records on Grand Cayman

  • Striving for detail and accuracy
  • Showing a sense of place

Coyote House: Professionally Promoting Sustainability in California, USA

  • Mixing natural and artificial light
  • Documenting design: before and after

Further Reading
Photography Credits

Publisher’s Blurb

Learn to take better garden photos!

One of the most rewarding aspects of gardening is sharing its beauty, both physically with those who visit and virtually with those who only see it on a screen. But capturing a garden’s true essence is difficult, and often the moments worth sharing are ephemeral. In The Garden Photography Workshop, internationally known garden photographer Andrea Jones shares the trade secrets that make her photos sing. You’ll learn the basic photography skills and tips on using a range of camera equipment. Profiles of real gardens from around the world exemplify the most common problems a photographer can face, like harsh light, wet weather, and cramped spaces, along with advice and techniques for addressing specific concerns. We live in a photo-driven world, and this helpful guide is a complete tutorial for anyone who wants that world to be filled with beautiful images of gardens and plants.

Preview Pages

These are some sample preview pages that have been made available by the publisher.

Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Cover
Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Sample Page
Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Sample Page
Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Sample Page
Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Sample Page
Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Sample Page
Garden Photography Workshop By Andrea Jones Sample Page

Where to Buy

You can find it on Amazon in paperback and e-book.

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David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »

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