Mo’s Garden Photo Tip: Quantity Makes Quality

Ephemeral is defined as something that lasts a very short time.  This is so true with both flowers and gardens.  Light changes moment by moment.  A flower peaking right now may fade in a matter of hours.  A wind can come up this evening rendering a full bloom shrub into a shadow of its former beauty by morning.  You’ll never get a second chance to get that shot.

Garden photography is about capturing a fleeting image because flowers and natural light change so quickly.

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Thistles close up shot.

When traveling, you may never return to that garden or that location again, so if you don’t get the pictures right the first time you won’t get them at all.  So how do you guarantee you get the shot right?  It’s simple – you just shoot the hell out of it and through sheer quantity you’ll get a marketable photo.  If you take just one or two shots, a single mistake will reduce your chances by 50% and two mistakes means you’ve missed it entirely.

Back in the days of film photography we used to bracket a shot, which means we shot it at varying light settings.  One might be the optimal automatic setting for the camera, then we’d add a few more at slightly lighter and darker settings.  That way we were sure to get at least one perfect shot.  It also meant taking at least five shots of the same subject. 

The same idea applies to composing the shot.  When I find the perfect flower or scene, I’ll shoot up to ten or more images of the same thing, trying different angles, close up and far back and virtually every possible variation I can devise.  The reason is that my first instinct of how to shoot it may not be the best one.  If I take a slew of extras, invariably I’ll come out with one or more marketable shots.  Thanks to digital photography I can shoot with impunity and dump the rejects.  

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Thistles medium shot.

You can’t shoot this way if you’re limited by small amount of image storage in your camera.  I’ve hunted down the most generous “picture sticks” I can for my Cybershot so I have the luxury of taking as many versions of a composition as I want to without worrying about running out of storage.  Too many times lack of film or storage has cut short my efforts to capture an incredible shot or garden 

To put that into financial perspective, the amount a single great shot can earn will more than pay for the price of a larger storage stick for your camera.

So always hedge your bets and overshoot important shots.  What you may lack in photography brilliance you can compensate with shear quantity.

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Thistles wide shot.