greentapestry : A Creative Plant Photography Workshop

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A Creative Plant Photography Workshop

Back in the depths of last summer I attended a most enjoyable creative plant photography workshop at Bluebell Cottage Gardens/Lodge Lane Nursery in the fair county of Cheshire. The gardens and nursery are in the excellent hands of Sue Beesley. I blogged about the morning session here and promised to come back with what happened after lunch. Well here at long last with apologies for the delay is the second installment. The afternoon session was a chance to be practical and to get out in the garden and take photos. Andrew Williams, the workshop leader suggested that we might like to come up with a theme. I had a few ideas floating around but eventually decided to focus on the various sitting areas that are dotted about the garden. Looking back on it now I would have approached this slightly differently and would have taken some close up shots too. Whilst we wondered round snapping Andrew caught up with everyone individually to discuss our proposed shots in more detail. This was most useful for me and was a welcome chance to get to grips with some of my camera's bells and whistles. Here are some of my photos on the seating theme ~ 

Gardener at work ~ 

In the shade ~

Two's company ~

Mirror images ~

Pondside ~

Finally the best seat in the house or should I say garden ~ 

It was rather hot in the garden, so it was pleasant to eventually get back indoors, where we were invited to share a few of our photos with the rest of the group. We were all I think slightly reluctant to do this but in fact it turned out to be most a constructive exercise.

I left feeling enthusiastic and eager to put what I learned on the day into practice. We were provided with a comprehensive reading list, which I hope to make my way through in time as I certainly want to learn more about this subject.
Plants and Flower Photography
Photographing Flowers' - Sue Bishop

'Garden Photography - 'A Professional Guide' - Tony Cooper. I have been unable to find an online U.K. source for this out of print book. However  I bought a copy very recently for the grand total of £2.00 from the Chester outlet of Publishers Book Clearance.

'Photographing Plants and Flowers' - Paul Harcourt Davies

'The Art of Flower and Garden Photography' - Clive Nicholls

I have yet to read any of the above apart from the last title which I came across in our local library. Another book not on the list as it is a new publication is 'Better Plant And Garden Photography' by Philip Smith. I am keeping my eyes open for this one.

Macro Photography 
'Close Up Photography' - Michael Freeman

'Close up Creative Techniques for Successful Macrophotography' - John Brackenbury

'Close - Up and Macro' - Robert Thompson

The book list also included recommendations under the headings of creative photography, landscape photography and panoramas which I can forward if anybody is particularly interested.

I would thoroughly recommend this course or a similar one to anybody who would like to get to know their camera better and to take photographs in a garden setting with a professional at hand. There are courses at Lodge Lane this May, June and September - full details are here. You can search for other RHS recommended photography courses over at the RHS Event Finder.

I be back shortly with a final installment on the practical hints and tips that I picked up on the day, including the lowdown on equipment. This time I mean shortly!


  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful day and you've taken some lovely photos, I think my favourite is Mirror Images, but I do love the pussy cat of course.

  2. What a treat Anna!

    It's also worth keeping an eye open for National Trust and Royal Photographical Society events. The latter have recently had workshops led by Jason Ingram and Paul Dbois, both of whom have done well in the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.

  3. It does sound wonderful. I am going to see if my local library has these books.

    Great shots.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  4. Love your theme Anna - it is one of the things I always look for in a garden, especially a hideaway seat as in your unique, in-the-shade shot. Looks like you learned a lot and something I definitely need to pursue with my humble Ricoh CX3 - thanks for the links

  5. Love the name Bluebell Cottage Gardens. Sounds like a fun and informative workshop. I love how the garden tools are resting on the chairs. :)

  6. I liked your seating theme - I am a great fan of seats in a garden. Glad you enjoyed your day - sometimes being hands on is the best way to learn!

  7. wish I lived nearer to Sue's as I would have gone on that course. I really need to work out how to get more from my camera as I have no idea what half the settings are for!! Looking forward to your hints and tips

  8. That sounds like a great class and what a pretty place to get to practice picture taking. I'm hoping that I'll be able to find a class like that around here sometime.

  9. Oh, I remember how much I enjoyed your first post on the course, so am so glad you have given us part two! You've got great colour balance and composition in those shots, I think I have spent way too long taking macros and have forgotten anything I ever knew about how to take "proper" photos. Will have to look for those books in my local library, and yes please, I would love details of the landscape photography recommendations too. Looking forward to the tips...

  10. Anna the photographs are beautiful and the composition is very good. I love taking photo's of benches and seating area when we visit National Trust gardens.
    I have an expensive camera with a super duper lens which I really need to get to know better as I don't get the most of it. I tend to take my Fuji Finepix around with me as it's lighter than the Canon SLR. My Canon is wonderful for portrait photography which is mainly why I got it.
    M x

  11. Hi Anna, your photos are great and so are those garden benches. What a wonderful venue for a class, and a good choice of motif. Thanks for all the book recommendations, and I am inspired to look for a class, since I haven't begun to explore what my camera can do.

  12. Beautiful photos - I love benches and garden seats - reminds me of when we used to have Bench of the Week as a blog meme! You've really captured that lovely garden tranquillity atmosphere.

  13. Wonderful photos Anna. It sounds like a great course and something I would love to do. Thanks for all the fab links. I will have to make a note of them for future reference especialy to seek out those titles from the library.

    Sweet cat, enjoying a siesta and dreaming of chasing butterflies ...!


  14. Great way to spend a day.

    Above all I'd love someone to show me 'round the camera. I look forward to the next instalment.


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.