Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants

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Capturing the Beauty of Plants

In the February issue of Outdoor Photography magazines Holiday & Courses guide, I give my tips for capturing the beauty of plants.

Digital photography holidays, tours, workshops courses to Cambodia, Vietnam USA and landscape photography workshops courses in the UK, Wales, Gower

After 30 years as a professional travel and landscape photographer I have a good understanding of the natural world, having spent many a day bunkered down and immersed in the natural environment with my Mamiya 6×7 camera (pre-digital) waiting for the right light conditions that I wished to capture. So when I was approached to produce photographs of plants for a book 10 years ago, I jumped to the challenge. It led me down a whole new branch of photographic exploration, plant photography.

As with any aspect of photography, after initial trials you find your feet and style. My approach to plant photography really moved on from the initial commission for the book. I am far more interested in the art of plant photography and what makes one photograph really stand out from the others?

There are certain elements that you need to consider when making a great shot.

  • Explore your subject before rushing to photograph it, walk around and see what you are drawn to, see how the light plays on the plant. Think about your composition, how is the subject going to fill the frame? Backlit flowers will always look good if the petals are translucent as it accentuates the colours, giving off a luminescence and showing off the patterns. Don`t be afraid to try out different angles, getting down to the same height as the plant is very effective, or look up to flowers from below them.

plant and Flower photography workshops courses with Stephen Studd of Digital Photography holidays

  • Time of day is an important consideration when taking your photographs. Harsh midday sun makes most subjects look unflattering. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times of day as the light is warmer, less harsh and the colours of the plants look richer.

Iris close up

Mornings also tend to be less windy, flowers are hard to photograph when they are moving around too much. Windy days are the toughest to photograph flowers on, unless you choose to use the blur creatively with a slower shutter speed.

  • Weather conditions are most important. Most people are surprised to hear that overcast days can be very beneficial for plant photography. This is because clouds act as a perfect light diffuser, creating even lighting and saturation without the worry of harsh highlights or shadows.

plant and Flower photography workshops courses with Stephen Studd of Digital Photography holidays

  • The background of your photograph needs consideration as untidy, busy, cluttered backgrounds kill a shot as the viewers eye gets distracted away from the subject. If there are shadows use them to make the subject stand out, or move in closer to the subject with a tight crop.

Dahlia "Bobby Dazzler"

  • For close ups I would always recommend the use of a tripod, they allow you to frame the plant perfectly and keep the image sharp. Also, look at the flower you are photographing to make sure it is free of blemishes or missing petals.

plant and Flower photography workshops courses with Stephen Studd of Digital Photography holidays

Experiment and have fun, try out new angles, backgrounds and processes you might be surprised with the results you obtain capturing the beauty of plants.

Flower photography workshops can be found on my website

Photography holidays & courses to Cambodia,  Vietnam, Marrakech the USA and the Gower, can be found on my website
‘May the light be with you’






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Print Gallery

After many requests for prints of my photography I have now started to roll out a new Print Gallery on my website, with three different print sizes.

Digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Venice marrakech Paris Morocco hosted by Stephen Studd

The Prints gallery has travel & flower photography sections. I will be adding new collections throughout the year. To visit the gallery please follow the link to my website.:

Dahlia flower photography by stephen Studd photographer

I have also set up a new Etsy shop with photographic prints of flowers, this will be added to over time with travel prints too.

To view my Etsy site please click the link below.

For photography commissions my website is

I also run small group travel photography holidays and flower photography workshops

Social Media:





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Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2011; Show Gardens

This was my first visit to Tatton Park RHS flower show and I was greatly impressed. A very friendly, fun and professional show, billed as the North`s greatest garden party.

I had access to the site from 5am for 3 days. Having not been to Tatton before the very first 5am start was a very quick orientation. The light was flat and grey for most mornings, which does work for show gardens, though at dawn I do prefer the warm soft light. This happened some evenings around 8pm.

Awarded Best in Show and Gold was the garden entitled; “Save a Life, Drop the Knife”;  garden designed by Glen Jackson & the Offenders at HMP Everthorpe. The message was clear and the garden moved from gnarly, sharp, angry urbanism through to gentle contemporary softness and peace.

"Save a Life, Drop the Knife"; garden designed by Glen Jackson & the Offenders at HMP Everthorpe

 “Grasses with Grace” by Sue Beesley of Bluebell Cottage Gardens & Nursery was my personal favourite that I kept coming back to at different times as it changed constantly. The planting was just superb, especially for a photographer, as there were so many vistas that were eye catching. I have to admit that the Echinacea “Green Envy” was also my favourite flower in the show as it was so well offset with the Sanguisorba obtusa and the  Grasses: Stipa capillata (front); & Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Bronzeschleier’ (back).

"Grasses with Grace", Awarded Gold Medal, Designed by Sue Beesly, Bluebell Cottage Gardens

 Early evening back lighting on the Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ and Agastache ‘Black Adder’ also showed off the grasses  Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’ (left) ; Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster (back)

Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, Achillea ‘Red Velvet’, Grasses: Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’ (left) ; Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster (back),

Sue`s expert planting is shown here. One of the reasons this garden was my favourite as it really won its well deserved Gold through its planting. As a garden photographer often at shows the structure seems to be thought of first then planted around it. This garden shows that brilliant planting can win Gold.

"Grasses with Grace", Achillea ‘Red Velvet", Anthemis ‘E.C. Buxton’, Agastache ‘Black Adder", Sanguisorba obtusa, Grass: Stipa calamagrostis

 “The Schedule”, awarded Gold Medal was also one of my favourites. The styling was immaculately executed and it transported me back to the 1970`s visiting my Uncle Harry`s garden in Ipswich. A time when life was alot simpler and people took pride in growing things. This was another garden I kept popping back to and once again was rewarded one evening with the backlit brassicas.

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal, designed by Gary Hillery, Ken Walton, Finchale Training College

 The garden looked like it had always been there, I really liked the lean-too greenhouse.

I even had a bike just the same as this one! The canvas saddle bag too was classic. Hot Pot for tea! 
“A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” awarded Gold Medal, designed by Daniela Coray, winner of the 2011 RHS National Young Designer of the Year Competition. This meadow garden swayed beautifully in the breeze underneath the crab apple trees, Daniela has a bright future ahead of her.
OXFAM`s “When the Waters Rise”  was part of their “Grow” Campaign” for better ways to grow, share and live together. The garden was full of meaning and the message very clear. It showed the ways people across the world are adapting to climate change, particularly flooding. Here veg is grown in containers that are portable. The sculpture of woman with child on her back looking after the garden highlights womens role in subsistence farming.
“When the Waters Rise”

 Great details like the carrots growing in the wellies!

“Inside Out”,Designed by John Everiss was a great feat of engineering and design. When I was photographing late one evening a couple of the onsite construction crew were having a real good look at the structure. This for me really worked on a few levels. The roof was amazing with the outdoor living area below,

"Inside Out", Awarded Gold Medal, Designer John Everiss

 The “Outside” nestling up pefectly to the “Inside”, the Hornbeam hedging also dividing areas off.

“Paradise Isle- 100 Years On designed by Sam Youd was a very calm reflective garden also awarded a Gold. Sam is Head Gardener at Tatton and was asked to design a Japanese Garden commemorarting 100 years of a Japanese Garden at the park. Sam has been Head gardener for over 30years and was instrumental in bringing the show to tatton park. He will also be retiring next year and I personally wish him a happy and content retirement.

“Paradise Isle- 100 Years On”, designed by Sam Youd
“Painting with Plants“, awarded Silver Gilt Medal, designed by Jan Lomas, Nicola Sweeting, Eaton Garden Team, sponsored by Grosvenor Estate had another of my favourite plants the  Eryngium ‘ Cobalt  Star`

Eryngium ' Cobalt Star`

I also liked this water feature that was blended in nicely to the planting.

Water feature amongst Agastache ‘ Blue fortune”, Eragrostis curvula ( African Love Grass ), Helenium ‘Waldtraut’,

Finally I wandered through the Floral Design Studio and came across this flower display, “Hidden & Revealed” that won Gold & Best Exhibit, by NAFAS. It mesmerised me and really stopped me in my tracks. I found it very peaceful, Zen and calming. I decided to photograph it with a slow enough shutter speed to catch the copper and willow circle spinning enough to still make out the shape amongst the stillness.

NAFAS were awarded Gold & Best Exhibit in the Floral Design Studio


I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the show and look forward to returning for next years show in 2012.

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International Garden Photographer of the Year 2011; finalist Spring into Life

International Garden Photographer of the Year 2011; IGPOTY, finalist in the Spring into Life category.

This shot of Wild Garlic (Ramsons) was taken in woodland near to my home. A very early pre dawn start when everything is quiet and still, spotted a few deer in the woods, no doubt disturbed by my presence!

The strong aroma of wild garlic permeating the air, sun just rising into the woods, garlic backlit. A perfect May morning!

Allium ursinum Wild Garlic Ramsons in woodland, Sroud, Gloucestershire dawn

Allium ursinum Wild Garlic Ramsons in woodland, Sroud, Gloucestershire dawn


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International Photography Awards Press Release

2010 International Photography Awards Announces Winners of the Competition


Stephen Studd was awarded an Honorable Mention in Nature – Flowers category for the winning entry “Tulip Professor Roentgen”

About Winner:
Professional freelance travel photographer since graduating in photography & film in London in 1987. Stephens photography has been published in many areas around the globe; from National Geographic magazine, to countless travel books, brochures and print media. A passion for organic gardening and his organic allotment led him to the wonderful World of Plants.

About IPA:
The 2010 International Photography Awards received nearly 15,000 submissions from 103 countries across the globe. IPA is a sister-effort of the Lucie Foundation, where the top three winners are announced at the annual Lucie Awards gala ceremony. The Foundation’s mission is to honor master photographers, to discover new and emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography. Since 2003, IPA has had the privilege and opportunity to acknowledge and recognize contemporary photographers’ accomplishments in this specialized and highly visible competition. Visit for more details.



 Stephen Studd:



IPA Contact  Sarah Cho
Competition Director
IPA | Lucie Awards


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20 Amazing Plants and Their Practical Uses

Finally finished all the outdoor shots for the book commission, 20 Amazing Plants and Their Practical Uses by Rachel Corby. Spent the morning at Cirencester Organic Farm shop where Norah Kennedy was giving a workshop. Norah is a willow worker living in Stroud who kindly let me photograph at the event. When I set off this morning there was alot of snow on the ground and it was really cold. During the shoot there were some snow flurries, but the light was nice and soft. Norah has some amazing pieces and amazing skills, extreemly friendly and accomodating too.

Now its captioning and keywording time and getting them all in to Lightroom 3 before getting them off to the publishers. Good time to be doing this as its bitterly cold outside and snowing but will make for some good seasonal shots tomorrow.

It has been a pleasure working with all the amazing craftsmen this year and to see their passion and love for their craft, have been lucky enough to see some truly amazing works and meet some very inspirational people, thanks.

Will be finishing the commission in the next few weeks, by early January, as the rest are studio shots.

Thanks to all who I have had the pleasure working with this year, it has been a truly rewarding and busy one. Looking forward to a little break over the festive Season and then to a wonderful 2011 working with existing editors, clients  and new commisssions.

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Book commission and Dahlias


Really busy with too much photography editing to really start blogging, but no better place to start. Why I`ve chosen today to start this not sure, but all will become clearer soon I expect.

Started the blog to keep you informed about the working side of Stephen Studd Photography and a little bit of behind the scenes.

At the moment outside its a pretty grim day and I have lots of work to catch up on with edits etc, so computer time today!

Starting to collate together the photographs I have shot for a book commission I am working on to be released next year; “20 Amazing Plants & Their Practical Uses” by Rachel Corby, published by the Good Life Press. Further shoots for this and appointments to be set up!

Am also wading through images of Dahlias shot in Autumn that need processing, this shoot I really enjoyed. Also getting some back catalogue into Lightroom 3

Is this blog procrastination? I hope not.

Well that was pretty easy to set up and do so back to my editing again