Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants


How to photograph Spring Flowers

Spring is a fantastic time of year to get outdoors with your camera as nature is bursting with so much energy and colour. A walk in the woods in springtime will reveal a myriad of wild flowers, our gardens and parks will have plenty of subjects to photograph too.

flower photography workshop Allium ursinum Wild Garlic Ramsons in woodland Sroud Gloucestershire dawn woods forest wildflowers trees medicinal herb edible

Photograph from: The Medicine Garden: Author: Rachel Corby


With the advent of digital photography and phones with cameras  we are all photographers, but what makes one photograph really stand out from the others? The answer to that is there is no single correct way to photograph flowers, however, certain elements do have to be taken into consideration to make a great shot.

Firstly before you start, in your cameras settings, select the highest possible resolution. This will give you clearer detail in your photographs, enabling the image to be used larger without signs of bluriness or noise.
Time of day is an important consideration when taking your photographs, the early bird really does catch the worm! 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. Mornings also tend to be more still, 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.

Bluebells, (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) flower photography workshops Gloucestershire

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

Bluebells, (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) flower photography workshops Gloucestershire

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

Meconopsis Sheldonii Lingholm - Himalayan Blue Poppy

The background of your photograph is very important 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 flower stand out, or move in closer to the subject.


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

Iris close up

If you do hand hold your camera, as a very general rule of thumb with a standard lens 1/60th of a second is the minimum shutter speed to use, with longer lenses such as a 200mm look around 1/250th of a second to avoid camera shake. For checking correct exposure always check your histogram not the LCD preview.

Galanthus Nivalis - Snowdrops;

Snowdrops: 1/60s  f11

Finally break the rules, experiment and have fun, try out new angles and backgrounds, you might be surprised with the results you obtain.

Allium Purple Sensation

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ photographed against the sun, post processed in Lightroom.

Try out different processes such as black and white such as the photograph below of a tulip.

Homage to Edward Weston Stephen Studd IGPOTY

Homage to Edward Weston – 3rd place IGPOTY : Monochrome

When photographing wildflowers be careful not to tread on other flowers, leave them just as you found them for insects and others to enjoy.

flower photography workshop Allium ursinum Wild Garlic Ramsons in woodland Sroud Gloucestershire dawn woods forest wildflowers trees medicinal herb edible

Wild Garlic (Ramsons) © Stephen Studd Photography for BBC Gardeners World.

I  am running bluebell flower photography workshops in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire in May: further details can be found here:

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Flower photography workshops

Great to see my flower photography workshops were featured in the Sunday Times.

Bluebell woods flower photography workshopsin Gloucestershire UK England garlic woods Stroud hosted by Stephen Studd photography


This spring I have some bluebell woods

Bluebells flower photography workshop and courses in the UK England, Forest of Dean Gloucestershire digital photography holidays tours workshops holidays vacations


and wild garlic woods

flower photography workshops Wild Garlic (Ramsons) in wood Stroud Gloucestershire Digital photography holidays courses tours workshops

photography workshops in the Forest  of Dean  and Stroud, Gloucestershire. Full details can be found on my website:

Sunday Times article by Wellywoman blog

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Snowdrops, Rococo Garden, Painswick, Gloucestershire

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Close up detail of snowdrop

This is an update from my blog entry last week on the snowdrops.

 Setting off this morning and seeing the thermometer in the car at -7C I knew I was in store for a cold one. Driving to Painswick Rococo Garden with the most layers on so far this winter I felt like the Michelin man. Despite the cold, the light when it is so crisp I really love, it has such clarity and warm tones. Everything feels so fresh and clear, even your thoughts.

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire
Snowdrops backlit.
This morning I was lucky in that the air was still as I needed some close ups. When working with a macro lens, snowdrop flower heads move with even the slightest whisp of air movement, so are always tricky to capture a sharp image.
Today especially I really wanted it to be still as I was using the 180mm macro, which shows up any tiny movement. Even managed to shoot with 1/15th sec exposures! (Don`t try this at home unless you have a steady tripod).
 It was far colder than when I was here last week when there was snow on the ground. Today my hands were sticking to the tripod and dials harder to use than normal, but worth it.
Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Sweeping vista of bank of snowdrops

 The light for me was perfect and the air still, the snowdrops looked like iridescent fairy lanterns lighting up the woods.

On my way home listening to the radio it seems we are in for another cold night.  If you get chance to visit the gardens, then enjoy that crisp, clear, clean winter air that we seem to have avoided so far.

On Radio 4 I heard that on Candlemass/ Groundhog day, there is a saying that if a hedgehog casts a shadow on that day, it means 6 more weeks of winter! Keep warm wherever you are.

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Garden


I am leading Garden and Flower Photography workshops at Painswick Rococo Gardens through the seasons. Please see my website for further details (there is a discount for RHS members)

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Snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Gardens, Gloucestershire

Just back from a photo shoot at the Rococo Gardens in Gloucestershire on a beautiful sunny morning. A great surprise to wake up and see snow on the ground. Snow scenes are one of my favourites to photograph.

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Snow on the ground Painswick Rococo Gardens, Gloucestershire

 After last years snow it looks very light, but I still got one of my favourite sounds, the crunch of snow under the feet.

Painswick Rococo Gardens has one of the best and largest collection of snowdrops in the UK. I find this garden truly magical as it has something to look at all through the seasons, a hidden gem.

James Montgomery said of the snowdrop “The morning star of flowers”

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Snowdrops "the Morning Star of Flowers," J Montgomery

 Looking back on my data from last year the snowdrops are a good two weeks early and for a photographer looking really pristine at the moment, with the white petals having no blemishes!

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire
Snowdrops and snow
The snowdrop has a beautiful luminescence and most people seem to have an affection for it. Wordsworth wrote of the snowdrop;
“Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!”
Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Snowdrops, spring is approaching

The gardens are a great place to photograph snowdrops. Tip; I think they look great photographed with the sun behind them as it really shows off their delicate white flower heads, shape and form. I really like it when they have water droplets on their flower heads too. Be careful not to underexpose the shot and look out for lens flare!
When photographing snow scenes or ones that have lots of white in, be attentive to your meter readings and check your histogram for perfect exposure, its very easy to underexpose a predominately white scene. This is because your cameras meter mostly averages for 18% grey.  So check the histogram and look out for those blinkers too!
The fallen leaves backlit here add extra colour to this shot.
Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire
Snowdrops backlit
My advice as a photographer would be to see them now as they are at their most fresh and vibrant, feel the fresh crisp air in your lungs too!
I am leading Garden and Flower Photography workshops  at Painswick Rococo Gardens through the seasons. Please see my website for further details (there is a discount for RHS members)

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Garden, Plant and Flower photography workshops 2012

Allium Purple Sensation against sun

Allium Purple Sensation against sun

 So another year has begun 2012. Last year seemed to whizz by, a very busy one for myself. Was really pleased with the awards received for my photography. Would also like to thank all the amazing people I worked with in 2011, such spirited passionate horticulturists are always a pleasure to meet. The shows I attended last year were excellent and one always walks away from them with great new ideas.

My allotment produced lots of food with no major glut, except for fruit, which filled the freezer which I am working through in these exceptionally mild winter months.

Organic kale seedling Nero de Toscana

Organic kale seedling Nero de Toscana

2012 sees me teaming up with Painswick Rococo Gardens, near Stroud in Gloucestershire for some garden photography workshops. There are still places left on the 1 day Garden, Plant and flower Photography workshops.

Dates are;

Saturday March 24th

Saturday May 19th

Saturday July 19th

Saturday September 22nd

This will give a good cross section of seasons. There is lots to photograph at the magical Rococo Gardens. Group size is limited to 5 people maximum.

Price for the day includes all tuition, tea/coffee home made biscuits on arrival, 2 course lunch and tea/coffee and cake in the afternoon.

Further details can be found at;

Heres to a fruitful year in 2012 in all that we do.


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RHS Photographic Competition 2011 Winners Announced

The winners of the  RHS Photographic Competition 2011 have been announced today. Congratulations to Stephen Webb for receiving the award of RHS Photographer of the Year 2011.

Lady Godiva Pumpkin showing naked seeds

Lady Godiva Pumpkin

 I received 1st Place in the Grow Your Own category for a shot of Organic Lady Godiva Pumpkins I grew on my allotment.  These were then shot on my kitchen table with Elinchrom Studio flash lights and was my first shot using tethered capture straight to Lightroom 3 on my computer. I wanted that gentle side light that was used by the Dutch Old Master painters.

This particular pumpkin was grown for its hulless or naked seeds, hence the name “Lady Godiva”. The actual flesh was really quite bland, but ok in winter stews, however the yield of seeds was excellent.

This was shot at my allotment and I liked the way the seedlings really stood out bursting with energy against the dark green coat. Thanks to my wife for helping out.
Woman holding organic Little Gem lettuce seedling ready for transplanting

Woman holding organic Little Gem lettuce seedling ready for transplanting


 In the Gardens Through the Seasons category 3rd place for “Blue Shed on Allotment in Winter.”

Last winter we had really heavy snow which is a photographers dream. I trudged through heavy snow, slipping and sliding (I live on a very steep hill and my allotment is up another steep hill) to go to the allotments which are on Old Bisley Road. Stroud. They are always a good source of gardening, plants and flower photographs. Alison who is my allotment neighbour has this fantastic blue shed with matching blue water butt.

The scene all fitted together with the blue tint in the sky matching the blue shed, the bamboo canes mirroring the leafless trees. In the background the rustic seat, wheelbarrow leaning  against the shed and Daves polytunnel straining under the weight of snow making it a great capture of my allotment in winter.

On November 3rd I shall be appearing on the Alan Titchmarsh show with other contestants, where the Blue Shed also makes its debut.

Blue shed on allotment covered in snow, wintertime

Blue shed on allotment covered in snow, wintertime

This was shot at dawn in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona at the Saguaro National Park.
I spent around 5 days in this wonderful part of the world and was totally captivated by the cacti there. It takes up to 75 years for these cacti to send out one arm!
On this particular morning the big Arizona sky produced the beautiful colourful clouds and warm glow to the ground. To pull the sky and ground together I used a Lee Filters graduated .6ND filter.
USA, Arizona, Tucson, Saguaro National Park, Saguaro cacti

USA, Arizona, Tucson, Saguaro National Park, Saguaro cacti


 One Day Garden & Flower Photography workshops

In 2012 I am leading One Day Garden & Flower Photography workshops at the stunning and magical Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire. These are being held on a Saturday on the following dates; March 24th , May 19th , July 14th  and September 22nd. There is a maximum of 5 people on each day giving a great student to tutor ratio.

Please visit my website for further details or to pay a deposit.


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One Day Garden and Flower Photography Workshop at Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire, 2012

I am pleased to announce the dates for my one day Garden & Flower Photography workshops at the Rococo Garden, Painswick, Gloucestershire. The garden dates back to the 18th Century and is a hidden Cotswold gem and a magical garden at any time of the year.

Iris Siberica, Painswick Rococo Gardens

Iris Siberica, Painswick Rococo Gardens

The one day workshops will be held on the following dates in 2012 from 10.00am until 4.30pm.

Saturday March 24th

Saturday May 19th

Saturday July 14th

Saturday September 22nd



RHS Members £105

Price includes tea/coffee homemade biscuits on arrival. Two course lunch with tea/coffee and afternoon tea and cakes.

Maximum group size is 5.

Please visit my website for further details and booking;

Link to Painswick Rococo Garden;