Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants


IGPOTY Monochrome behind the photograph

Commended in the Monochrome Photo Projects category; International Garden Photographer of the Year; Winter Reflection.

Winter reflection Painswick Rococo Garden

Winter reflection, Painswick Rococo Garden

I had gone to photograph the extensive collection of snowdrops at the Rococo Garden, Painswick, on an early March morning when there had been the first flurry of winter snow of  2012. The morning was very still and calm creating a perfect reflection in the lake. The low level light filtering through the orchard and catching the Exedra and Red house added to the atmosphere.

The image was converted to black and white as the Rococo garden has a timeless quality which I wanted to capture.

In Lightroom 3 the image was converted to black and white. Then the image was split toned with warmth in the highlights and coolness in the shadows to give it the feel of an old Kentmere paper image. Kentona paper was one of my favourite old photographic papers in the days when I wet processed black and white images as it had a lovely warm tone to it.

Stephen Studd Photography;

International Garden Photographer of the Year competition;

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Articles for Landscape Juice

Last week I was approached by Carol Miers who is a journalist for Landscape Juice to write an article on the things we need to do in those winter months such as tweaking our websites. Those things we can put off and procrastinate about.

 In the articles in Landscape Juice I mentioned about captioning images for better SEO placement. Search engines won`t be able to find images unless they are captioned.

I would like to show two examples. The first image has not been captioned it just has the file number on. Hover your mouse over the image and all you will see is _R4D5147.jpg. This is not very handy for search engines to find the content of the image.

This second image is captioned and in WordPress the following have been filled in;

Title; Watering can covered in snow, winter. (Now hover the mouse over the image to see the title, this image can now be found by search engines)

Alternative Text; Watering can covered in snow, winter, photography by Stephen Studd

Caption; This is the wording that you will see below the image on the page.

Description; A description of the image.

Watering can in snow

Watering can covered in snow, winter

Also Carol asked me about advice on getting the most out of camera phones. I have to admit that in my profession I do use top end Canon digital cameras, however I do play around with my camera phone and use this more for a journal of ideas and details that interest me.

The walk to work

The walk to work

It is also useful for taking images of scenes that aren`t quite right to take at the time on my pro camera but great for my phone as a reference.

This year at the Tatton Park flower show I really liked the show garden designed by Sue Beesley of Bluebell Cottage Gardens. The planting and colour combinations I was really drawn to. This was a 5 day shoot for me so I had plenty of time to observe when the light was best at certain gardens. The Echinacea “Green Envy” amongst the grasses looked really strong. The image below is my reference shot on my camera phone.

"Grasses with Grace", Awarded Gold Medal, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire 2011, Designed by Sue Beesly, Bluebell Cottage Gardens & Nursery

Sue Beesley Garden "Grasses with Grace" Awarded Gold

 This was great as a reference and with the use of a compass to see where sunrise and sunset would happen, I was blessed on a later day with low level sunset light from behind the flowers to capture this shot on my Canon.

"Grasses with Grace", Awarded Gold Medal, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire 2011, Designed by Sue Beesly, Bluebell Cottage Gardens & Nursery

Echinacea "Green Envy", Sue Beesley Gold medal Garden, Grasses with Grace at Tatton 2011

 On the same shoot at Tatton Park I really liked the show garden designed by Gary Hillery, Ken Walton, Finchale Training College, which won a Gold. When I first got to this garden late on the first day I was looking for views. On my cameraphone I took the first shot as a reference.

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park,

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park,

 This second shot is the same view, but given an aged feel to it in Lightroom 3, which the garden purveyed. There are also lots of apps which could be used.

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal

Finally the image below I didn`t have my camera with me, but captured this image of these Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) on my phone. In Lightroom 3 I altered the image to show how easy it is to change the feel of a photograph.

Dicentra, Bleeding Heart

Dicentra, Bleeding Heart

 The link to the articles in Landscape Juice;

Have fun creating images whichever way you choose!

I am leading some Garden and Flower photography workshops in 2012, details can be found on my website

In 2012 I will also be blogging about my allotment through the months and seasons, with photography taken on site, hope you can join me.


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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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In the studio with Pumpkins, tethered capture and Lightroom 3


So the start of 2011 sees me in the studio photographing pumpkins for  “20 Amazing Plants and Their Practical Uses” book by Rachel Corby.

All the outdoor shots were completed before Christmas with just the interior studio shots left to complete.

Lady Godiva Pumpkin showing naked seeds

Lady Godiva Pumpkin showing naked seeds

These pumpkins are Lady Godivas grown on my allotment last year, which were grown particularly for their seed. Had a really good year for growing pumpkins about 12 in all and they have stored really well. The seeds in these pumpkins are “naked” ie no outer husk, so they can be dried and eaten without having to shell them.

Elinchrom lights were used for this shoot, with tethered capture straight in to Lightroom 3. Its amazing how new software comes into your digital workflow and you wonder how did I work without this? I would say Lightroom 3 is now the major programme for my workflow along with the trusty old workhorse Photoshop CS5.

As most of my work is outdoor/location based it was great to use tethered capture in the studio for this shot, loving Lightroom 3!

Another pumpkin recipe for dinner! (only 6 more pumpkins to get through)