Photography Tips for Miniature Gardens and Fairy Gardens

Sometimes a shot that should work, doesn't look right. Here are some tips and ideas to get the most out of your miniature garden or fairy garden photography.

Sometimes a shot that should work, doesn’t look right. Here are some tips and ideas to get the most out of your miniature garden or fairy garden photography.

Photography Tips for Miniature Gardens and Fairy Gardens

Welcome to the dog daze of summah! This time of year often brings fleeting moments of reflection as we see the subtle signs of the changes of the season coming soon. The odd breeze that feels a little cooler, the late summer sunflowers doing their thing or the end-of-summer vegetables suddenly big and ripe, getting ready to fall of the vine. But, alas, let’s not completely pack-in summer just yet, you still have at least one thing to do in your miniature garden or fairy garden before summer ends: document it! Miniature Gardening: Go Ahead, Act Your Shoesize

Different types of gardens, miniature or full-sized, can come into their prime at different times of the year. It’s really dependent upon what you are growing in your miniature garden and where you are growing it, of course. A garden full of miniature and dwarf conifers just may look its best in the middle of winter. If the garden is made of of perennials and ground covers, right now, in the middle of August, may be the peak time for your garden. This year in Seattle, we are in a record drought and we are only watering what is necessary so I plan to photograph this year’s stage later in September. Whatever time that may be for you, remember grab your camera and document it. Gardens grow, plants grow, seasons change – but you’ll have the photo for forever.

Here are some more reasons to convince you to make the effort to photograph your work:

  • Bragging rights
  • You’ll need a reminder in the dead of winter
  • You can make a T-shirt or a mug for yourself, like I did here.
  • And give them as super-easy one-of-a-kind presents for the holidays for unsuspecting family and friends
  • Use the photos for your screen saver or wallpaper for your computer
  • You can start a scrapbook of your progress and show the stages of growth throughout the seasons and the years to add another level to your hobby

Here are some previous links to blogs with more tips and techniques for photographing small scenes:

Lights! Camera! Action! Photographing your Miniature Garden

Photographing Your Miniature Garden or Railroad Garden

And here is a visual essay with some more pointers to help you get the most out of your miniature garden. It’s very similar to getting your own portrait done, make sure all the details are primped and fluffed-up before you preserve your scene for all of eternity.

Establish your shot first, or choose the area that you want to document that has a focal point. In this study, the house and seating area is the focal point.

Click to enlarge the photos:

Cleaning:

Clean up the dead leaves. Carefully trim the dead branches and leaves from the trees and shrubs, pluck the dead leaves from the perennial ground covers. Clean up any debris on the garden "floor" to help un clutter the shot. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Clean up the dead leaves. Carefully trim the dead branches and leaves from the trees and shrubs, pluck the dead leaves from the perennial ground covers. Clean up any debris on the garden “floor” to help un clutter the shot. Work from one side to the other to make sure you get everything, then do it again. (This is what the professionals do, that’s why they get paid the big-bucks.)

Straightening:

You may have to click this photo to enlarge it. Make every accessory and house level to each other and to the garden. In a full-sized garden, the ground is normally level and each surface, or line, is either parallel or perpendicular with the house. You can see how topsy-turvy the scene looks now. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

You may have to click this photo to enlarge it, the lines show how topsy-turvy the scene looks. Make every accessory and house level to each other and to the garden. In a full-sized garden, the ground is normally level and each surface, or line, is either parallel or perpendicular with the house.

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Framing:

Pick your frame. Do you want to use it as a print for your wall? Or for a screensaver? Choose a rectangular orientation. This rectangle could be bigger to capture more of the interesting flora behind and beside the house. Leaving room on the other side of the bridge on the left side, you can include that wonderful trunk of the Pieris japonica 'Little Heath,' or Little Heath Japanese Andromeda. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Pick your frame. Do you want to use it as a print for your wall? Or for a screensaver? Choose a rectangular orientation. This rectangle could be bigger to capture more of the interesting flora behind and beside the house. I would leave more room on the other side of the bridge on the left side too, you can include that wonderful trunk of the Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath,’ or Little Heath Japanese Andromeda with the variegated leaves.

 

A vertical orientation looks great on social media, but, more importantly, it might be a better fit for where you want it framed and hanging in your house. In this frame, there is a bit too much room above the house and the balance is a little disproportionate. The house-scene should be more towards the middle of the shot, or slightly off center for more interest. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

A vertical orientation looks great on social media, but, more importantly, it might be a better fit for where you want it framed and hanging in your house. In this frame, there is a bit too much room above the house and the balance is a little disproportionate. The house-scene should be more towards the middle of the shot, or slightly off center for more interest.

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A square orientation to the frame creates a cosy shot if you want to focus on the house-scene, but, again for this scene, I would pan-out to include the trees and foliage around the house too. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

A square orientation to the frame creates a cosy shot if you want to only focus on the house-scene, but, again for this scene, I would pan-out to include the trees and foliage around the house only because I’ve gone to all the trouble of planting and growing them in.

Perspective:

You have several choices of perspective when photographing your miniature garden or fairy garden. The above photos are from a worm’s-eye-view (or from the fairy-eye’s point of view.) But you can raise the viewpoint up a little to make a squirrel’s-eye-view (Yep, that’s our new technical term for it. Lol!) And, of course, you can do a bird’s eye view and shoot it from above, looking down into the scene but this doesn’t really read well if you have a bunch of trees in the way.

Same scene, different day. By moving the viewpoint up a bit, you may be able to work-around the uneven-ness of the ground if you having trouble getting everything level.  http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Same scene, different day. By moving the viewpoint up and over a bit, you may be able to work-around the uneven-ness of the ground if you having trouble getting everything level.

Take a couple of test shots and load them on your computer or tablet for inspection. If it’s a go, shoot away. Take plenty of photos, you can always delete them but you can’t always recreate them.

Once you capture your great shot, remember to back it up or save it somewhere else just in case. Or, maybe make a T-shirt out of it. Lol!

The fairy houses and accessories in this blog is from our good friends over at Plow & Hearth. Find our bestselling Gardening in Miniature book there too!

For more realistic solutions for your miniature garden or railroad garden, visit your Miniature Garden Center store here.

Like this? Are you serious about miniature gardening? Join us here for your free monthly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. You’ll get a free PDF just for joining us. Sign up here.

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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1 Comment »

  1. Great tips. I love your newsletters.

    Liked by 1 person

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