Many people around the world are experiencing a drastic lifestyle shift, working from home during the week (if we're lucky enough to still have jobs) and staying inside on weekends. Sheltering indoors is especially difficult when the world outside is coming alive with the sounds and sights of spring. At least in the northern hemisphere, the weather is getting warmer, the days longer, and plants and flowers are beginning to bloom.
But there’s no reason to miss out on the magic of spring while staying indoors. Just look more closely at the plants in your home. They're emerging from their winter dormancy, growing brighter and stronger with new leaves. It's a good natural reminder that time is moving forward and that even dark times eventually pass.
To help you make the most of a springtime stuck indoors, I’ve put together some tips for how to photograph your own plants.
Find Your Light
Good photographs require good lighting. Natural light is ideal for plant photography; lightbulbs can affect your plants' natural color.
The amount and quality of natural light in your home will depend on the number, size, and directions of your windows. That may seem obvious, but don't forget to consider the time of day. As the sun moves, it will light different areas.
Set the Stage
Once you know where to find your natural light, you can set up the space for your photo. Here are some staging ideas I've used.
Solo: Clear the area of everything, leaving plenty of room for the plant to shine on its own. Getting the whole plant in frame can be a fun way to document its size and shape during this moment of its life. Next year, it may be twice as big!
In Hand: Give your photos a human touch by holding a smaller plant in your hand. It’s an easy way to add a sense of depth and scale to the photo.
In Scene: Dress up your area with personal items and decor. You'll tell a richer story about you and the space.
Regardless of your strategy, it’s important to think about the composition of your photo. Anything you include in frame has the potential to draw someone’s focus, so be aware of what you want people to look at first and longest.
Find New Perspectives
If you take a few photographs and think you’ve shot all you could, think again! Now's the time to rotate the plants or find new angles to shoot from.
Tip: Get low and shoot the underside of your plant’s leaves. When light hits the top of a leaf, it illuminates the inner structure, creating the perfect opportunity to document that often-hidden aspect.
Choose Smart Edits
All good photography is the result of taking a great shot in camera followed by the right amount of digital editing to correct mistakes and emphasize certain qualities. Here are a few concepts to consider as you edit.
Brightness: For a springtime look, keep the exposure up. Bright photos create a sense of freshness and calm and can help the greens of your plants pop.
Texture: Some plants have leaves that look silky smooth, while other plants have leaves that are full of texture and structure. Edit with these types of leaves in mind. For smooth leaves, lower the contrast to create a softer look. For structured leaves, increase sharpening and clarity to emphasize the texture.
Color: Green is a color with many shades. Some leaves have more yellow in them, while others have more blue, red, or orange. Try adjusting your color settings to emphasize the base hues and create different looks. There’s no right or wrong— just have fun producing a colorful photograph. After all, spring is the most colorful season!