How to photograph vegetables in the garden

Pumpkin blossom.

Taking pictures of vegetables plants in your garden serves as a marker for successful gardening moments to add to your garden journal or email to friends. I use a Cannon PowerShot to capture pictures of garden vegetables, but any digital camera will do. Follow these tips to achieve the best images captured in anyone’s vegetable garden.

Holding the camera
Starting with the basics, the typical advice is to hold the camera steady, which reduces blur. Grasp the camera with your right hand so your right index finger hovers comfortably over the shutter button. Rest the camera on your left hand. If your camera has a lens that extends, your left hand should hold the camera from the bottom of the lens. The result is that you are holding the camera horizontally with your left hand and vertically with your right hand. If you are using a flip out viewer to take a picture from a unique angle, adjust your grasp to hold the camera both horizontally and vertically. Using a tripod is an option to consider if you find your images turnout blurry.

Zucchini with bloom attached
Camera settings
For optimal clarity on images that may end up being cropped, set the camera to a minimum of A4 (8 1/2 by 11). A3 or A2 will provide even more clarity with their ever-increasing pixels. Keep in mind as the number of pixels grow, so does the size of the image. Also, choose the Foliage setting on the camera, if an option.

Ready for close-up
Plants photograph best when they are hydrated, which is in early morning. Get close to the plant, choosing an area of particular interest. That may be a unique leaf, bloom or vegetable. Insects flying near or landing on plants are also good candidates for pictures. I like to use the autofocus to hone in on an image. Locate the camera as close to parallel to the object as you can. That may require kneeling or lying on the group. To show proportion, consider watering the plant’s foliage to create water drops.

What you see is what you get
Study the image in the viewfinder. Look for obstacles like weeds or wilted areas. Pluck out unwanted obstacles so the view is exclusively of the area of plant you want to capture for posterity. Also look for shadows on the plant, which may require moving or waiting until later (or earlier) in the day to capture the shot. Retake the picture from slightly different angles such as a few inches up, down, right or left. You may choose to retake the shots where there is more or less sunlight just to see the effect that light has on the image. Utilize the zoom feature to capture close-up detail.