• A field of lupine, which blooms for about two weeks in June. Ron Bowman / For the Monitor

For the Monitor
Published: 6/5/2021 8:53:57 PM

Truth be told, most of us are enamored with the beauty of flowers, plants, and trees. Especially those in bloom. So how do you photograph them to bring out their true beauty? That is what we are going to find out.

First, ask yourself, are these my own flowers/plants, or am I taking photos at a nursery, flower show or a popular garden? Next, are these flowers indoors or outdoors? Depending on the answers to these questions will determine how much you can manipulate the flowers to minimize background distractions and adjust the lighting.

As you know, in New Hampshire, most flowers and plants start blooming sometime in May, so obviously May – October is the best time of the year. Keep in mind, some are seasonal, like the flowering lupine, which only bloom for about two weeks, starting in mid-June.

If your flowers and plants are indoors, then your best option is to move them near a large window for lighting. I also recommend using a large piece of black, or neutral color poster board, placed behind the flowers/plants to eliminate any background distractions. You can experiment with different color posterboard, but I lean toward black or white. If the flowers and plants are outdoors, you can still use the posterboard for the background. If that isn’t possible, then move around while examining the background so that you can position yourself to minimize distracting background objects.

If outdoors, keep in mind that the best lighting will often be on a cloudy or overcast day, when the light is more diffused. If you are shooting with a digital camera, I would recommend using your scene-setting for flowers, or if you prefer more control, shoot in aperture mode, and use a large aperture opening like f4 – f5.6. These larger lens openings will help minimize background distractions due to the reduction in the depth of field.

If you are photographing trees, then the best times include May through October. In the spring, you will be able to capture new buds and blooms and in October, the Granite State’s colorful foliage. Try using the vertical format on your camera or phone when photographing trees. Also, just like flowers and plants, the best outdoor lighting is on cloudy or overcast days. However, on sunny days, early morning or late day sun will provide warmer and softer light than mid-day.

Places you may want to visit in New Hampshire include nurseries, flower shows, or the following popular garden locations: Sugar Hill in the town of Sugar Hill to capture Lupine in mid-June, Tarbin Gardens in Franklin, Bedrock Gardens in Lee, Fuller Gardens in North Hampton, the John Hay Estate at the Fells in Newbury, Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam, Saint Gaudens Historic Site in Cornish and the Botanical Gardens at Canterbury Shaker Village.

Ron Bowman is a New Hampshire photographer, with more 50 years of experience photographing weddings, real estate, and New England landscapes. He is a member of the Lakes Region Art Association and can be reached at You can also view his work at the Lakes Region Art Gallery located in the Tanger Outlets in Tilton and on his website

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