trees seen through a sunlit haze beyond a pergola and deck
Photo: Matthew Benson
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2. Shoot into the Sun

Taking family snapshots, you've probably had your subjects squint into the sun to avoid shadows on their faces. For great garden photographs, it's just the opposite. "The most important change you can make to improve your garden photography is to learn to shoot into the light," Benson says, because backlighting brings out details, emphasizes shapes, and makes everything seem alive. Position yourself so that beds, borders, and petals are between you and the sun. You'll need to overrule the automatic exposure control on your camera, though, and set the shutter speed to match the light on the plants, not the sky. If your camera has a program mode, use that. If not, you might be able to focus on a dark area, depress the shutter halfway to lock in the exposure reading, then move the camera (without lifting your finger) to frame the shot you want before pressing down the shutter the rest of the way.
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