Garden Photo Tips: Smart Phones

If you have a smart phone and you like to garden, you should be taking pictures with your phone - yes, your phone - every day.

If you have a smart phone and you like to garden, you should be taking pictures with your phone—yes, your phone—every day.

Why? You won’t believe how much fun it is capturing your plants on film, especially when you use photo-enhancing apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic.

These apps make even mediocre photos look like sublime works of art. They’re the push-up bras, the fake eyelashes, the Spanx of amateur photographers.

With so many phone-based photo-editing tools and funky filters now available, gardeners are having more fun than they ever thought possible with their plants and phones—me included.

I like experimenting with the filters, turning them on and off, comparing the results and then trying to go out the next day for better shots. And I don’t have to download my pictures or sit tediously editing at my desktop computer after a long day at a computer. I just lie in bed at night, editing and posting iPhone photos from my own garden. And Instagram allows me to post simultaneously to various platforms, including my personal Facebook page, at the same time. See? It’s so efficient!

And when I snap a really pretty shot and don’t need to use a light-enhancing or image-boosting filter ('Love & Peace' rose, above), I feel pretty cool. And I add the hashtag #nofilter with a sense of pride!

I admit using light-enhancing filters on Instagram (like I did on the Indigo Sun tomato, above) is a bit inauthentic. But, I figure, those filters are like training wheels for those of us trying to find our eye, trying to work on basics and just have fun, too. (And, we all know pros are a filter happy bunch, too!)

Today I’m headed to the Garden Writers Association annual symposium in Quebec City, Canada. I’ll be attending a talk by one of Gardening How-To’s freelance photographers—Mark Turner. Its title: “An Eye for i: Phone Photos With Power.” It’s about how to “get the most out of your phone camera” and how to “enhance your photos using apps like Camera+ and SnapSeed before sharing them on your blog or Facebook page.”

“Photo basics, like composition and seeing the light, matter.”


“So does a playful spirit and the freedom to experiment.”


Cool, right?

If you haven’t tried combining your phone, love of gardening and Instagram (or similar), get out there. In following other photographers on Instagram, you’ll also be exposed to a new world of amateur and pro work. And it’s gorgeous.