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Getting gardens photographed

Getting gardens photographed

Photo: Charlie Hopkinson

Charlotte Rowe’s gardens are often photographed and feature in magazines and books. She explains the benefits of calling in the experts

It really is worth getting a garden photographed professionally. When I trained, Clive Nichols gave a talk on garden photography. After I graduated, I contacted him about my gardens – the shots still appear in magazines and books today, more than 10 years later.

Choose a photographer that specialises in gardens. When I started out, there were only a few good garden photographers. Now there are lots. In the past I have worked with Clive Nichols, Marianne Majerus and Marcus Harpur. When I think a garden is ready, I’ll invite one of them to take a look.

Photographers own the shots. They will let you use the images for your portfolio and website but not for other publicity. I am careful never to flout that.

Make sure a garden is ready to photograph. Town gardens are fairly ‘instant’, but country gardens take a while to mature. We always tidy the garden, and someone from the team is usually there on the day to clear fallen leaves.

Garden photography can take a long time, so patience is needed. Gardens can only be photographed very early in the morning or in the evening – and never between 10am and 3pm, as the light is too harsh. Night shots are taken at dusk – there’s a half-hour window known as the ‘blue moment’ to get decent shots.

Garden owners are usually flattered to have their garden photographed. The shots are often anonymous. Getting a garden photographed is a great marketing opportunity. I’ve got a PR background, and I know the value of good pictures. People say that I’m good at getting published, but I don’t approach publications – they come to me. I’m amazed that more designers don’t do it.

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