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Snap happy: Tips for capturing the best photos at Yorkshire Lavender.

It's so frustrating. You find the perfect spot, and the perfect moment when there's no-one around. You pose up a storm (or encourage someone else to) and feel sure you've snapped a photo that's totally captured the moment.

And then you look back later and see that the subject has their eyes closed. The shadows are in all the wrong places and everything is out of focus. By then, of course, the moment's gone, you're miles away and the weather's changed!

Every season, thousands of visitors flock to see our gardens in full bloom. And a big part of making memories to cherish are the photos you take on the day. While cameras have certainly evolved, and the beautiful scenery does a lot of the hard work, there's still plenty of tips and tricks you can try to make the most of your photo opportunity.

We know how much your pictures mean to you when you're looking back at your adventures, so we asked professional photographer Gary Walsh to share some of the small things you can do to make a big change to the quality of your photos.

Don't let the weather put you off!

"Stop worrying about the weather and embrace every different forecast as a change in how you light your photographs. A sunny day will produce deep saturated colours and an overcast day will give you more muted, almost watercolour, tones. You could even be faced with both lighting conditions on the same day! As a photographer, having the ability to change your mindset based on the lighting conditions is so liberating (and will help avoid the disappointment of waiting for the perfect day)."

You don't need a super-fancy camera

"I’m a 'learn-by-my-mistakes' type of photographer but, more importantly, I’m also a 'stay curious' thinker. Some people think that owning the biggest and best camera will instantly make them more creative, I think it’s more important to find out how far you can push the boundaries of the camera you own already. This includes your smartphone, if that’s what you’re taking photographs with.

Most modern cameras work very well in 'point and shoot' mode. This frees you up to think about composition while your camera does the technical work. But when you start really pushing your camera, it can go one of two ways. Either you’ll get frustrated and stop enjoying taking photos or you’ll dig deep and ask yourself why something hasn’t worked. (Better still you can ask Google!) For example, if your camera can’t focus on close-up details, stop getting so close because your pictures will always be soft and mushy. This is when you’ll find out if you have a macro facility on your camera and if you have, you can now take in-focus close-ups."  

Keep the composition in mind

"Composition rules are meant to be broken, but if you’re just starting out I’d suggest you learn the rule of thirds - I promise that once you’re aware of it, you’ll see it used by most professional photographers. Have a look through a landscape photography book for starters. If you split the scene into thirds, you’ll notice the main subject will be offset, either horizontally or vertically in a third of the frame. If you can learn how to do this instinctively, your photography is definitely going to improve."

And have fun!

"Taking portraits is how I make my living and if I could share one top portrait tip with you it would be: 'stop faffing with your camera!' As soon as you’ve decided on your location you now need to engage with your subject and make the whole experience enjoyable for everyone."

Fancy trying some of these tricks for yourself this season? The lavender will be at it's best from mid July into August so don't miss the chance to capture some fabulous photos.

Prefer to leave it to the professionals? Check out Gary's stunning portfolio and find out more about his photoshoots.


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