Flower photography in the late summer


Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. 1/1000. f/3.2. ISO 320. Filters applied in PSE.

On a very sunny Tuesday in mid-September I headed off to Bluebell Cottage Gardens for the last flower photography course for this year. It made a change to be 100% confident in the weather forecast and not be mentally preparing a plan B in case it poured down. The sunshine was streaming into the tea rooms as I set the room up and the flowers in the beds outside positively glowed.

I run three courses per year at Bluebell Cottage Gardens, in April, June and September and it’s amazing seeing the transformation through the seasons. Towards the end of April the flowerbeds are all neat, the grasses are neat, low clumps and the stars of the show are tulips and allium. In June the garden is luscious with colour and bees and butterflies are alighting on flowers bursting with pollen. By mid September there’s a definite change afoot, almost a faded glory, but no less photogenic. Tall grasses make a fabulous textured backdrop for brown seed heads, especially if you shoot wide open to blur the grasses.


Sigma 105mm macro lens. 1/2500. f/2.8. ISO 160. Edited with PSE, converted into B&W and filter applied.

The light has a different quality in September, softer and kinder, even early afternoon and I showed the course attendees how to take advantage of it, shooting flowers that were backlit. I love images like this where the light, colours and plant structures all fall into place and using large apertures adds depth and that dreamy, buttery, artistic look. Really evocative of our indian summer.


Canon 50mm f/1.4. 1/5000. f/2. ISO 320. Filters applied in PSE.


Canon 50mm prime lens. 1/5000. f/2. ISO 320. Filters applied in PSE.


Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens. 1/160. f/3.2. ISO 160. Filters applied in PSE.

Flowers hold their beauty even when they are fading and there’s still so much to photograph relatively late in the season. Seed heads, rotting or fallen fruit all give a sense of time and the season and when photographed up close, they reveal all sorts of fascinating details. You can see more images from the gardens on Pinterest.

A flower photography course at Bluebell Cottage Gardens wouldn’t be complete without homemade cake, hens and getting damp knees from kneeling down!


At the end of a very enjoyable day, we sit drinking a final cup of tea, eating aforementioned cake and reviewing everyone’s photographs. It’s the most enjoyable part of the day for me, when I get to see the progress people have made and how much their confidence has grown.

Course dates for 2015 will be available in January. I will also be adding a number of other flower photography courses so if you would like to receive details please sign up for the email newsletters. In the meantime, take a look at some of the other blog posts on Flower Photography for lots of tips and inspiration.

Did you like this blog post or find it useful? If so, please leave a comment, sign up for email reminders at the top of the page or share it with your friends (or even better, all three!!). Thank you – Jane :-)

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2 Responses to Flower photography in the late summer

  1. Annette September 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    I love the last photo of the seedhead – I think it may be echinacea? It is so sharp so I guess there wasn’t much wind? I really enjoy taking macro photos – it is opening up a whole new world. It is incredible the detail that cameras can pick up, especially when you magnify the image further afterwards. Good to have discovered your site.

    • Jane Burkinshaw September 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      Thanks Annette. Hope you continue to find it useful. The seed head is echinacea and I love macro best of all.

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