close icon
leaf icon
leaf icon
leaf icon
calendar icon
Gardens To Visit
caret icon
Visit a PHS garden or landscape to help build stronger social connections with your community.
For Neighborhoods
caret icon
Explore programs that create healthy, livable environments and increase access to fresh food.
For Gardeners
caret icon
Engage with PHS on gardening, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.
About Us
caret icon
Get to know our story, become a part of our staff, or see what is in the news with PHS.
The Flower Show

How to Best Capture Your Garden for the PHS Gardening Contest

June 17, 2020

leaf icon phs programs

leaf icon gardening

resized photography for 6 17 20

For the first time, our PHS Gardening Contest will be completely virtual! This means all submissions and judging will be conducted entirely online through Contestants will submit photos of their garden and answer an online questionnaire for judges to decide scores in these five areas:

  • Aesthetic appeal including beauty, creativity, and effective design
  • Plant Health & Production
  • Sustainability Practices & Resourcefulness
  • Habitat for Beneficial Wildlife Including Pollinators
  • Connections to Family/Neighborhood/Community

Each garden, undoubtedly, has unique traits but a great photo this year could be the difference between finishing as a garden of distinction, a blue ribbon, or a participation award.

Debbie Laverell, Vice-Chair of Photography for the Philadelphia Flower Show and GCA's Focus Photography Editor, gave a recent presentation with the best ways to take photos of your garden. She recommended proper planning and preparation by studying good gardening photographs, visualizing how you want to capture your garden (thinking about how you want the photo to look before the photo session), learning the basic rules of composition, and taking more photos than you need. Here are the five elements of a great photograph according to Laverell:

  • Lighting
  • Color
  • Telling a story
  • Correct composition
  • Distance to subject

“The most important things are good composition and lighting,” Laverell says. “The best time of day to take photos is in the early morning or late afternoon. The worst time is midday.” If you can master these parts of photography, Laverell feels you’re on your way to taking some great gardening photos.

Debbie’s online webinar and other photography webinars are available through PHS below. Please note that passwords must be typed (not copy and pasted) and are case sensitive.

PHS Post Processing Garden Photos, Recorded by PHS  June 10, 2020, 
Access Password: 7x+!!ir$ 

Tips for Photographing Your Indoor Garden (Interior Plantscapes), Recorded by PHS May 29, 2020, Access Password: 5O$Q9l.@

Tips for Photographing Your Outdoor Garden, Recorded by PHS May 26, 2020, 
Access Password: 2s?4=77*

Registration for the 2020 PHS Gardening Contest ends Monday, June 22, and it's free to enter!