With any luck this might be the time of year to get outside into the garden in some good weather and at a time when there is plenty of colours about so involving that in your pictures should be on the agenda. If you have plenty of blooms their nectar will attract insects and butterflies are one of our most popular subjects. But this is in itself a problem because it means you have to try very hard to do something new, something that will make your photo stand out – everyone does the Red Admiral on the Buddleia. Shooting through foliage with lots of out of focus background and foreground can be a good way of focusing on the sharp subject especially if that foliage is colourful flowers, you will have to try to find a ‘hole’ to peep through but in the digital age you can take loads of snaps and see what works. If your camera is a compact and will not focus that close, don’t worry because you can take the picture from further away and then ‘crop in’ when it's printed. Other things you could think about are looking at the subjects head on, making them into silhouettes or slow exposures so their wings are slightly blurred.
The garden pond will also be a busy place in the summer, dragon and damsel flies, frogs, toads, all the water bugs and lots of thirsty visitors – its sure to be a hotbed of activity. Two things ; try lying down and waiting to see what turns up , get comfortable on a plastic sheet with a cushion and stay still . Soon everything will settle down and begin to ignore you and the lower angle will make your photos look much more natural. Secondly, you could try erecting a hide! This doesn’t need to be posh or permanent, a tent can easily be adapted or a frame made to cover with an old ground sheet, but it will give you a chance to get closer to any birds that come to drink or bathe.
Cats and Dogs love the garden in summer too and if you watch them you will soon see where their favourite spots for sunbathing are. Now it could be that these are not the prettiest part of your space so over a few days try ‘dressing the set’ by moving ‘props’ in to improve the potential. Flower pots, and old watering can, a planter, even a favourite gnome! Then wait for them to get settled and casually amble into a position you have previously marked and . . . snap! I know sneaking up on slumbering pets may sound a bit silly but from my experience getting a good picture of your best friend can be more difficult than getting one of a Lion or Tiger !