It’s the social media hit of a generation as #plantsofinstagram attracts millions of followers with millennials falling head over heels for the not-so-humble houseplant.
Now the official photographer for this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival, in association with Great Little Breaks, has come up with ten top tips to get the best from your flora as you put it in the frame.
It comes as show organisers reveal this year’s theme for the event running from May 9-12 is ‘Through a Lens’. Plans are also in the pipeline for Instagram friendly points throughout the showground situated at the foot of the picturesque Malvern Hills.
Stuart Purfield, who has been photographing show gardens and specialist nursery exhibitors in stunning style for more than ten years, now gives his lowdown on how to capture that flawless Instagram snap.
And top of the list is to ensure the plant is the star and as with all celebrities look to create the perfect lighting and style the background.
But Stuart also warns that forgetting the basics such as cleaning fingerprints off the lens and de-cluttering the surroundings could ruin the most effective staging.
“Flora is well known for its shades of colour and textured surfaces, which won’t be precise in your photo if thwarted by a fingerprint or two. Therefore, first and foremost, clean your lens!” said Stuart.
And clear up your temporary studio too, he suggests.
“When photographing at home, move the focus of your photo to a less cluttered area or remove any distractions from the focal point.”
Now that most social media pictures are taken on a phone Stuart also has some recommendations for getting the best from your device’s camera. For starters making sure your stance is solid and holding it steady.
“With a camera I would use a tripod but it is equally important to keep your phone steady. When photographing close-ups, a tripod is a must. It is possible to get a tripod attachment that can be used with your smartphone. This may initially look a bit unusual, but you will achieve fantastic shots.
“Holding your arms outstretched or far away from your core can make the camera sway. Move your elbows into your sides to give extra stability.”
Stuart’s other tips include letting the elements shine through – don’t even let rain stop the photo shoot. Use it for balcony shots and window sills and let raindrops drip from your plant.
“Equally, when the sun is shining, use the reflections created in water features or off shiny surfaces to enhance or amplify the depth in your photo.”
Social media snappers should also play with angles together with the light and use a more is more approach.
“Plants can be photographed from underneath or side on to capture a point of view that is different from what we see from a standing perspective,” added Stuart.
“Why not try to backlight flowers late in the day which will cast a nice warm glow as well as lighting your flowers from behind. Petals are translucent and this effect will make them appear to glow.
“Consider where the sun is before snapping. Is the sun behind the flower? This can create great patterns through the leaves and flowers. Are the shadows too strong? Maybe use a piece of white card to reflect or “bounce” the light back into the flower to reduce shadows.”
“Even though your smartphone might advertise that it is great in low light, light is essential to get the best photo of any subject. And natural light is your most practical everyday accessory for this.”
Houseplants are a firm Instagram trend with health-conscious youngsters contributing 2.2million posts of trailing greenery to the hashtag #plantsofinstagram
Seen by many as the official start of spring, the RHS Malvern Spring Festival attracts more than 100,000 people annually. Visitors flock to see its inspirational show gardens and beautiful Floral Marquee, get top tips from the experts and enjoy the best food and drink that Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire has to offer.
Advance tickets now on sale, with prices starting at just £19 for RHS and Three Counties members, or £21 for the general public. Children under 16 go free. Group tickets are also available.