Flowers. Ugh. Lately, I’ve been finding myself spending time in conservatories and gardens. While this may not seem unusual to you, it’s not typically where I go when I want to get out with my camera.

I have nothing against flowers or floral photography. It’s just not my thing. It never has been. 

How photographing flowers has helped me

There are several things that photographing subjects and locations you don’t usually photograph can help you learn more about. Light, shadows, shapes and colors are the big four in my book. Sure, you are already aware of these, but when you are focused on creating images that are different from what you tend to shoot, you pay more attention to these details.

You’re likely to spend a little more time composing your shots and watching where the light and shadows are. It may not come quite so naturally when it’s a subject outside of your interest or comfort zone. You work a little harder to create interest for yourself which in turn helps you to create a more interesting image.

I couldn’t resist these hats at the tulip festival.

Any day with your camera is a good day

Going to places like conservatories and gardens just gets me out of the house. It allows me somewhere else to be with my camera. Step away from your desk and monitor. Maybe it’s not quite as immersive in nature as heading to a forest preserve but it’s still nature.

Grabbing the camera and only one lens is how I approach these little adventures. Because I’m not overly interested in the subject, using just one lens makes it a little more of a challenge. This also helps me stay focused on figuring out the best way to shoot the subject. My lens of choice is the Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens.

Focus on the details, compose outside of the norm

Not always able to go where I want

Like many of you, travel is a big part of my photography. Well, we all know how this past year has gone as far as travel goes. Nowhere. It and we went nowhere. As the area I live in has opened up more and more the last few months, I’ve been exploring places that are new to me with an old favorite or two thrown in.

While we love to travel and experience other places and cultures, we tend to forget all of the amazing places we have nearby. Head over to Google and do a search for what is in an hour’s drive. I bet you’ll be surprised by what you find and you’ll likely find places you didn’t even know existed. Yay, new photography opportunities without having to deal with the airport.

Learn new techniques 

Part of improving your own photography is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Trying things you don’t normally try. It all adds to your experience and will also help you hone in on what it is you love to photograph.

Besides learning more about the light, shadows, shapes and colors I mentioned above, I tend to take these images of flowers less seriously than I do my architectural shots. Why? Because I know they won’t likely be going into my portfolio or be put into my possible gallery exhibit folders. This allows me to have free reign to play with them.


You know we all have that app that we bought and never use, now’s the time to experiment and play with it. If you are determined to learn Photoshop, Luminar AI or any of the programs out there just to see what their capabilities are, do it with these types of images.

Taking my floral images into something like Topaz Labs Texture effects and creating painterly and artsy photos is not something I would do with my architectural images. Not that I haven’t or couldn’t but it doesn’t tend to fit with the style of editing I choose to represent the majority of my work. 30-day free trials for apps and software are a great way to experiment. 

Wildflower by Jerry Peart

Flowers are still not my thing

This all made me think about when I started on my photography journey as a child. If I go back through those old photos, there are very few floral images. Even then, I was all about travel and architecture.

How about you? Is there a subject you really have zero interest in photographing? What sort of challenges would you face if you choose to take that subject on? Would it push you to think and photograph differently? See differently? I think it would. I’d love to hear about it and see what you end up creating.