Case Study: The Flower Shot

There’s this phase that just about every starting photographer I ever met got into: taking photos of flowers — lots of them. What makes it even more amusing is that beginners always think their shots are hot stuff, even if they aren’t!

I was certainly no exception. I dug up one of the oldest ones I kept in my archives:


I just got my first decent digital camera — a Canon Powershot A70 back in 2003. My not deleting this image implies that at some point, I thought this was one of the best things ever. But looking at it now, ughhh. Actually, I can barely even look at it. Can anyone explain why I think it’s bad?

The more experience you get, the more you realize that you really aren’t as good as you thought you were when you excitedly started taking these pictures and see yourself improve after just a few tries.


Luckily for me, I did see some real improvement over the years. The picture above showed promise and is leaps and bounds better than the previous picture. I thought it was good back then, but now, I can’t help but think that unusually long tendril is a major distraction to the frame.

The funny thing is, the better I got at it, the less interested I became with flower shots. Now, I don’t really avoid taking flower pictures like the plague. It’s just that I try to be more creative with it. Unless I’m actually documenting flowers for an article or something, I don’t want to restrict myself by always letting it be the dominant, if not sole piece up front.

Don’t think that I’m discouraging you to take flower shots (although it would be kind of you if you did it in moderation). The thing is, this really applies to any subject you can think of. Be more conscious of design elements and principles when looking at any scene and you’ll be able to come up with so many ways to compose your subject.