Recently I did a custom photography workshop for members of the Boca Grand Camera Club at Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota, FL. The theme of the workshop was embracing the gardens but we focused on some specific techniques to make our images more interesting and perhaps a bit more different and creative than the majority of the images we see posted of the gardens. We had a great session. 

Here are a few things we worked on during the workshop at Selby:

1. Neglect the obvious and try to make the ordinary extraordinary as there are over a million images posted on Google alone from Marie Selby Gardens most of which are very similar.

2. Look for opportunities to use light effectively and in an interesting way.

3. Selby is very busy with little “negative space” so shoot wide open or look for opportunities to isolate your primary subject. The inverse of that is to look for subjects which are in a very contextual space and are notably “Selby”.

4. Study all angles of your subject and look for unique angles to highlight your subject in different ways. Don’t forget to look up!

5. You’ll find lots of textures, forms and repeating patterns. Images like this will look equally good in black and white and color so when you are editing try both.

6. Remember the gardens are public and there will be lots of people around so embrace that fact and don’t fight it, look for opportunities.

7. Keep it simple. Be different.

8. Don’t forget the buildings, exhibits and “props” that are all around you.

If you or a group would like a private photography workshop, contact Perry at SRQ Photo School at 941-350-9064 or

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