Join Caroline Jensen as she walks you through her journey into flower/nature/macro photography. Find out how you can benefit from this genre of photography too!
Hello everyone. My name is Caroline Jensen, and this is photos in the garden. I'm very excited today to have this podcast to talk to you about my, why the why behind. Floral photography. You know, you go onto Instagram, flicker, all the places online, and you see a lot of people photograph flowers. Why do they do that? What is the reason behind it? Well, I personally believe that people are hardwired to enjoy flowers. I think from the beginning of time, people have loved flowers and they have cared for flowers, nurtured them, and they have grown gardens. It is all a part of who we are deep down. And this was something that I came to discover through kind of a meandering path. I wasn't a person who set out to be a flower photographer, as many people. they start with photography because they have a garden and they want to record it and they want to share the beauty of what they have helped create with other people. I was a little different. I started out with photography as a way to record my family. I wanted to have a camera. I wanted to be able to take those beautiful pictures with the shallow depth of field behind. I knew none of these terms. I didn't understand exactly what I wanted to create, but I knew. I would know it when I saw it, I continued on my journey. This was about oh, 2008. I was actually using a cannon digital elf, which had, I think one megapixel, maybe 1.5 megapixels. And I was trying to shoot that in manual. Unfortunately for my children, they kind of were brought up in that. What do you call it? The, the interim period between film photography and digital being any good So a lot of the pictures that I have from their childhood are pretty terrible. I wanted to take better pictures. So I bugged my husband for a long. We couldn't really afford it. We were active duty military moving every five minutes. It seemed. And we just had a lot of expenses. So when I asked him for a camera, I didn't really expect much, but he went out and he sold his motorcycle, unbeknownst to me and gave me the money and said, go buy yourself a camera and a lens. I didn't even know what I needed. I didn't even really know what I wanted. Thus started my photography journey. I grabbed the first camera that looked somewhat decent, I think at best buy or Costco, somewhere like that. And I said to. And shortly, I learned that I really liked shallow depth, the field and that the kit lens wasn't going to do me any, any favors. I learned a lot. And my point of reference for what I wanted was actually through paintings, my children and I studied paintings every single week. And I wanted to learn how to reverse engineer. The, the images that made me go, oh, I love this. And turn it into a photograph because I had no real photographic skills. I didn't really understand depth the field aperture, shutter speed. Any of that? I just would ask questions. Like I like this painting. How do I recreate this light for myself through my camera? Some helpful photographer friends would help me and say, well, you might have to use a tripod for this. This might have to be a long exposure. You might need to have a different lens for this. And, and so I could carried on learning bits and pieces and putting them all together until I was a quote unquote photographer. And I did pretty good. I took a lot of images. Ended up teaching classes on portraiture and, and, and many topics. And I continued to do that to this day, but there was some point along the journey where my children were just not interested in the camera anymore. And I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't really consider myself a documentarian or a documentary photographer. I was interested in my kids, but really not interested in telling many other stories. So I wasn't sure where I fit. So I went back to what I know and love and do best. I studied art and I realized how much I love still life photography. I like the still life photography, because it reminds me of the paintings that I loved so much, but I still wasn't quite there. So I went back to the drawing board and St. Started to study art again. I would. Check out art books. I would buy art books. I would look online. I would look on at museums and I started to see a pattern in the things that I loved, the things that made me step closer, want to linger. And I just made a note of that. I really like this particular painter. I like this particular era. I like this particular style. And so then I tried again to reverse engineer it. TIMI photo. Well, all of that's well and good, but is it really a why for everyone? Why might you want to pick up a camera and photograph flowers? Well, let me tell you something about myself and about many others. There's something that has been a common thread through many people. Who've taken my workshops. Unfortunately, a lot of people have hard life circumstances and they go through hard times and they might take a workshop. Sometimes one that helps to dig deeper into who they are, you know, helping them to discover where they want. They've had a hard time of it and they're looking to their camera as a means to escape. Now, we all do that. That's the heart and soul of why anybody binge watches, Netflix or Amazon prime. We want to get out of our own head and being a photographer and photographing nature in particular has such a healing and therapeutic effect on our. Flowers in particular are not the easiest subjects. They can be quite difficult to photograph and being involved with them, forces your brain to be completely singular in its action. It's really hard to multitask when you're photographing flowers. now that may not be the case if you're using your phone and it has auto focus and you're just tapping the screen. But when you're really trying to tell the story of a flower, when you're really trying to understand the best way to show this flower in the most, in the most attractive way, it can be all consuming. I used to do this by accident. You know, I'd have a really bad day and maybe I just didn't wanna be around people. I wanted to just run away. So I would take my camera. It was my safety net. My excuse. I'm gonna take my camera and I'm just gonna go outside for a. I would say, and I would run out to the field and just plunk myself down amongst the Clover and dandy Lyons and little violets and whatever else happened to be out there. And I would lay on the grass of my tummy down and I would use my macro lens and photograph these tiny little weedy flowers for hours. It wasn't even about getting the best shot. It was just the process. The thing about photographing flowers is it's a joy of the journey. There there's a lot of times where you're trying to get that end result. You want the, the, the picture that's just perfect. And I am kind of that way with still life photography, but when it comes to shooting in nature, it's all about experiencing nature. There might be mosquitoes. I know I've been run inside many a time with that. I've even gone so far as to wear a, a B suit when I've been shooting, when the mosquitoes were just so terrible. But whatever, the reason I still kept going, whatever the excuse, I still kept running out to the field and I'm not somebody who loves bugs, particularly. I don't like to get stung and things like that or NATS or you name it. But. There's something so healing about that process? Well, that's where I started and I just noticed that I kept doing it. I could be doing a project for any number of things. I've done food, photography, portraiture, and I could be working on a very intensive project, but I would still take my camera outside and photograph leaves. Birds bees, butterflies, pets, whatever happened to be out there. And I realized that the people who took my workshops and myself, we sought out nature as a way to recharge as a way to calm down. And I, I don't have a scientific background, so I can't say for sure, but I fully believe that there's something simmering away when it comes to serotonin and lowering cortisol and all those things. When you're sitting out in. In fact, I believe there's whole books about it from Japan called forest bathing. I think that this is kind of a different, but similar thing. Anyway, my point in this is to say that flower photography is for everyone. I don't really believe there's anybody out in the world anywhere who wouldn't enjoy photographing flowers. now maybe flowers. Aren't your thing. There are so many interesting leaf structures veining. One of my favorite things is to shoot backlight, veining, where you just take a typical leaf on the tree and let the sun pour through it and see all those fine details. I don't care who you are anywhere in the world. I believe that if someone could put a camera in your hand and you could experience what I experience, that you would feel the benefit. and that's what this journey and this podcast is all about. I want to dig into the nitty gritty, how to work with light, how to work with your camera, different lenses, different editing processes. All of those things are to come. at the end of every podcast. I want to give you an assignment, something that you can go out and do or something that you can think about. And today I want you to think about your, why, why do you wanna photograph flowers or on the flip side, why do you not wanna photograph flowers? I have a quick story to tell you, my mother never grew flowers. I did not grow up in a home that had a lot of flowers. My dad didn't grow them either. The, the thing is, is I think it was tied to memories. My grandmother, Hazel died when my mother was 18. And because of that, her connection to her mother, which was largely influenced by flowers was tainted or, or maybe jaded. My grandmother, Hazel had a massive flower garden. She was known for her flower garden. And because of that, I think my mother took a step back and decided that that wasn't something that she wanted in her life because it made her feel bad. Now, I don't know this for sure. My mother's passed on as well, but I can tell you that it skipped a generation. If she genuinely didn't like flowers, I believe that sometimes flowers can be tied to. Events or people that might make us feel melancholy or sad. How often have you thought of a flower and connection with a person it's really a common thing, but whether you love flowers so much right now, or whether flowers make you think of funerals, which can have a very sad effect on your, your desire to work with them. I want to push all of that aside and. Give you the opportunity to think about why you might wanna photograph them. And I'm gonna give you a very practical, very, very practical reason. They are evergreen. Now I don't mean in the sense that they stay alive forever, but as far as your ability to photograph them from the moment, you can pick up a camera as a toddler to the last breath that you take. Taking pictures of flowers is something always accessible and available. There's always a garden in the summer. Or botanical gardens in the winter getting into nature, no matter your location or the season is possible with flowers, even in the dead of winter, when it's 60 below out, people are still having holiday festivities with flowers. We see the point set, as you know, we see the candles and the, and the tablescapes, there's always flowers to be found in every season, no matter how harsh. and because of that, you have this opportunity to make beautiful images almost at any time. We're gonna talk about flowers from the garden. We'll talk about growing flowers in the garden. We'll talk about photographing other things that are found in the garden, like leaves and trees and bushes and all of that. We're gonna talk about photographing bouquet. And seasonal arrangements and how to tackle photographing in a botanical gardens and how to find interesting things to photograph right under your nose that you may not even know is there. But for today, your assignment is to think about your why or your why not and figure out what you want to learn more of. You can always contact me on my website, Caroline jensen.com or you can join me in my photography community called the creative photography network. That's firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't wait to talk to you again. Bye.