holt_732-253.tif‘Fill the Frame’ is an ongoing workshop theme and fundamental to good composition.  Premium members have read the lesson in The PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop, Book 1 “Good” Garden Photography.

I well remember the first time I saw culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) flowering in a garden, at Ravenhill Herb Farm in British Columbia.  I could not believe that I had been so unaware of the spectacular flowers, nor could I believe my good luck in finding it in such a fine garden.  I knew I had a great photo opp.


Like many of us when we know a good photo is staring us in the face, I quickly took a picture before the moment passed.  All I got was a snapshot of the garden, not a picture of the flowers.  I had not stopped to analyze what I was seeing and what I wanted to say.

It is not a bad picture, and even has some of the blocks and compositional elements of the tapestry style I like, but it isn’t what I was seeing.

Lesson #1 in all my workshops is to analyze what you are seeing and make the camera say what you want it to say.  Fill the frame with your message.  Don’t waste space in the photo with information that does not tell your story.

The first photo I took is a story about an herb garden not the sage flowers.  The solution was to get closer and fill the frame with the flowers.


But I still need to get closer so that the flowers become the whole story.  I was sure to use the yellow-chartreuse of the golden oregano as one of the bands of color behind the Salvia, and made a composition that cut off the tops of some flowers in order to hold the eye in the frame.


Learn more about composition and framing in Book 1 of The PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.