Book Review: Fine Art Flower Photography


Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.
– Peter Adams

Although Tony Sweet’s book Fine Art Flower Photography: Creative Techniques and the Art of Observation (2012, Stackpole Books) won’t teach you anything about growing plants, it covers a subject near and dear to any gardener’s and garden blogger’s heart: how to make an artistic capture of the beautiful flowers you’ve been cultivating (or find in other people’s gardens).

Like all fine art, the treatments used are intended to elicit an emotional response. From blooms blurred/blown by the wind to Impressionist swirls of drift plantings, to the rippled edge of a bicoloured rose and the perfect round globe of a white tulip framed by hot pink azaleas, the images in this book are absolutely breathtaking. Sweet carefully walks the reader through all of the equipment required to produce his work, and he describes the process he took using both film (ie: setting up for multiple exposures) and digital cameras. Complete explanations are given for working with software programs such as Photoshop to build these digital masterpieces. Armed with this knowledge, the reader should be able to use the techniques described to capture and create their own floral art.

Don’t expect these kinds of beautiful renderings to show up on Flowery Prose anytime soon – photoediting software (and the wherewithal to use it) isn’t on the radar just yet for me! But considering flower photography from an emotional perspective and not merely as a record is something I would like to work more on – and I definitely need to learn how to use my cameras to best advantage! For all of those things, this book is a delightful piece of pure inspiration.

Is photography a passion for you? What are your favourite subjects to capture?  (If you have online folios or a photography blog you’d like to share, please feel free to post a link!).

I’m participating (very belatedly) in Roses and Other Gardening Joys’ Gardening Book Reviews for March! Head on over there to check out all the fabulous reviews!

(You can view some of Tony Sweet’s photo galleries here).


  1. Unlike some vices like overeating, you can never learn too much. I am a self-taught photographer and have reached the stage where I could use a little professional coaching. This book sounds like a great place to get started.

    • It really is a lovely book. I like the way it is laid out – with the photos on one page and the technical info on the other. The author has tried to make it very accessible for the reader; I think it’s very well done.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful book! I have been thinking about improving my photography. I guess the first step would be to learn more about my camera! But this book sounds so inspiring. It has made my must-have list! Thanks for joining in!

    • Thanks so much for hosting once again; I’m happy I was able to squeak in a post! 🙂

      This is a very useful little book, with absolutely beautiful photos. I would definitely recommend it! The whole emotional response idea really resonated with me.

  3. Macro flower photography is one of my favorite “hobby” types of photography (I’m a photographer professionally). I also use the macro flower photography as a starting point for paintings. i think flowers close-up are fascinating.

  4. I recently took a great camera/photo class with a professional. Enjoyed all the tips and discussion. Like most things, it’s practice practice. I don’t think I have a favourite subject, just having fun figuring it out.

    • I’ve been thinking perhaps some lessons from a pro are in order…I think that’s a great way to get to know your technical stuff, that’s for sure. I agree – it’s really just a matter of getting out and having fun with it! 🙂

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