Garden Blogs: Photos And Advertising

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

After reading a recent post on Garden Rant about advertising on blogs,  my fellow blogger, Nan, and I spent time chatting on the phone about what readers want in a garden blog, and what kind of content they expect. From my point of view, a blogger has a right to do or write whatever she or he wants, just as we as readers have the right to stay and read or click elsewhere and move on. When you’re watching TV, if you’re not interested in a show’s content, you change the channel. When you buy a gardening magazine and find it has too many ads, you cancel your subscription or don’t buy it again. If you don’t like the content, design, or ad content of a particular blog, then don’t go back. It’s that simple.

Another garden-blog issue that Nan and I discussed is the type of photos that bloggers post. We both have noticed a few complaints about only close-up photos in gardens being posted. Some people feel that the desire of bloggers to show only the best of what they have in their garden is an injustice to their readers—that it is important to show a garden or garden area in its totality so that the reader can learn from what really exists.

So, you folks out there (and you too, my fellow bloggers at Gardening Gone Wild), what kind of photos do you really want to see on garden blogs? And to those of you who have your own garden blogs, how do you choose the photos you use on your own site?

As an aside, if you have a chance, check out the November issue of The English Garden magazine, which has done a story on the garden of Clive Nichols, a renowned English garden photographer, with both close-ups and photos with perspective (from a distance) that he has taken. By the way, his website is:

Personally, I’m a sucker for both types of photos. For me, it’s like going to view some of my favorite paintings at an art museum, whether it be Cezanne, Picasso or Van Gogh. In order to appreciate the full breadth of a piece of art, I stand a distance from it, perhaps 10-12 feet, taking my time to gaze at it and then position myself near the painting so that I can observe the detail of the it. Perspective can add a depth to one’s understanding and  make the painting more compelling for the viewer. The same holds true with garden photography.

So now, chime in and let us know your thoughts!

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

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Fran Sorin
8 Comments… add one

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susan harris October 9, 2007, 1:00 pm

I’m with you, Fran. I want a close-up and a long shot and am usually frustrated because it’s so rare to see both. The WORST are those garish close-ups in cheap catalogs.
And the inability to find good shots on the web forces me to invite my clients to my own garden to see what the heck these things look like in real life.

fsorin October 9, 2007, 3:47 pm


Perhaps if we get the word out to alot of gardening blogs that good photography really helps when describing a design problem or showing a certain plant, then perhaps we can all make a more concerted effort to include both close ups of a plant either solo or in combination with other plants and then how it looks when taken as part of the entire garden or garden bed.

Am hoping that our resident landscape photographer, Saxon Holt, will address how alot of us amateur photographers can improve our skills!! Fran

David in VT October 9, 2007, 3:56 pm

I like the way you all illustrate your topics with photographs.The kale shots were especially fine. I like to see both long shots and close-ups, but I realize the long shots are tricky. Often the image looks a bit chaotic.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter October 9, 2007, 4:19 pm

I agree with wanting both types photos. Closeup to show detail of a plant or simply as art. Distance shot to establish context; like visiting someone’s garden. When posting photos, I look for those that are in focus, properly exposed with color as realistic as possible, and a good composition. I do edit out eyesores. (You don’t really want to see the telephone pole in the garden, do you?)

fsorin October 9, 2007, 5:52 pm

David and Mr. McGregor’s Daughter-

These are both worthwhile comments. As I told Susan abovr, we all need to pass on the word to other bloggers and maybe all of us can make a more concerted effort to try to offer both up close and distance shots with a certain level of quality (although we may not always succeed). Thanks for your input! Fran

Kathy October 9, 2007, 7:02 pm

I’m not afraid to show the bad parts of my garden, but my husband doesn’t want photos of our house posted on my blog. This makes it difficult to take shots of long views in my garden.

Kim October 9, 2007, 9:26 pm

I really enjoy both closeups and long shots, and I am not opposed to showing the front of my house, etc. I occasionally show the entire breadth of the bed that nestles against the back of my house… but otherwise, frankly, most of my shots are closer than that because that’s what I see. In my small urban garden, with many twists and turns, it’s more about a series of vignettes and I try to turn the eye inward into the garden instead of looking at the “views” (other houses) on the “horizon.”

Ellis Hollow October 10, 2007, 9:58 pm

Long shots are tough to take if your overall design is flawed or your execution is pock-market with failures. I’m guilty on both counts, but still like to include longshots.

When we walk our gardens and our overall view is less than stellar — as it is at times in most every garden — we focus in on the details that are pleasing. I think we do the same with our images, by either cropping in the camera or on the screen.

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