First time shooting at a botanical garden

Hi everyone. I rarely frequent the flora areas of the forum as I usually just shoot landscape but I’m hoping for some advice or tips.

I’m visiting the botanical gardens in Edinburgh in the next few days to shoot some flora, something I have never done before.

Are there are any hard and fast rules or tips that I should take into consideration being a complete novice? I’ll watch some YouTube videos to get some help but I thought I’d draw on all of your vast experience.

Thanks in advance

No expert here, but my first step in visiting any is learning whether tripods are allowed, or even monopods. They’re a big help if pursuing max DOF, but not possible in some places.

Time of day is pretty important for light direction and intensity. I usually figure on at least 2 visits so I can learn where to be when for best advantage.

Bring your strobe, but also an array of small light discs. They’re cheap and wildly effective. An array lives in my camera bags for just this application. I use them for reflecting light with or without the strobe, as a diffuser with the strobe and as a skrim to block shadows on bright spots in the background. Also bring/wear a light wrap of some sort. With the help of a companion or on your own if you have a remote shutter release, it’s a DANDY skrim for darkening larger backgrounds.

Try to determine peak visitor hours and avoid them where possible. Your best shots are usually going to be at eye level, and a whole lot of plants are at knee level. You’ll need to get low, which is problematic with lots of other visitors.

Never, ever bend, twist or mutilate any foliage for the sake of a shot. No quicker way to get yourself ejected and assure problems for the next visiting photographyer.

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Thanks Hank. I’d not even considered artificial light. Not sure if I’ll be able to buy something in time!

Just one note. Hope for overcast skies. Flowers are much easier in flat light. If not, anything to diffuse light or provide shade is a big help.