I have taken almost every photo. This generally involves growing the plant which isn’t always easy if it is tropical and I get some frosts. It also involves knowing what the plant is so that it is accurately named. Each photo takes an average of an hour to produce, to take, retake and retake. It is probably easy to have a few good salvia photos, but much harder to have 300 very good photos of the range.
Remember that each photo is taken to show the salvia at its best. If your flowers on a young plant don’t seem to look quite the same, give it time to grow. I will never forget seeing the first flowers on salvia iodantha and being disappointed as previously flowers were often a bit underwhelming. Iodantha is a gorgeous plant but the head of flowers takes a while to come out and be outstanding. It was a very long time ago that I introduced iodantha and I wasn’t as experienced with salvias as I am now. My photos are also taken close up which may show detail that you don’t notice in the garden or the plant may not produce a lot of flowers to give you a chance to get a good photo.
A disadvantage with my photos is that there is no size comparison so I am sorry about that. I have taken a lot with regular honeybees so that does give some indication of size.
Flowers have to be photographed when the plant is at its best so I have to drop whatever I am doing and take photos. They generally photograph best when it is overcast so that there are no shadows, so you have to have all these elements co-incide to get the best photos. When it is overcast because of rain coming it is often also windy which doesn’t help.
Nearly all flower photos need to be taken in mornings or evenings in Australia as the light is so harsh in the middle of the day. Most salvia colours vary throughout their day, either coming out pale and moving to darker or the opposite. Therefore it is very difficult to identify greggiis, for example, by flower colour if it is very close to another and the way people keep introducing more and more the colours are often very similar.
I don’t have a large garden to be able to grow plants with an ideal amount of room so that they grow the best possible shape. Generally my garden is crowded. Over the years I have been allowed to photograph in other people’s gardens which was a great help but usually these photos are not the best because the light and timing wasn’t necessarily ideal.
Sometimes professional photographers want to come to take photos which earn them $50-100 per photo. Everything is changing with IT so this could be changing also. Not being in the city I don’t get these requests much any more as salvias are grown more widely. However, if someone wants to use a photo commercially I would generally charge $50.
Having produced the photo then I had to have them watermarked across the middle for the website. My old website had a copyright notice at the bottom which was very easy to cut off and still have a good photo. The photos were often poor on my old site which was done in the mid 1990′s. I got my first digital camera in 2000 which was about when they became available. Unfortunately my web photos sometimes come up in a google search and it is easy to think it is okay to copy and use them. It is not okay, they are copyright and should not be copied without me giving you permission. Some photos are distinctive and have been used on other people’s websites but pull them down when asked to. Sometimes people in the northern hemisphere have a plant like African Sky they want to be selling, but haven’t had it flower well to take their own photo or perhaps it is rare to have it flower.
Originally I was worried about pages being slow to load if the photos had too many pixels so I reduced them all in size for this website. This means the photo on the page is not always so sparkling and detailed as is the photo across the top (the banner). It took a lot of time to reduce each one so that at present I don’t feel like going back and making them larger again.
If you google a salvia photo you get all sorts of results, including ones you didn’t ask for and very frequently they are not correctly named so correctly named good photos are not so easy to come by.