Spring is coming and with it, the relatively brief cherry blossom season. You don’t know exactly when they are going to bloom, but you better have your bag packed and ready to go. Because as soon as the cherry blossoms arrive, they are gone just as quickly. Whether you’re shooting locally or traveling to Washington, D.C., be sure to keep these tips for photographing cherry blossoms in mind as you prepare for the bloom.
You will want to have the right gear to take advantage of the beautiful blossoms. This includes bringing the right lenses with you. A 50mm lens is a must so you can capture the little details. If you’re visiting a popular city like Washington, D.C. during cherry blossom season, be prepared to compete with the large crowds that will also be photographing the pink blooms. Having a zoom lens will help you get a closer shot when you can’t physically get close to your subject.
You never know exactly when the cherry blossoms are going to bloom. If you can’t make peak bloom, don’t worry. Blossoms are beautiful at all stages of life. If you're set on capturing full-bloomed blossoms but can't make it during those select peak days, focus on individual branches that have full blooms.
Turn off your flash. Using direct flash at close range is going to over-expose the cherry blossoms.
As with any outdoor subject, the best times to photograph cherry blossoms are during dawn and dusk, when the light is soft and golden. That will require some additional equipment like tripods, reflectors, and flash diffusers. If you aren’t an early bird or night owl focus on flowers that are in shaded areas to create the best images. By photographing flowers that are in the shade instead of the bright, noon-day sun, you’ll avoid over-exposing the light-colored blossoms.
Detailed shots of blossoms are great. But don’t forget to look at the whole picture. Look up, down, and all around! Capture the twisted trunks, fallen petals on the ground, and the stark contrast of a pink bud against a bright, blue sky.
Play with the elements. A gust of wind could lead to a beautiful photo of petals flying around. Also look for colorful elements that can contrast with the dominant pink color of the blossoms.
Most of the time we shoot from our eye or chest level, because it’s quick and easy. Try a low angle shot with your camera from Bechcamera.com placed around your knee height. This will make your cherry trees appear more prominent. In addition, this approach could help you avoid a busy background since this will place the tree canopies against the sky or building facades.
These tips will help you get beautiful images of the the cherry blossoms. Just make sure you don’t forget to take a step back and appreciate what you’re looking at.