Spring arrived in London and flowering trees are now in full bloom and the ones that aren’t will be very soon. It is a great time to practice flower photography as there are so many free photography opportunities. Below is a guide on how to photograph flowering trees. That will help you to get high-quality images that won’t disappoint.
There is not doubt that flowering trees are incredibly beautiful, but capturing their beauty can be challenging. This is partially due to a lack of leaves during the blossoming period. An absence of leaves can mean not so pleasing backgrounds, like dusty buildings or other not so pretty objects. This leaves a photographer with few options:
- To zoom into the flowers.
- Use the sky as a background.
- Use a transportable background.
- Shoot in a beautiful location.
So, how does one photograph a blooming tree well?
Fill the frame with only flowers
A solution that never fails is to fill the frame with only flowers (zoom and crop the surroundings). In this case, I photographed a cherry tree that was densely-flowered, I stepped back to create some distance and zoomed in to capture the blooms only with a narrow aperture to keep the entire frame in focus. This technique produced a sophisticated pattern that filled the frame. It also allowed me to get a predominately pink image, a girl’s true dream.
Exposure 1/800 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800.
Blurr out the background
The same concept of filling the frame with blooms can be used for a closer perspective. Use a wide aperture to blur the background flowers, zoom to arrange the shot and isolate your main subject.
Exposure 1/800 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800.
Use complimentary objects to tell a full strory
While exploring sights, keep an eye out for photo subjects that complement your images. I found fallen blooms captivating, especially a flower that remained intact in a pile of petals.
Exposure 1/400 sec at f/7.1, ISO 400.
Sky can be an amazing background – or why light matters
An easy way to get a clear and simple background when photographing flowering trees is to use the sky. But watch out for too much light.
The photograph below was taken on a bright day. This type of picture can be a bit difficult to take as default settings tend to produce overexposed images.
Exposure 1/400 sec at f/8, ISO 100.
Most photographers recommend shooting on an overcast day to take advantage of pale light as it makes the pale pinks stand out.
The same tree photographed on a grey day gives a totally different result.
Exposure 1/4000 sec at f/4, ISO 800.
Attention to Detail
Although clusters of flowers are naturally dramatic, you can create great images by zooming in on an individual bloom.
Exposure 1/1600 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800.
For a dramatic effect, you can zoom even more into the flower.
Exposure 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800.
Use transportable background or shoot in a very beautiful location
This Magnolia tree is located on Portabello road. This location is a photographer’s mecca as it is rich with pastel colours and pretty sights. But, if you are planning to shoot in a less pretty neighbourhood it can be beneficial to have a portable background.
Why keep taking pictures of blossom every year?
Like me you probably take pictures of Blooming trees each year. This may feel a bit daunting to do over and over as the results can be very similar, so why not simply reuse ones from last year? First, the act of taking photographs is an amazing way to connect with the season and enjoy what you are seeing. Don’t worry if you don’t get an Instagram hit what is important here as that you enjoyed the moment. Secondly, your images can be unique each time if you try to tell the story of the moment rather than just simply zooming on an individual blossom. Always photograph blooms there are always different angles, different blossoms, different colours, different times of day, different backgrounds.
There is no such thing as too much blossom. It may be all over Instagram at the moment but people are happy to see it and it perfectly conveys seasonal mood. Just make sure that your photographs are high-quality.
Mobile phone vs DSLR
Mobile phones these days are quite good, but they still loose to DSLR cameras when it comes to depth of field.This setting can make of break your image, especially when photographing spring booms as it gives a soft pleasing background. Another pitfall of mobile photography is the lack of manual exposure, so some of your photographs can end up being under or over exposed, both are sub-optimal.
Flowering trees are gorgeous so don’t miss the season and get a couple of pictures while they are still in bloom.
You can download full-size images of blooming trees on my account at Pixabay.