Clouds of white and pink hovering over street walks have finally arrived in Vancouver, B.C. Of course, cherry blossoms will inspire many of us to take out our cameras and photograph away. Use these 5 bold tips for photographing cherry blossoms to ensure that they look as beautiful in your photos, as they do in real life.

1.PICK THE RIGHT LIGHT (come early or stay late)

Cherry blossoms at Sunset

Cherry blossom petals are delicate and almost transparent. If you shoot in the afternoon or in the shade with a lack of sunlight, you risk cherry blossom flowers appearing flat and washed out

We recommend shooting in the early morning or a few hours before sunset, during the golden hour. Soft golden sunlight will add volume to cherry blossoms without making them appear washed out and desaturated

2.GET CLOSER 

Macro shot of Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are great photo subjects for macro photography. If you have that 50mm f/1.8 (or another lens with a low aperture), now is also a great time to dust it off and get shooting at low aperture (f/1.4-3.5).

This tip also works for most smartphones. All you need to do is get very close to your subject and tap on the screen where you want your camera to focus. You will be rewarded with some lovely cherry blossom bokeh (blur).

3.EMBRACE THE RAIN

Rain drops on Cherry Blossoms

There’s no reason to ditch your camera on a rainy day. You can take wonderful shots of cherry blossoms covered in water droplets. Rain droplets also help reflect light creating more vibrant colours.

Tip: If you are lucky to come when it hasn’t recently rained, then adding a little mist to the blossoms will make them seem more fresh and dewy.

4.CHOOSE A SIMPLE BACKGROUND

Blue Wall Cherry Blossom by Amish Jain in Victoria

Cherry trees already look very busy with detail, and if you combine them with a busy background, the viewer will have a hard time reading your photograph.

To isolate the flowers, you could cheat and bring a bright and contrasty coloured piece of paper to put behind your cherry blossoms. You will certainly get a look no one else has! But you’ll need a friend to hold the paper while you get the shot. Or a reflector! This has the added benefit of being able to reflect light in addition to being a background.

5.EXPERIMENT WITH ANGLES

Creative angles of Cherry blossoms

Most of the time we shoot from our eye level or chest level, because it is quick and easy. However, if you spot a row of cherry blossom trees, try a low angle shot with your camera placed around your knee height.

A low angle shot will make your cherry trees appear more prominent. In addition, this approach could help you avoid a busy background since the cherry tree canopies will be placed against the sky or building facades.

CONTROVERSIAL PRO TIP: OVEREXPOSE 

Anyone who has come on a photowalk with Suzanne will attest, she is a big fan of the exposure compensation dial while in aperture priority. It’s a personal preference, but she prefers brighter flowers, despite the more common practice of underexposing.

IPHONE TIP

iPhones have a bunch of options in the editing section that allow you to make the pinks pinker! Maybe it’s cheating, but you can convince yourself (and everyone else) that it looked that way in person. Go to the editing section of the image, slide over to the tint slider, and adjust it to be as pink as you like. 

Light, bokehs, angles… If you want to learn more about all of these exciting techniques, follow Vancouver Photo Walks on social media and stay up to date with what’s going on this season!