Cherry Blossom Photo Tips
15 Cherry Blossom Photography Tips from Diane Berkenfeld of Nikon USA
Shoot wide. Fill the entire frame with an entire tree or shoot an entire grove of trees.
Zoom in tight. Zoom in for a close-up showing a small grouping of blossoms.
Depending on the size of the tree, you may be able to get up close and even use a macro lens to capture the petals, showing minute details.
Some varieties of Cherry Blossom trees have branches that hang down to the ground, or when planted near ponds or other water features, the branches dangle over the water. Compose a photograph to juxtapose the blossoms and branches with the water beyond for a unique image. Play with the placement in the frame of the blossoms against the sky too.
Look for a darker or lighter background for the flowers or tree branches you’re photographing. By placing a lighter subject against a darker background or darker subject against a lighter background, the subject will stand out much more. You may have to walk around a tree or trees to find just the right spot for your composition to be successful, but it’s worth taking the time to do so.
First look up. From underneath a tree, or in the middle of a grove, shooting upwards into the sky will allow you to make an image that is more graphical—blocks of color filling the frame with little bits of blue sky visible in the background as opposed to individual blossoms. Look for trees that are next to one another that feature different color blossoms for a more colorful image.
Then look down. You may find blossoms that have fallen to the ground or full blossoms or petals floating on the water. You may even find most of the blossoms of one tree have fallen—and are blanketing the ground. Bare branches juxtaposed against the fallen flowers show the circle of life.
Go high key. Shoot light colored blossoms against the bright sky.
And low key. Shoot darker colored blossoms against a dark sky or water in the background. Use a polarizing filter on your lens to darken the sky or water in the frame.
If the tress you’re photographing are in a Japanese style garden, you’ll definitely want to make some pictures using the architecture of the garden to complement the Cherry Blossoms, for added interest.
Look for instances where the tree limbs or branches not necessarily the flowers become the focal point of your photograph. Look for leading lines, which are lines that compositionally flow through an image, directing the viewer’s eye.
Use your widest aperture to separate a bunch of blossoms against the soft bokeh blur of color.
Use your camera to its fullest. Take horizontal compositions, vertical compositions and if your camera offers it, square or 16:9 format images. The 8-15mm fisheye zoom can even take fully circular images when zoomed all the way out to 8mm on a full-frame camera body. See how you can use branches or architecture to frame your shot and how it varies when you change the image format.
Don’t put the actual Cherry Blossoms in the frame. Use the reflection of blossoms in the water or other reflective surface such as the windows of a nearby building as your main subject, for an abstract image.
See how lighting and shadow affect the mood of your image. Backlighting blossoms or trees will evoke a different mood than bright noon-day sunlight or early morning/late afternoon sun.
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