The wait is over and the famous flowers synonymous with Spring are erupting in a woodland near you! Bluebells are an iconic symbol of Spring, they’re a sign that warmer (if not drier!) days aren’t too far away.
These unique flowers are as common as they are widespread, yet their fleeting appearance makes them very alluring. The chances are you won’t have to travel too far to experience this seasonal spectacle for yourself. Experiencing and photographing such magical scenes however are two very different things.
I meet a lot of people who feel they struggle to capture the magic of scenes like a Bluebell Woods. As a photowalk guide at www.walkingphotographertours.com I love sharing photography tips and helping people to get better photos from their cameras. That’s why I’ve put together five simple ways to improve your photos of this year’s Bluebells.
1. Change your angle of approach: When you see something you want to photograph do you simply stop and lift the camera in front of your eyes? If so, it’s time to stop. To take a great photo you need to work at it. Before you even take a photo, assess the scene in front of you, think about which angle holds the best view. Consider getting eye-level with the flowers you are photographing. Just by lowering the point of view can really add impact and drama to your shot.
2. Use the light: Here’s a tip; if you ever talk to a keen photographer don’t mention “the light”! Photographers will, can and do talk for hours and hours about the subject and you’ll never get that time back! That said, light is an important consideration though when taking a picture. There’s no “right or “wrong” light but different light has the power to profoundly change the nature of a photograph. Bright sunshine will give you strong highlights, dramatic shadows and bold colours, while an overcast day will give you more softer and delicate colours.
3. Consider the background: When you’re looking at something as splendid and exciting as Bluebells it’s very easy to forget what’s happening in the background. Unfortunately as soon as a photo is printed or enlarged on a screen, those background blunders can appear painfully obvious. It could be another keen snapper creeping into the shot or an obstructive tree branch. Remember to look at everything within the viewfinder/screen and use your angle of approach to avoid any distracting elements.
4. Keep it simple: Simple compositions can often be extremely powerful and effective. One way to create a simpler photo is to get closer to what you’re photographing. Background blur can also help create an effective composition. A simple way of increasing background blur is to zoom-in closer to your subject and choose an angle of approach that maximises the distance between your subject and the background.
5. See Bluebells in a new light: Early starts can be painful but I have genuinely never regretted an early start, even the rainy ones! Experiencing a Bluebell Woods at first light really does reveal its true splendour. Not only is the quality of light more unique, but the woods are quieter, wildlife is more visible and you’re not having to compete with the world and its dog stepping into your shot!
I hope you find these tips useful and that they inspire you to get out and photograph your local woods this Spring. If you’re not sure where to find Bluebells near you, organisations like the National Trust, Wildlife Trust and Woodland Trust are good places to start.
These tips were written by Rich Bunce Walking Photographer. Rich guides a number photo walks throughout the year. He will leading a Bluebell Woods Photo Walk in a woodland near Ilkley on 7th May. Please visit http://www.walkingphotographertours.com/photo-walk-bluebell-woods.php for more information.