From Hedgerow to Garden.
I'm often asked on Social Media the names and varieties of the flowers I photograph and where I source them.
Over the years I've added many of these flowering trees, shrubs, bulbs, and annual flowers to my small garden. What I can't grow I'll source from either my mother's garden, the local hedgerows (where permitted), or occasionally I'll buy a bunch of flowers from my local grocery store or farm shop.
But without a doubt, I get the most enjoyment from the flowers I handpick from my own garden. It becomes a therapeutic practice, on a sunny morning, to personally select and cut a small posy to enjoy and photograph.
Below, I've included the names and varieties of blossom I repeatedly turn to for my floral photography. I've also included some photography tips that you may find helpful when working with blossom.
A P H O T O G R A P H E R S G U I L D TO
S P R I N G B L O S S O M
Prunus - Spinosa
The first of the hedgerow blossoms to bloom here in the UK. The off-white single five-petal blossoms burst forth on black stems transforming the mundane hedgerows into a magical winter wonderland from early to mid March.
I've only recently discovered the versatility of this creamy white Spring blossom. Its new leaves are a magnificent bronzed gold and it's open blossoms are easy to style.
Arranged here with Bergenia 'Blessingham White' and Spiraea.
Prunus - Accolade
Without a doubt, my favourite of all the Cherry blossom trees is Prunus Jacqueline. The cupped petticoat shaped blossoms hang in abundance and flower from the start of April here in the UK. The sight of one of these trees in full bloom is breathtaking.
Prunus - Kazan
The double ruffles of the ornamental Prunas produce an abundance of soft petticoat blossoms. The blossoms are heavy and hang from the same stalks where the cherries will eventually form. I suggest arranging it with other foliage to support the natural downwards orientation of its heavier blossoms.
There is nothing more quintessentially English than Apple Blossom. Blooming in late April to early May. These blossoms nestle in amongst translucent green leaves with blush pink new buds. Crab apple blossom produces darker scarlet pink blossoms and makes another beautiful addition to any garden.
T H E B L O S S O M G A L L E R Y
P H O T O T O G R A P H I N G F L O W E R S
P H O T O G R A P H I N G
B L O S S O M
A delicate flower requires a delicate touch.
Photographing blossom is a wonderfully indulgent experience, perhaps made more so due to the fleeting nature of its flowering season.
F R O M P L A N N I N G T O C A P T U R E
Planning your shoot is essential! Sketch, list or create a mood board of ideas to work through. It may sound obvious but start with a large stemmed display first working your way through a series of styled captures, finishing with a teacup or handful of individual blossoms.
Blossom wilts fast so be sure to cut vertical cuts up the branches. I always cut blossom on the same day I want to photograph it as it has an unreliable vase life.
Blossom is top-heavy and can be difficult to style due to its clusters. Let them 'fall' naturally and secure large vases with plenty of water to prevent toppling. Use chicken wire or florists supports inside vases to help provide a sturdy foundation.
Use wide-necked vases or old zinc buckets to give blossom stem outward range and prevent cramping. Use extra petals and buds to scatter creating the appearance of 'natural drop'.
Blossom, like most of the flowers I photograph require a soft defused light. I prefer to work with a cooler morning light when possible. I work a metre (3ft) in from a full-length window. That extra distance into a room allows the light to diffuse naturally.
I mostly work with a closed background, opting for soft side lighting with the additional placement of a reflector to bounce light into any cast shadows.
Shooting between 1.8f to 2.8f creates a feathery softness that complements the natural inclination of blossom. I focus on a small area in the foreground allowing the midground and background to blur softly away.
I keep contrast as soft as possible, I don't want to bring in too much un natural colour saturation either. I recommend my Beyond the Lens Crystal Actions for Blossom as these Actions are brilliant at bringing in that extra light lift.