One of my favouritest things about British Spring are the stunning displays of bluebells that fill our forests come April or May. This year the bluebells have come pretty early, but there’s still some time left to capture the best of them.
But bluebell displays are not limited to just National Trust and Royal Park properties. There are plenty of other woodland areas where you can find gorgeous carpets of bluebells – and not so many people around. Ask on your local Facebook group, go for regular walks and ask the dog walkers! One of the most stunning bluebell displays I’ve discovered was in a private woodland in Cobham where my son attends Forest School!
Bluebells are unpredictable. Sometimes they appear mid-May, sometimes they come as early as the first week of April. We have a small patch of bluebells in our garden so I usually know when it’s time to go, but it’s usually a good idea to keep an eye on the Twitter and Instagram feeds of your favourite National Trust properties for the updates.
How to photograph your child in bluebells
Here are some quick pointers to photographing your kids in bluebells:
If you’re a beginner, the easiest way to get great results is picking a bright overcast day for taking photos. That way you won’t have to fight harsh shadows, spots of light or consider the direction of sunlight.
If you can, try and dress your child in clothes that are complimentary colours to the colours of a bluebell wood. Greens, greys, pinks, blues and yellows – basically nice natural colours – would work best. But if a shoot is sponteneous – don’t worry! Capture your child’s fascination with the flowers and don’t stress about their clothes!
Photograph from a low angle: sit down or crouch down and make sure you’re taking photos of the same eye-level as your child. This will help you to create more engaging photographs with a better visual connection.
Pay attention to your background. Make sure there are to trees or branches visually “sticking out” of your child’s head, and that the background is nicely covered with bluebells.
If you know your camera settings, set it to Aperture Priority mode (A or Av on most cameras), dial the setting as low as it would go, and zoom in with your lens. This will help you to create that nice blur in the background and get nice background compression too.
Don’t ask your child to stand still and smile. Instead, play games, make silly sounds or engage them in an activity.
Shoot lots! Digital photography allows you to experiment, so take lots of different photos from all directions and angles.
Please remember that our bluebells are a protected species so avoid trampling on them too much. Find bare patches or use pathways instead of walking on the flowers.
Hello and welcome! I'm Antonina, an award-winning documentary family photographer, specialising in the authentic and meaningful photography for families in London and Surrey. I'm also available for commissions further afield - please get in touch for more details.