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  • Writer's pictureAlina Ciobanu Photography

Bluebell photography tips and challenges

At the end of April, I photographed bluebells for the first time. Outdoor photography is spectacular as you can have multiple backgrounds, but it is not easy. This blog post will present tips and challenges you might face when photographing bluebells.



How can you find bluebells near?


The best way to find bluebells is to search on Google. For example, you can type `bluebells near me` on Google maps. You will be able to see reviews and images from other people who have visited the place (this is my favourite search mode for areas) or go directly to the nationaltrust.org.uk website to find bluebell woods close to you.


Photographing children and bluebells in Hertfordshire.

We visited Ashridge Estate, around 24 minutes (10.9 miles) from Hemel Hempstead. It was the second time we`ve been there after seeing the wood last summer.


What to wear for a bluebell photoshoot?


The colours of the clothes that will work best in an environment where bluebells surround you will be: beige, brown, lime green, green olive or emerald, orange, different shades of terracotta, pale blue or yellow, mustard, red and pink goes well, but I much prefer the rest of the colours mentioned.


Bluebells photography, clothing colour palette tips, Alina Ciobanu Photography.

I know it`s practical, but I would stay away from combinations like black and white that are too contrasty.


You can wear casual and comfy pieces of clothing like jeans or chinos, skirts, t-shirts, pullovers, flowy dresses, and knitted sweaters. I recommend that they be as simple as possible with no heavy patterns, texts, or logos.


Bluebells clothing colour palette tips

If you want to avoid creating a big block of colour, then every family member can use a different colour shade. However, please be careful when you mix the outfits. The combinations must be pleasing to the eye, and they must work together.


Most of the time, the colours can break an image or make it more appealing. So it`s essential to plan everything. For example, if you have constantly moving kids who love to explore and get messy, think about having an extra outfit to change them.


Photographing children in bluebells at Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

What time of the day is best to photograph bluebells?


I find outdoor photography challenging, especially with the Uk`s fast-changing weather, but what I love the most is that beautiful diffused light when clouds cover the whole sky. That is the perfect time to photograph.


Family photographer based in Hemel Hempstead


Problems you might face shooting bluebells.

Let`s assume you want to take bookings way in advance for Bluebell mini sessions. It`s your choice if you're going to photograph a few sessions in the morning and a few in the evening when the light tends to be at its best, or maybe you want them done in one day from dawn till dusk.


Alina Ciobanu Photography, bluebells photoshoot in Ashridge Estate.

You don`t know how the weather will be and what happens if there is a sunny day while shooting? I usually see lots of light patches where the bluebells are growing inside the woods, and this is why it is crucial to find a good location. You want to avoid having light filters on your clients as much as possible.


Bluebells photoshoot in Hertfordshire

Shooting inside the wood is not easy. You will have high contrasty dark brown-black tree trunks, and light will reflect a lot of green from all the plants surrounding you.


One of the many tips I got attending one of Roberta Baneviciene's outdoor photography workshops was to stay near the edge of the forest because you will have light from one side. Also, if you have a patch of ground in front of your subjects, it will help reduce that green cast even more.


Outdoor children photography

I highly recommend picking up a favourite photographer and doing a workshop. You will find lots of information at once instead of stitching ideas from here and there. After that, it will be up to you to practice as much as possible to improve fast.

Follow the light, move in and out with your focal lengths, use different crops and change people`s positions through posing. You can also shoot high and low to get different variations, and don`t forget to turn around because your location can give your multiple background choices.


Outdoor photography. Bluebells mini session.


Tools for accurate colours.

I wanted to capture vibrant and accurate colours, so I used an X-rite colour checker. It is not a must, but I do believe it is easier to make one profile and use it rather than trying to get the colours as I think I see them. I also use it for studio photography.


X-rite colour checker, Alina Ciobanu Photography

If you want to know more about the Colour Checker, I recommend this video from Lindsay Adler that explains the benefits of using one. But, of course, if you like to change colours and tweak them in Photoshop, you do not need it.

Calibrating the monitor also plays a massive role in how your final images will look on the screens or if you print them. There are multiple tools on the market, but I chose to calibrate with X-Rite i1Display Pro. I find it very easy to use.


Child running in the wood.


Protect the bluebells


Please consider using the paths rather than walking through them when visiting the bluebells. If the bluebell leaves are destroyed, they die as they can not photosynthesise. It will take around 5-6 years to recover, and it is against the law to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy bluebells, so please be careful.


Children photography, natural light.

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