Guide to Spring photography

spring-photography-featured

Spring is a season where nature becomes alive. Plants and flowers are blooming, animals end hibernation and many of them start the mating season. This is the perfect time to get out adventuring and taking photos.

This cycle has been noticed and celebrated in every culture. Spring symbolizes rebirth. This often comes with rituals and special events.

That’s why spring photography is more of a mood, a concept, or a topic that can be represented in different photographic genres.

So, regardless of your field of expertise, you can always make use of some spring photography ideas.

14 Tips for Amazing Spring Photography

 

If you’ve already photographed all the cherry blossoms in your area and you are having a tough time finding new spring photography ideas, keep on reading.

In this article, you’ll find 14 spring photography tips that can help you out and maybe spark your creativity to find new ways to represent the season.

And if you haven’t done any spring photography because you think it’s not something that can be incorporated in your type of photography, try some, you may be surprised!

Some of these tips can be applied to all sorts of photography, from nature to documentary, from fashion to still-life.

1. Start a year-round photo project

Cherry trees flowers surrounding a landmark building

Credit: Jacob Hilton

If spring symbolizes new beginnings, then it’s the perfect time to start a project. Think about a photo challenge that you can do year-round.

The concept can be anything you want, for example, try something that shows the passing of time through seasons.

A way to do this might be with contrasting scenes, elements, or situations. Choose something that never changes, such as a landmark.

Then photograph it sequentially throughout the year to see how the environment around it changes while it stays dateless.

Depending on the type of photography that you like to do, you can choose a project to suit you. If you like doing street photography you can photograph how peoples clothes change according to the weather.

If you are a documentary photographer, then you can make a project about crops and fields, photographing when the seeds are planted and again when it’s time to harvest.

The possibilities are endless and the choice is yours.

2. Photograph seasonal food

Photo showing one man leaning over fruit

Credit: Stefano Alemani

Most fruits and vegetables are seasonal, so, a great way to do spring photography is by representing the wonderful delights that are only available during this period.

Go out to the local market and photograph the colorful stands filled with fresh produce from the season.

You can also choose a specific item and make it the topic of your spring photos, for example, bananas or papaya. Depending on where you live, you’ll have different things available.

Talk to the vendor to get some inside tips if you’re not familiar with the produce. Especially if you’re traveling, you might not know what everything is and if they are seasonal or available year-round.

Also, once you have a rapport with the vendor you’ll have more freedom to photograph things, and might even be able to include some portraits.

Photo of still life

Credit: Ksenia Chernaya

If you’re not much of a street or documentary photographer, maybe you want to try some food or lifestyle photography to portray seasonal meals.

You can buy the ingredients and prepare a dish with seasonal products instead of photographing them fresh. Set the table for a still-life photo.

Another interesting take is to prepare something that is used for a particular holiday that happens during spring.

3. Look for rainbows

Spring photography photo of landscape and rainbow

Credit: Antonio Grosz

Spring is somewhat of a transition period where you have some sunny warm days but also sporadic showers.

This is the perfect combination to get rainbows that make a stunning photographic subject, but they are elusive.

Here are a few things that you should know to make rainbow photography easier for you.

You’ll have a better shot in the morning or afternoon, as the sun needs to be close to the horizon. When the sun gets higher, you’ll see less of the arch.

In some latitudes, as it gets closer to summer, the sun is higher for longer which makes it harder to spot a rainbow. If this is the case, the beginning of the spring will be your best shot.

Remember that rain is not the only source for a rainbow to happen, you can try with any body of water. If there’s a lake near you or a waterfall you’ll have more opportunities.

Change your position in a way that the rainbow has a dark background, this will make it more evident. Otherwise, it could get ‘washed away’ in your photo.

Using a polarizing filter can help to saturate the colors, so you might want to give it a try to make your rainbow look more intense.

This doesn’t always work, sometimes the polarizing filter can make the rainbow disappear, so keep rotating it to find the sweet spot. Don’t lose too much time on this though because rainbows don’t last forever.

If it’s not working take off the filter. A neutral density filter can also help if you want to make a long exposure.

For long exposures, you also need a tripod to avoid any motion blur due to camera shake.

Also, be very aware of the composition. Using a good background and maybe introducing an element in the foreground can go a long way to making your photo more interesting.

Finally, don’t be afraid to do some post-processing to give your rainbow more vibrant colors.

4. Photograph animals

photo of a cub in the wildlife

Credit: Janko Ferlic

Spring is the start of life and animals are very aware of it. Depending on where you live, you will have different photographic opportunities available. Here are some spring photography ideas:

If you’re a wildlife photographer, you probably know your way around natural parks and reservoirs.

Animals in their natural environment are beautiful, for example, bears coming out of hibernation would make a great spring photograph.

But you do need to be safe and respect the environment. If you want to give this a try for the first time, you should look for experienced guides to help you out.

If you are more of a city person, you can look for butterflies and bees in an urban orchard or your garden if you have it.

Pollinators gather around blooming fruit trees during this time of the year, so you can try to photograph them while they’re ‘at work’.

Photo of lambs laying in the sun

Credit: Erik Jan Leusink

Petting zoos or local farms are another way to approach animals in a safe environment. You can find all kinds of poultry, goats, sheep, cows and many other adorable creatures enjoying the warm weather of spring.

And of course, let’s not forget about our close friends and companions, dogs. If you have a dog, you might want to take him out for a day trip to give you some spring photography ideas.

You’ll see that humans are not the only ones who enjoy springtime. Make a photoshoot of your dog in a flowery field for some awesome spring pictures.

5. Capture Joy

A beautiful photo of a lady smelling flowers

Credit: Artem Beliaikin

Do you know that moment where you first see a flower at the end of winter? Or maybe the first time you stop and smell the roses?

Sometimes the rush of everyday life keeps us from enjoying certain pleasures. But that moment when you first realize spring is here can be full of joy.

Try to capture that feeling in your photos, this can be as straightforward or as conceptual as you want.

The important thing is that you enjoy it and that you pass on that feeling through your photographs.

6. Use color 

A group of colourful photo frames

Credit: Jessica Ruscello

Another way to challenge yourself in spring photography is to use the colors of the season to capture everyday objects.

Each color has a different meaning and communicates a specific mood or feeling to the viewer. Think about spring and the colors that represent it.

It can be pink due to the cherry blossoms that we all know are part of the season, if not in your area, I’m sure you recognize them from the photos.

Creamy colors are also appropriate because they are associated with purity and birth, much like spring.

However, bright colors can work well too due to how colorful flowers are in Spring. You can use the color palette of your choice and find a way to relate it to spring.

If you are unsure, you can find spring picture ideas on Instagram or Pinterest. Also try looking for inspiration from a movie, a magazine or a brand you like.

A very useful tool for creating color palettes is Adobe Color. It’s available on the browser version even if you don’t have an Adobe subscription.

You can choose a color and create an entire palette using different color theories like monochromatic or complementary.

It also allows you to upload a photo and isolate the color palette. Finally, you can use the Explore section to find colors related to a concept.

In this case, you can just type in Spring and see what it suggests and choose whichever you like.

Then you can plan a spring photoshoot using those colors. Otherwise, just go out and photograph them in everyday objects that you can find.

Adding filters or playing with the colors in post-processing is also a fun way to do it.

7. Be subtle

still life picnic basket with flowers can be used for spring photos

Credit: Evangelina Silina

It’s easy to get carried away with the beauty of spring and all the flowers in bloom, but sometimes it’s more effective to make spring the theme of the photo and not the subject itself. Simply choose a warm light that comes from the side, or even use filters.

This way the spring theme is only implied and will make your photos stand out from the bunch. Having this in mind you can create still-life photos with spring flowers that have pastel tones for example.

You can do a flat-lay with spring related food. It just depends on what type of photography you like to do. Perhaps you prefer fashion or taking portrait photos. You just have to be creative to find a way to incorporate a spring vibe.

Keep in mind that spring is more than just a natural season, it’s also a concept and a metaphor. You can use it very literally or go very abstract and let it just be an atmosphere or a feeling.

8. Do some landscape photography

Flowers in the foreground of the photo giving you spring photography ideas

Credit: Gabriel Rodrigues

While doing closeups of flowers, fruits, bees and other seasonal subjects can be tempting, try opening up your perspective.

Doing landscape photos is a beautiful way to show spring because you can find lots of colorful fields.

Don’t just rush out of the city to do this though, parks and avenues can also ‘light up’ with blossoming trees.

And if you have a drone, this is the perfect time to take it out for a fly and photograph from above.

9. Try some adventure photography

Spring photos often include flowers

Credit: Dominik Jirovsky

After the cold months of winter that keep us indoors and before the strong heat from the summer starts, springtime is the best moment for outdoor activities.

Depending on what you like to do, you might find yourself out camping, hiking or just having a weekend getaway.

Make use of these opportunities to practice your spring photography.

10. Capture the moody weather

weeds blowing in wind creating spring pictures ideas

Credit: Markus Gempeler

This is a topic that can vary a lot from one location to another, but quite often spring is moody.

You have one beautiful day that turns into a shower or a storm in the afternoon. Then the next one is very windy and on the third, you’re back to calm and sunny.

This season is very difficult to decide what to wear and of course, even harder to plan an outdoor photoshoot.

But instead of seeing this as a problem, you can embrace it and make it the topic of your spring photography.

Try capturing the magic of a spring shower, maybe with children playing on the ponds or just in nature with the flowers.

You can also show the contrasting situations like people still wearing warm clothes in the city where it’s still cold but you can already see a blossoming tree in the background.

Using the wind to make some creative motion blur can be a fun exercise as well. Just pick up your tripod and choose a location where the windy weather would be noticeable, for example, the park.

Then frame a good composition and set the shutter speed to a slow number. It will depend on the effect that you want to capture, but 1/10 could be a good place to start.

If you’re not very comfortable with the manual mode you can use your camera in shutter priority mode and then it will automatically set the aperture and ISO.

Then start shooting. The slower you set it, the more noticeable the blur will be. This is also a good technique to capture rain.

11. Do macro photography

spring macro photos

Credit: Pixabay

Macro is most commonly used for flower and insect photography, so spring is the perfect time to give this a try.

For macro photography, you need a macro lens or a telephoto lens with macro capabilities. This will let you focus on very small subjects.

If you don’t own one don’t discard the idea just yet, there are places where you can rent the equipment.

This way you can experiment with this type of photography without having to buy new gear. The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro IS USM is a great choice for Canon’s full-frame and APS-C.

If you have a Nikon DX and FX DSLR you can try the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8 G IF ED VR Micro.

These telephotos for macro capabilities will eliminate the problem of lighting which is otherwise difficult when you have to get very close to the subject that you cast a shadow on.

The camera settings are important because usually, the depth of field is very narrow. This creates beautiful bokeh effects, so choose your background wisely.

12. Photograph a blossom 

photo of one flower bud

Credit: Dani

This might be an obvious idea, but you’d be surprised at how many people focus their spring photography on flowers, instead of blossoms.

Don’t get me wrong, flowers are also good, but we do have them all year round. The most special thing about spring is the blossoming.

The idea of new life that finds its way after the long months of winter fills us with hope, and that’s what makes them a great subject in spring photography.

The most common are tree blossoms or the pink flowers of cherry blossom, but maybe there aren’t any of those where you live.

Or maybe there are, but you want to shake things up and photograph something different.

They may not be as easy to spot at eye level, but getting down on the ground in the park or in your garden may be worthwhile to capture a flower blossom.

13. Love is in the air… grab it!

photo - spring shot of couple kissing under flowers

Credit: JD Mason

What better way to improve your spring photography than showing something that is also full of happiness and expectation? Love.

You can make couples or family photo sessions or just go out and snap spontaneous moments practicing your street photography.

14. Celebrate local spring festivities

Spring photography is popular at seasonal events

Credit: Zoo Monkey

This can be in the form of religious ceremonies, parades, parties, festivals, etc. Every culture has at least one holiday or festivity that happens during spring.

This is a great way to improve your spring photography because it’s mixed with the skills of other types, like documentary photography.

Remember to be respectful when you are photographing if the holiday is religious or a solemn occasion.

In other events, such as a parade, you need to be aware of your surroundings and not get in the way.  Each one will present its challenges and that’s what makes them a great opportunity to grow as a photographer.

The most important thing, in this case, is to reflect the spirit of the occasion.

Getting Better Photos of Spring | Final Words

I hope these photography tips can kickstart your next spring photography project and find the beauty of the season through your lens.

If you have any other spring pic ideas share them in the comments section.

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

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