Every year I look forward to a wander in a wood filled with a sea of bluebells, it is a beautiful site that we are lucky to have in the UK. So ‘how to get the best bluebell photographs?’ is often a question asked. The problem is that when you go and take some photographs of bluebells they rarely look like they did in the woods to what they look like in the photo, they seem to loose the vibrant colour..
Getting the best bluebell photographs requires some forward research, have a look on Google or if you know where there are bluebell woods then go and check them out mid March to see how far along they are, look at the weather forecast for the next few weeks and see how much sunshine is expected. You can then pretty much work out when bluebells will be out and at there best, often the first 2-3 weeks of April. What you want is to gauge when they will pretty much all be in bloom, you don’t want to be too early as there will just be a few and you don’t want to be too late as they will not look their best.
You really want to find a wood that is going to have its floor covered just like a carpet of bluebells, just a few won’t give you the best shots. Many people say the best bluebell locations are Ashridge and Arlington but to be honest there are many woods just a s good scattered around that are dense with bluebells, you just need to go looking. I am lucky as I have Box Wood and Priory Wood in Stevenage right on my door step.
You will often find that your bluebell shots can look washed out so the vibrant deep blue becomes a washed out light blue. The way to get round this is to under expose your shots by half to 1 and a half stops, the beauty of digital is you can test and see the results and then adjust accordingly. This will then give you the blue you want, most mobile phones also give you this function these days. Of course you can adjust them further in Photoshop, Lightroom or other software programs.
The time of day you photograph Bluebells can also impact on how good your shots look. Early morning, sunrise with sun streaming through the trees, early morning mist or sunset with warm evening lighting and background halos can make for excellent bluebell photos.
OK so I have been taking photos every year of Bluebells, but they can be a bit samey after a while, just blue, trees and tree stumps. Why not use the bluebells as part of the scenery for a photoshoot? Find a nice location amongst the bluebells and do a family shoot, a model shoot or even borrow a dog. You can get some beautiful shots that are going to look great on your wall.
In the UK bluebells are a protected species under the 1981 countryside act. Did you know it is an offence to take the bulbs or pick wild bluebells and it carries a fine of up to £5000 per bulb! Please look after our beautiful bluebell woods, treat them with respect so that we can photograph and see these beautiful sites for many years to come.