5 ways to use flowers in portraits 

spring family photography ideas

There are a hundred and one ways to use spring flowers in your photos to give them that spring factor. We couldn't possibly list them all, but I want to share 5 ways with portraits which we covered in our recent Spring Photography Bootcamp and which may give you some ideas and inspiration. 

Flowers as a backdrop

Simply placing the flowers in the background makes for beautiful and striking portraits. All you need to decide is whether to blur or not to blur. If you decide you want that sharp vs soft distinction and decide to blur the background - check lesson 3 for the reminder on how to do that - you will get a background that is full of colour, but without contrasting textures.. If you choose to keep the flowers sharp, to show their shapes and textures, place your subject close to the background instead. As you can see in the images below, both approaches can produce stunning images.

Photo by Sarah Gannon

Photo by Ronni Evans

Photo by Tracey Marie Higgins

Surrounded by flowers

Another fun idea is to have your subject right in the middle of the flowers, and shoot through the flowers, with some in front and others in the background. This setup creates beautiful texture and colour variety. The tricky part is making sure your subject is the sharpest element in the photo, so take your time and pay attention to where your camera focuses - you may need to press that focus button a few times to make sure the focus lands where you want it. Just make sure the flowers aren't stealing the spotlight from your subject's face. After all, that's where you want people looking.

Photo by Laura Clark

Photo by Laura Cullingford

Framed by flowers

Framing your subject is an easy win in the portrait game. You can use flowers to create a natural frame around your subject while keeping everything nice and sharp, or you can get a bit crafty and shoot through an opening in the flowers in front of your subject. The closer you get to those flowers, the more you will be able to blur them out, shifting the spotlight firmly onto the subject.

Photo by Andrea Ihos

Photo by Sarah Natasha Boyce

Photo by Natalie Michie

Sitting among flowers

One of my all-time favourite things to do when taking portraits this time of year is to have my subjects sit among the flowers. And this is where getting clever with your positioning or angles can make your subjects look as if they are sitting bang in the middle of a very dense meadow when they are actually sitting on a path or a bald patch of ground, keeping the flowers safe from harm. This is especially important when taking photos among the native ancient wildflowers such as bluebells as their habitats are particularly vulnerable to damage. Adopt a lower ( ant’s view) perspective and hide yourself and the camera behind a patch of flowers, shooting through them at a flat angle, parallel to the ground and the camera is not going to see the ground. Nailing your angles here can be the difference between an image that looks as seamless as these two images below or an image that sees all the bald spots.

Photo by Laura Quinn

Photo by Ronni Evans

Interacting with flowers - how does it smell?

A wonderful thing about our sensory memories is that just seeing a flower and someone smelling it, may trigger a the memory of a similar smell from your own memory bank. Show the flowers as well as your subject enjoying the smell. Take care to capture their body language as they lean towards the flower and their face and expression as they enjoy the scent. Think about framing them and providing additional context clues to strengthen that sensation.

Photo by Suzy Hicks

Photo by Natalie MIchie


We've written a Comprehensive guide to capturing your family in bluebells covering more on the subject and in more detail - 14 pages to be exact! And to make things even more convenient, so you can whip the information up on your phone as an when you need it, it even comes with a compact Pocket guide version, perfect for viewing on your phone!

And best of all, for a limited time ONLY - it's free of charge!  


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