If you have ended up here then you are probably thinking about having a family photoshoot in the bluebells. Or maybe you are thinking about taking some of your children yourself. Either way, I would like to give you a little bit of information about this special flower and share some of my top tips on how to get the best photos.
For a few weeks each Spring some of our most ancient woodlands are covered with a spectacular display of bluebells. This carpet of violet-blue is the perfect backdrop for some truly stunning photoshoots but we must make sure that we look after this delicate little flower.
Planning a Photoshoot in the Bluebells
Bluebells only look their best for a few weeks and when they bloom can vary from year to year. Different locations also bloom at different times so this can make planning a photoshoot difficult. In Bristol I normally find the last two weeks in April are the best. I always try to keep a few weekends free from mid April to early May and then finalize sessions dates once we can be sure of a stunning display. Every year I aim to run two or three days of mini sessions so that I can give as many of my clients as possible the opportunity to have a photoshoot.
What to wear
I always encourage my clients to wear clothes that they feel comfortable and relaxed in. However it is worth giving a little thought to your families outfits to make the most of the beautiful setting. Soft blues, whites and pinks really compliment the delicate bluebells. If you prefer brighter colours then yellow is a fantastic contrast to the violet-blue flowers.
During Your Photoshoot
Bluebells are poisonous. So it is also very important that young children with little grabby hands don’t try to eat them. I always start every session by explaining to children that we must stick to the paths and not to pick them. If you are going for a walk, remember to do the same!
The English Bluebell or Hyacinthoides non-scripta is protected by British Law. Landowners are prohibited from removing common bluebells on their land for sale. It is also a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild common bluebells.
These flowers have often grown in the same woodlands for hundreds, if not thousands of years, so it is important that we take care to protect them. If bluebells are trampled on when they are in bloom then there is chance they wont have the energy needed to grow back the following year. They also wont develop the seeds which allow them to spread. So when enjoying the bluebells for a walk or photoshoot we must make sure we stick to the paths. You may have noticed that many of my photos show kids and families sitting right in the middle of a patch of flowers, but this is just clever positioning and camera angle. They are always standing on a path.
Tips for getting the best photos
- The leaf cover on the trees is still quite thin at this time of year and the sun coming through the trees can be really harsh and patchy. I have found that the bluebells look at their most blue on overcast days or late in the afternoon when the sun is low in the sky.
- Whether you are photographing your children, dogs or just the bluebells themselves, make sure you get down low. If you take the photo from just above the level of the bluebells you will see more of the blue and less of the gaps between the flowers.
- Close-ups of the flowers are lovely too. If you are feeling creative, try taking a close-up of a single flower with the carpet of blue in the background. Most phone cameras will focus wherever you tap on the screen. Try it!
English or Spanish?
I don’t feel this blog would be complete without talking a little about Native vs Spanish bluebells. Many of the bluebells now seen in the UK are not the native type but a Spanish variety, introduced to British gardens in the 1860s. Flowers of the English Bluebell are tube-like bells suspended from a graceful arch which stoops in one direction under the weight of the bells. By contrast Spanish Bluebells have an upright flower stem with flowers emerging from the stem in all directions. Hybrids have been identified and many people are concerned that the native bluebell stock is at risk.
When we recently moved house we were informed by the estate agent that there were bluebells at the bottom of our garden…just imagine my excitement! We moved in November 2019 so I had to wait six whole months to find out if this was true. To my delight, it was. But then due to the lockdown of 2020 I was unable to share them with anyone. I did take a few photos though.
What do you think…English, Spanish or Hybrid?
How to book…
Every year I run a limited number of bluebell mini sessions. These are always very popular and usually sell out shortly after being released. Please sign up to my mailing list at the very bottom of this page to make sure you are first to hear about these sessions.
If you would like more information on my full family sessions, please visit my Outdoor Family Photography page.