Since moving to Seattle, I’ve learned that cherry trees have beautiful blossoms and they’re kind of a big deal here. People commute from far and wide to see the Seattle cherry blossoms as they peak in April and May. The most notable spot for spectating the cherry blossoms is at University of Washington’s quad, which becomes swarmed with admirers trying to get their perfect shot of the blooms.
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Instead of joining the madness, I’d been enjoying the blossoms from afar, stalking the #uwcherryblossoms hashtag from the comfort of my bed. However, when my friend and talented photographer, Sara, mentioned shooting with the cherry blossoms, I knew I had to get in on the action!
Keep reading to see the photos we captured and get juicy tips from Sara for models and photographers to get the very best cherry blossom photos.
I wanted to keep it ~springy~, so I kept my outfits light and simple. I brought a white, short-sleeve, lace-trimmed boho dress by the Kooples (here) and an ice blue floral, sleeveless option from ASTR (on sale here). I actually rented both dresses because I’m working on making my closet more sustainable, so I’ll have another post on that soon! I wore brown sandals and nude kitten heel pumps and had a neutral jumpsuit and two extra pairs of shoes on standby, which I recommend if you’re indecisive with your outfits. We opted for light, neutral makeup and soft curls to capture the delicate look Sara was hoping for.
Our day began bright and early as we gathered at Stephanie’s house to put the final touches on outfits, hair, and make up. Stephanie co-modeled in the shoot and Barbara of La Objeteria jewelry styled us in her beautiful, handmade jewelry. Rather than heading to the UW quad to duke it out for a good spot, Sara had scouted out the Washington Park Arboretum as the perfect place to see the blooms without having to fight huge crowds. Since we got there early, we had the park nearly to ourselves for a bit.
It’s hard to believe from the photos, but this was Sara’s first time shooting the cherry blossoms! Her “inspiration behind this photoshoot came from Serbian Fine Art photographer Jovana Rikalo. They have such a delicate, fine eye for photographs, and I really fell in love with the photos they took with cherry blossoms.”
Besides totally nailing this fine art shoot, Sara shared her top tips for you to get your own gorgeous cherry blossom pictures.
Cherry Blossom Photo Tips for Photographers:
- Scout the location beforehand and know the best time to avoid crowds. Have a plan of where to shoot, even if it’s an idea of an area to search the day of.
- Bring a blanket for everyone to place their clothes, accessories, and anything else they brought with them. Most parks are muddy, and you don’t want anything borrowed or brought to the shoot coming back stained. (blankets are also lifesavers when you need to change outfits. in public gardens. surrounded by families.)
- Play around with angles! Don’t be afraid to get down low, shoot through some branches, even literally lay down in the grass if that means getting your shot. Being on location is a great opportunity to push yourself and get that unconventional shot.
- Learn how to direct people and their poses. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of practice, but there are a lot of great resources out there (Lara Jade, Sue Bryce), and you’ll find you get a lot more variety in your shots.
Cherry Blossom Photo Tips for Models:
Make sure to wear comfortable shoes you wouldn’t mind getting a little dirty, it can get a little muddy around some parks. (I popped the heels off between locations to walk around in my sandals)
Hand placement is really key, I always direct my models to think of ballerina hands. Think very elegant, long, delicate fingers. Delicate is really the key, imagine the branches and the flowers are spun from glass.
For clothes, avoid anything dark & go for warmer colors. Pale blues, small pops of color. White pieces are also a great idea.
We shot for a few hours and finally caved from how cold it was (and we knew we had shot a few gems!). It was really cool to spend a morning creating and hanging out with this group of entrepreneurial women in such a beautiful space. I highly recommend a trip to the cherry blossoms while they’re still in bloom (I know Sara has few openings left in May, hint hint!).
Photographer: Sara Ranlett
Jewelry Design: La Objeteria
Co-model: Stephanie S. Laurie