How To Photograph Sakura Blossoms

photography tutorials Apr 07, 2022
Cherry Blossom Sakura

Cherry blossoms in bloom are one of the most beautiful and photographed signs that Spring has finally arrived. Therefore, to celebrate the release of our new Clever Photographer + Bundle about Spring Photography, we will teach you how to take beautiful photos of Sakura.

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The cherry blossoms, known in Japan as Sakura, are well-known worldwide for their delicate beauty. However, they are more than simply beautiful trees, as the Sakura have powerful ties to Japan's history, culture and identity.
Originally used to divine the year's harvest, Sakura came to embody Wabi-sabi philosophy and Shinto ideals of impermanence, hope and renewal and is now one of Japan's most iconic natural symbols.
Adding to their magic and mystique, the Sakura are usually only in full bloom for around one week, and it can occur between March to early May.
For many Japanese, the blooming of the cherry blossom trees symbolizes human life, transience and nobleness. Therefore, the Japanese love to celebrate and cherish the cherry blossoms trees during the limited flowering period, and many people hold 'flower watching' parties known as hanami.
Given the cultural significance of the Sakura, there are countless events, festivals, and speciality tours centred around the blooming of the cherry blossom.



Sakura (cherry blossoms) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spring flowers. Every year from March to April, Sakura is in full bloom in different regions in Japan.
There are many sakura varieties, with flower colours ranging from white to pink and virtually every shade in between.
Since regular daylight can wash these colours out, plan your shoot early morning and late afternoon when the angle of sunlight is low, and the blossoms will pop in your sakura photo.
Also, crowds become unmanageable during peak blossom times later in the day.

Recommended settings for perfect Sakura petals:
🌸 Aperture: f/22
🌸 ISO 250
🌸 Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec.



When shooting Sakura close to the camera and with a large aperture, like ƒ/2.8, you will most likely get pleasing bokeh which is a great way to separate and isolate your subject from its background. If it is done correctly, it will enhance the colours and aesthetic of your image.
To minimize your depth of field and maximize the aesthetic, use the largest aperture you can, use a telephoto lens - the effects appear amplified when zoomed in, and get close to your subject.

Cherry blossom season is one of the most popular times for visiting Japan, and the main sakura photo spots will be packed. Many visitors are surprised by the sheer number of people. Photographers can sometimes be frustrated by always having a crowd in the background. Be patient and keep moving around to find a good angle.

At night, blossoms become magical. Pinkish light from lanterns set around the flowers can also add an unexpected hue, and trees seem to layer much more upon each other, adding incredible depth to scenes. Be prepared to use this ambient light instead of a flash, as generally, the latter will over-saturate your sakura photo. A tripod can be beneficial, primarily if you use a slower shutter speed. 



The less unnecessary decor and details when photographing cherry blossoms, the better. So, keep your composition simple. Nature itself is beautiful and self-sufficient when photographing cherry blossoms.

Look for a darker or lighter background for the flowers or tree branches you're photographing. By placing a lighter subject against a darker background or a darker subject against a lighter background, the subject will stand out much more. You may have to walk around a tree or trees to find just the right spot for your composition to succeed, but it's worth taking the time to do so.

There's nothing like a beautiful blue sky to bring out the pale pink blossoms of the cherry trees. If you use a low angle shot facing the sky, you will be able to bring out the flowers' colours and reveal more details. However, avoid facing the sun directly to limit flare and parasitic reflections, which will have the opposite effect on your final result. 



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