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May 11, 2018

Capturing spring with your camera: What you should know for post-worthy photos

Here are what flowers to look for – and where – in the Philly area

Photography Spring
Stock_Carroll - Cherry blossoms near the Philadelphia Museum of Art Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Cherry trees blossom near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

People move outdoors the moment spring hits, and social media becomes saturated in images of Japanese magnolias and cherry blossoms. It seems the true signifier to the beginning of spring is a Facebook feed littered with flower portraits and selfies. As we enter the second stage of spring, capturing that bright, bold image is even more possible now than before. 

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“Right now is when you see the night temperatures warm up, and you start to see the growth of the plants explode. You can literally see, day by day, these plants just filling out,” says Lynn Ellen Wolf, a horticulturist at Greensgrow Farms in Kensington. 

“The roses are just about to bloom. May is rose time.” 

Wolf also lists irises, lily of the valleys, clematis, and viburnums to keep an eye out for this coming month.

Contributed Art/Wikimedia Commons

John Bartam's House at Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Maximize your camera techniques

Many people know that angling the camera a certain way or switching a position is key to optimizing photos, but there are ways to add more depth. Alyssa Andrews, a professional photographer based out of Northampton County, gave a few tips to enhance those springtime shots. 

“Sometimes, I’ll grab a tree branch that’s low and put it front of my camera to get some of that softness. It looks planted there,” she said. 

Another trick, she adds, will need the help of a friend to boost those DIY engagement or couples photos. 

“A couple, if they’re kissing, they could be underneath the tree. Just go a little bit lower, look up towards them and shoot up into the tree.” 

Though many people are happy just using their cellphones for a selfie, Andrews said, if you’re going to use a cellphone, make sure that the faces in the photo are focused by clicking the person’s face, so the phone's camera automatically focuses on the subject you're aiming at. 

"You’d still know if the tree is in the background even if it’s not focused," she said. 

Find the best flowers for your photos

There are so many camera-ready flowers planted across the city, from Bartram’s Garden to The Woodlands, but Wolf makes note of her favorite garden between Boathouse Row and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

“The azalea garden on Mother’s Day behind the art museum is always amazing. All the azaleas are in bloom, and they’re every color. It’s just a joy,” she said.

If you’d rather not travel too far for your photo, Wolf recommends taking a walk around your neighborhood. 

“I feel like every park has its own characteristics,” she said. 

She notes of her neighborhood: “In West Philly, there are a lot of walled gardens, where you are looking up at the plants. You can look up underneath the flowers – at these hellebores as they bloom.” 

But if you don’t mind taking a drive, Andrews recommends taking a trip to the country. 

“There are a lot of farms, and they have rows of trees. Right now, I would say the apple trees are blossoming, so you see rows and rows of these trees,” she said. 

If you’re in need of a happy medium between the city and the country, Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College has an alluring landscape. As a bonus, planning that flower selfie for Instagram is even easier with the navigator on their website. It allows you to search for the flowers you want to see and guides you to where you can find them in the garden.

Wherever you decide to go and however you decide to do it, getting post-worthy spring photos is as easy as exploring and taking a different angle. If nothing else, Wolf adds, “Just enjoy it. Just get out of the house. It’s finally safe to leave the house.”