written by Deborah Koch – Houston Family Photographer
Nothing says Texas more than bluebonnets and since Spring is here, now is the right time to go outside and create fun memories. The flowers in the ditches and fields along the roads and highways in Texas represent a wonderful opportunity to capture the beauty and vitality of the season! Deborah Koch Photography shares her 10 best tips for taking beautiful bluebonnets photos while staying safe and having fun.
1- Find a beautiful and safe place.
Scout beforehand or take the kids on an unique adventure, but please be safe. Avoid busy highways and high traffic areas. Side roads and public parks are a much safer environment.
2- Be mindful of wildlife.
Look around for ant beds, snakes, bumble bees, wasps, or any animals and bugs that could be harmful.
3- Use your best gear.
If you are shooting with a DSLR camera don’t forget your lens, battery, and plenty of space on your storage card. If you are taking cellphone photos, explore the various modes such as photo, portraits, and pano for a variety of looks.
4- Bring small props.
Small props such as chairs, buckets, ladders, wooden boxes, and carousel horses can be a lot of fun. However, refrain from bringing big pieces of furniture or large blankets that can damage the flowers.
5- Target overcast days or the golden hour.
Full sun can cause really harsh shadows and a lot of squinting. If at all possible, avoid mid-day sessions. If an overcast day is not an option, try photographing at the golden hour (30-45 mins after sunrise or before sunset) for a beautiful warm glow and much softer light.
6- Dress appropriately.
Let’s face it, Spring in Texas can be very hot and humid. Make sure everyone is dressed comfortably and appropriately. Choose light solid colors or very small patterns (small polka dots or stripes). Avoid really bright colors and large florals prints as they can be very distracting. Furthermore, closed toes shoes are always a better option to avoid bugs crawling or dirt tickling.
7- Say “cheeeeese”.
Try a mix of natural and posed images. Bring the kids into the fun with games and stories. Let them act silly for some images and ask them to smile for others. Piggy-back rides and hug-wars create great and genuine smiles. Parents love the “picture frame perfect” poses today, but silly images showing personality make awesome memories.
8- Get low.
Eye level images help incorporate the flowers into the shoot and make them look full and beautiful.
9- Pay attention to the background.
Just as important as your subject is the background, so try to remove any debris and distractions beforehand. Be mindful of the horizon line and blown out skies. It is a great idea to include a fun statement in the background such as a barn, fence, gate, or road in the background for added color and texture.
10- Obey the law
Trespassing and picking bluebonnets are illegal in the State of Texas, so always be careful and obey the law.
Most of all, have fun!!
Deborah Koch is a photographer and educator specialized in Fine Art Photography in Houston, TX. For more information about upcoming sessions and workshops please visit www.deborahkochphotography.com
Photo Ops: Potential Bluebonnet Locations
- Spotts Park: Walk the southeast side of the park, past the playground
- TC Jester Park: White Oak Bayou between 18th and 43rd streets
- Rob Fleming Park: In The Woodlands
- Mercer Arboretum: Near Spring
- Kingwood: High Valley Drive at Hidden Lakes
- Buffalo Bayou Park: Try East of the Jackson Hill Bridge
- Brays Bayou: Along the Hermann Park Golf Course near Almeda
- Telfair in SugarlanD: Near Cornerstone Elementary
- Willow Waterhole: Off of South Post Oak
- League City: Near Hwy 96
- Pearland to Alvin: Along Hwy 35
- Blessington Farms: in Wallis
- Terry Hershey Park: Walking path winds along Buffalo Bayou near Dairy Ashford
- Memorial Park: Various spots
- Outside of Houston
- Independence: Old Baylor Park at Windmill Hill (picnic tables and ruins of original Baylor University)
- Pleasant Hill: Pleasant Hill Winery overlooks vineyards surrounded bluebonnet fields
- Chappel Hill: Historic Main Street before, during & after the April festival
- Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park: A great walking trail along the Wildflower Loop
- Marble Falls: Check out the 400 acre Turkey Bend Recreation Area and Muleshoe Bend. You can even camp for a small fee. Also ask about the Bluebonnet House- when the flowers are blooming, it’s incredible.
- Kingsland: Abandoned railroad tracks run through bluebonnet fields about a mile off FM 1431, as well as abandoned farm equipment on several rural roads for great photo ops.
- Fredericksburg to Llano: A drive along Highway 16 is an incredibly scenic drive through rolling hills and granite cliffs with stops along the way