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5 Best Trees to Photograph This Spring

pink cherry blossom tree during daytime

It might seem a little strange, but if we were asked what the best subjects are for springtime photography, we’d have to say trees. 

They’re certainly the most popular. A quick search on Google, Facebook, or Instagram will show you just how often trees are used as springtime subjects. And the more you think about it, the less strange it actually becomes. Because how else can you capture the raw beauty of this season if not with a symbol of rejuvenation, growth, and the reawakening of the natural world? 

Across the US, several tree species sparkle in the springtime, giving us photographers the perfect subject to place our photos in the season and capture its colors. We’re going to talk about the best of them below, as well as details on where you can find them, and how exactly you can use them as subjects for your photographs over the next few months.

Flowering Dogwoods – White or Pink Flowers

For anyone using our online photo album maker for their spring collection, the flowering dogwood has to be a leading character. This is a small but beautiful tree that’s native to Virginia and North Carolina – but can also be found in other parts of the South. 

Because the buds of a dogwood tree appear before the leaves, when the tree eventually comes into full bloom – typically around mid-spring – it has a particularly vibrant display, with even the bark glowing with a gorgeous cinnamon color. The flowers themselves are white or pink, and they look especially stunning against a blue-sky backdrop.

Cherry Blossoms – White or Pink Flowers

Another tree that exhibits white or pink flowers is the cherry blossom, which typically blooms in mid to late March. The colors of this tree are even more vivid than the dogwood, with the pinks looking more like deep purples or reds if you catch them in the right light – such as a sunset or a sunrise, with the camera positioned low and angled up to catch the sun glistening through the blossom. You don’t even have to travel to Japan to photograph them. Washington DC, specifically, is a popular hotspot for flowering cherry blossoms. 

Magnolia Grandifloras – White Flowers, Deep Green Leaves

Magnolias – specifically, Magnolia Grandifloras – are beautiful large trees that can be found in all states of the US south. These are rounded evergreen trees that are around 40 feet tall and can be distinguished by their dark green, oblong-elliptic leaves and cup-shaped cream flowers. When it comes to photographing these trees, it’s the flowers that steal the show, so we’d recommend getting up close and personal, opting for macro lenses and using manual focus for sharp, defined shots of their petals.

Western Redbuds – Red and Purple Flowers

The Western redbud is another small but gorgeous tree, found commonly from Utah and Nevada, through to California and Arizona. There are a few different species of redbud tree in the US, but we’ve chosen the western redbud simply down to its minimal – yet very much noticeable – nuance in color. 

Rather than the traditional purple-pink color of redbud flowers, the western redbud is known for its red-purple flowers, giving it a more striking, somewhat abnormal aesthetic in the southern landscape. We’d recommend having a little fun with your camera settings for this one. Using a long exposure and panning your camera quickly can give you a neat blur effect, helping to almost smudge those red-purple colors across the frame. Similarly, using a ‘contrast detail filter’ can help to amplify the colors, keeping the image quiet and simple, yet far more vivid.

Sugar Maples – Yellow and Green Flowers

Abundant in New York, Georgia, South Carolina, and even as far west as Kansas and South Dakota, the sugar maple is a tree that changes from vibrant yellow, to burnt orange, to fiery red depending on the season, but it’s especially interesting when the flowers start to bloom in mid-April. This is when clusters of flowers begin to droop from the branch tips – green and yellow buds that provide some interesting photo opportunities. 

To capture them, we’d recommend using ‘depth control’ to increase the level of background blur, and then photograph the flowers as the sole subject. Timing will be everything here. If you manage to capture the maple tree during the golden hour, you can have a gorgeous, gold background that highlights the yellow-green flowers, giving them all the attention with their very own natural spotlight. 

These are just a few of our favorite springtime trees, but there are many more to capture across the US – perhaps something to look out for during any photography hikes. Other honorary mentions that you should cross off the list include:

  • Crepe Myrtles
  • Desert Willows
  • Giant Sequoias
  • Live Oak Trees
  • Joshua Trees
  • American Basswoods
  • Red Maples


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