Did you know there’s a special day dedicated to celebrating the wildflowers of Texas? No? Well surprise, today’s that day! April 24 is Texas State Wildflower Day, and no wildflower is more recognized in the Lone Star State than its very own flower, the bluebonnet. That naturally makes this the perfect day to share the bluebonnet photos I snapped of my 3-year-old a couple of weeks ago and share a few tips with you on photographing these beautiful blue blooms so you can snap some stunning bluebonnet photos of your own!
In case you’re reading this and you’re not in Texas, taking annual photos in fields full of bluebonnets is a thing, y’all. In the springtime when these flowers are in full bloom, you can see lines of cars along roadways and multiple families with professional photographers taking photos at any given time. It is quite the Texas tradition! A rite of passage of sorts, if you will, for any little Texan to experience. Which brings me to where we are now—commemorating this “first” for my little one. I’m not a native Texan and even though I’ve lived here for 20+ years, I’ve never (gasp!) taken bluebonnet photos. But I always enjoy seeing everyone else’s bluebonnet pictures each spring, so I figured we’d give it a try this year!
And I must say, I enjoyed the experience! I would even love to take a little day trip next year to visit one of the bluebonnet festivals and see the great big fields of bluebonnets that the Texas Hill Country is known for. We still get lots of blooms up this way in North Texas, but the Hill Country in South-Central Texas is regarded as the best region of the state to see bluebonnets.
10 Tips for Taking Stunning Bluebonnet Photos
1. Wait for the perfect time, but don’t wait too long. Bluebonnet blooming season is March–May, and bluebonnets typically peak around mid-April. You want to photograph them at their prime bloom. We had a mild winter with no snow and plenty of warm days in February, so the wildflowers bloomed a bit early this year. I took the photos in this post a couple of weeks ago (April 7 to be exact) in North Texas, and I think we caught them at the perfect time.
2. The best time to photograph outdoors is within the “golden hour”—the first and last hour of sunlight each day when the light is softest. This is either in the morning during the hour after sunrise or in the evening during the hour before sunset. I took these between 7:15–7:30 p.m. with sunset at 7:50 p.m. The midday light is too harsh and will cast shadows on faces and cause squinty eyes in the bright Texas sun.
3. Choose clothing that will complement the bluebonnets. Solid, neutral colors work best, but a pop of bright color is a fun way to break up the sea of blue. I went with a yellow shirt for C and liked how it turned out. Avoid stripes and patterns if you can so the focus will stay on those pretty flowers and pretty faces.
4. Keep an eye out for wildlife, especially with children sitting among the flowers. There’s a chance of encountering ants, bees, chiggers and even snakes. We spotted a few bees buzzing around and moved away at one point, but it was critter-free besides that.
5. Bring something to sit on if needed. I brought a tin bucket for C to sit on for a few shots, which added some height out of the bluebonnets. This is also a great way to bring props into a few of your photos—a wagon, chair, stool, bench or blanket would also work well.
6. Find a safe area away from busy roadways where your kids will have plenty of room to roam about safely. Avoid dangerous situations like pulling over along busy highways. You don’t even need a large field of bluebonnets to get great shots—I took these in a smaller patch growing on a hill just outside my neighborhood of all places!
7. Find a spot where the lighting is nice and even, preferably in open shade. This is extra important if you find yourself having to shoot during midday.
8. Be mindful of what’s in the background. If there’s pretty scenery like trees, windmills, a barn or wide open sky, then by all means, include it! But if there are buildings, cars, power lines, street signs, etc., try to frame your photos differently to avoid including them. Removing distractions from the background of your photos will make for better images that focus on what you intended.
9. Be conscious of casting your shadow on the photo. Despite shooting in good lighting conditions, there were several times I had to move to the side slightly to get my shadow out of the shot.
10. Take a variety of different images. Get down at eye level with your subject. Angle the camera down slightly while standing to just get the sea of bluebonnets in the background. Shoot close up, far away and off-centered. Take smiling, looking-at-the-camera photos as well as candid photos while your kids are smelling the flowers or exploring the field.
Bluebonnets make a gorgeous backdrop for photos, and I hope you’re able to use these tips to get great family portraits for your home! Springtime in Texas is always a sight to see with its array of wildflowers blanketing the roadsides. Do you take bluebonnet photos each spring? Share your bluebonnet family traditions and favorite places to see them in the comments below!