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Tulip Photography Tips

Tips for Capturing Spectacular Flower Shots

Tulips are gorgeous from any distance, but for professional flower photographer Anne Belmont, their beauty explodes the closer you get. “The curls, the curves, some can look like they’re posing for a dance,” she said.

Belmont — who took the photo on the cover of the March/April 2020 edition of Journey magazine for our Pacific Northwest tulip story — offered some flower photography tips for AAA Washington members, even if you don’t know the difference between an f-stop and a Fosteriana.

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“Tulipa ice cream” is the botanical name of this unusual tulip. Photo by Anne Belmont

Top Tips for Photographing Tulips

  • Remember to stay out of flower fields unless you have permission, and even then to stick to paths instead of stepping between the flower rows, which can damage the plants.
  • Mornings are best for soft light and still air. Sunsets and bright, overcast days are good, too. Go right after rain. Water droplets on petals make for sensuous shots.
  • Don’t feel like you must capture the whole flower. Focus on an unusual detail, like a vein of color or a pleasing curl.
  • Find a simple background. Macro lenses, long lenses and wide-open apertures create short focal lengths that can blur the background, drawing a viewer’s eye to an interesting detail that’s in focus. (Smartphone cameras also allow you to selectively focus and, in some cases, to blur the background.)
  • Bonus Tip: If you’re willing to spend some extra money to make sure everything goes off without a hitch, Tulip Festival mainstay Tulip Town offers special photographer day and season passes that get you access to the most picturesque blossoms during the golden hours.

–Written by Tim Neville. Updated by Sarah Lloyd.

This story originally appeared in the March/April 2020 edition of the AAA Washington member magazine, Journey. It was last updated in January 2022.

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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