I’ll be the very first to admit that I am sometimes something of an Instagram cliche, and I am totally OK with that. I’ve talked before about how I’m really OK with doing things for the “gram”. It’s perfectly acceptable in my eyes to go somewhere or do something because you think it will also make an excellent shot for your Instagram grid.
One of the biggest things I’ve gotten into in the last couple of years is my outdoor nature shots, particularly anything that is seasonal and makes for a spectacularly pretty photo.
Instagram, and Pinterest too for that matter, are a hive of beautiful imagery and inspiration. No, my photos aren’t always perfect, or look exactly as I pictured, but they are still well loved, and usually well received too (not that the likes should matter).
So I thought I’d put together a little flora and fauna calendar for your Instagram photos, if you’re like me, and want to be one of the first to grab that coveted field of flowers shot. If you’re local to Hampshire, UK, I’ll also share some locations too, and some general location facts on where you might find your shoot locations across the country.
One of the first blooms of the year, and in my opinion some of the prettiest too. I personally feel like spring is on it’s way when I see magnolia trees in bloom. Although there are a few different types of Magnolias, which will flower at different times, most flower in February and March. They’re a soft pink in colour, and honestly are perfect for the Instagrammer who loves pink and white backgrounds as the branches tend to drop quite low. If you want a really pretty baby/toddler shot, hold them in the air with the tree above them as a backdrop, and have someone shoot upwards from behind you. If you’re in Southampton, head to Andrews Park/East Park, near the Titanic Memorial for a little collection of Magnolia trees.
Actually a bit under-rated in terms of an Instagram flower, probably because they’re a cluster plant that is low to the ground and doesn’t really form a blanket like bluebells. However they make an excellent background for Spring and Easter photos with little ones if you can get them to sit still long enough. Be mindful that these yellow blooms don’t last overly long once the petals open. Best found in the woods.
We usually find blossom tree around the same time as the aforementioned Magnolia trees, and are again one of the early signs of spring and an Instagram favourite. Again we head to Andrews/East Park in Southampton for our blossom fix, but you’ll find many blossom tree locations on Instagram, particularly in London where you can find entire streets lined with bright pink blossom trees. If you have kids these make a great throwing in the air background, or for the ladies, get twirling in your prettiest dress.
I usually think of bluebells as a late Spring flower as they flower in from Mid April through to late May. They’re a really popular flower to photograph and relatively easy to find. They’re a woodland flora, usually growing together creating beautiful blue carpets. Stick to paths when taking photos in these areas as they are super delicate flowers, and most bluebell trails have plenty of little footpaths created so you can still get inside that blue area. When taking your photo, unfocus your background as much as possible to make that blue more vivid. Southampton folks, you can find bluebells in the woods behind Royal Victoria Country Park (more info on this IG post!)
You can find Wisteria starting to bloom from April right through to June, making it a great flora to photograph again and again. It’s a climbing tree, usually found growing up the side and front of buildings and fences or around arches and pergolas. The majority I’ve seen are in varying shades of purple, but can come in pink and white as well. Wisteria is an incredibly popular Instagram backdrop, with many hashtags dedicated to it including #wisteriahysteria which is probably one of my favourite tags! For central Southampton wisteria, search Andrews Park/East Park for the affectionately known, Wisteria Arch. You’re also likely to find wisteria at National Trust houses and historical buildings.
One that I’ve missed out on year after year, but it’s on my list is the rapeseed fields. These bright yellow fields cover the countryside from Mid-April to June (avoid if you’re a Hayfever sufferer as they a strong) and I literally grew up seeing and smelling them, and only now I’ve moved away do I appreciate their beauty properly. These fields are obviously owned by farmers as they make rapeseed oil, but many have Right Of Way Footpaths alongside them so you can capture photos without harming the crops. I’ve also seen people standing on the kerbside next to the field and this gives just as great a photo, without the risk of trespassing.
Another one that I’m yet to capture is the faithful Hydrangea bush. These are actually one of my favourite hardy plants, and I have two in my back garden which are growing nicely. These can take a few years to get really established in gardens so if you do decide to plant one, you might have to wait a while to get the large oversized look you want for Instagram. You’ll find these blooming in various shades of blue, purple and pink from late Spring through most of the Summer. These can get pretty tall, especially in front gardens so make a beautiful colourful background. Just be mindful not to damage as they usually belong to someone.
One of my faves, though one we skipped last year due to being heavily pregnant/having a newborn, is the Lavender field photos. We have two open Lavender fields near us – Alton and Chichester. They both offer open weekends, usually in early July when the fields come into bloom fully. These are buzzing with bees and smell utterly amazing. Plus you can usually purchase a load of bee, honey and lavender inspired products too. For these photos we arrived right when they opened and headed straight to the fields where it was practically empty. Lordington Lavender also offer exclusive evening events which look amazing, and would be right up the street of a pro-instagrammer.
I’m not entirely sure we have many sunflower fields here in the UK, but they are incredibly popular in the US and look amazing! Of course we do have sunflowers here, so I’m going to mention them as you can grow your own,or the massive bunches of them are all over the shops and florists from late June to early September. One of my fave flowers, and we used them for Dexter’s birth announcement and Henry’s first photoshoot, so they have a very special place in my heart.
Probably my favourite photographic cliche, the pumpkin patch. We’ve been to our local Pick Your Own for the last three years for pumpkin patch photos and it’s a traditional I have zero plans of dropping anytime soon. We usually pick at the beginning of the season, in early to mid October, finding the balance between getting there whilst the fields are still full and not being too early that they don’t last until Halloween.
Another popular and very easy photo to do for Instagram, and so much fun for little ones too. I actually got these in January, but I think I’ll try and do it a bit earlier into Autumn next time to get the richer colours. These photos work best in a burst mode or continuous shooting mode to capture as many images as possible. A fast shutter is a must to capture the action.
I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own Instagram, or if you aren’t on the platform, just the opportunity to get some really pretty photos all throughout the year.
As a mother who loves to travel, I’d love to take Henry on a trip to Disneyland Paris someday. The trip won’t be cheap, but I’ve learned that I can buy or rent a Disney Vacation Club timeshare on the DVC Resale Market at a steeply discounted price.