Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes

Wildflowers capture our imagination every spring and summer. Explore the wilds with twelve pro photographers as they share their favorite landscapes in bloom.

In 1934, the inaugural Yosemite Wildflower Festival took place in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This historic event helped raise awareness about the importance of preserving native plants for generations to come. It was also one of the very first celebrations of its kind, created by none other than Ansel Adams, the prolific landscape photographer.

Today, an estimated 32,000 flowering plants envelop the landscapes of North America alone, and almost a century after Adams, photographers continue to flock to meadows, fields, and national parks worldwide. We spoke with twelve Shutterstock contributors about the most stunning displays they’ve seen during their many adventures. Discover their best tips for capturing wildflowers in bloom.

1. “I always recommended studying your destination prior to your trip.”
​Nadly Aizat
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Study Your Destination

Image by ​Nadly Aizat​. Gear: ​Nikon D700​ camera, ​AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR​ lens. Settings: Focal length ​16mm​; exposure 1/8 sec; f14; ISO ​100​.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

I was on a solo trip around the South Island of New Zealand after completing my studies. It was summer at the time, and Lake Tekapo is famous for the lush lupines that only grow during this season. I spent three days here, walking around and photographing the lake and its surroundings.

I was taking an afternoon walk along the lake when I spotted this area. I noticed the potential for a photograph with the lupines in the foreground and the lake and its surrounding mountains in the background.

I came back later that day, around sunset, to capture this image. Due to the uneven lighting caused by the moving clouds, it took me several shots before I got this photo. I feel lucky to have captured it because the moment lasted only for a few minutes before the landscape grew cloudy and moody with the setting sun.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Determine Your Best Route

Image by ​Nadly Aizat

Pro Tip

I always recommended studying your destination prior to your trip. Determine the best route to take, the timing of the sunset and sunrise, and the best angles to shoot your pictures. It can also help to take a peek at some of the photographs other people have already taken in the area. To ensure your pictures stand out, experiment with different angles and try to avoid any clichés. Additionally, it often pays to explore those “hidden” spots with fewer people.

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2. “Light adds so much to a photo, bringing out those contrasts and providing a more dynamic look.”
Mitch Boeck
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Follow the Light

Image by ​Mitch Boeck​. Gear: ​Nikon D610​ camera, ​Nikon 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 VR​ lens. Settings: Focal length ​24mm​; exposure ​1/80​ sec; f8.0; ISO ​250​.

What’s the story behind this photo?

​This big hill overlooks a small lake a few miles from where I live in Southwest Minnesota. I have visited this place multiple times, and I love the view at sunset. On this particular night, a storm was rolling in, so I was lucky to catch some sunlight before the clouds covered the landscape in shadow.

The challenge was making sure I had all of the flowers in focus because it required a focus stack, and the wind was starting to pick up. I was lucky to get them decently sharp and was happy with the result. My kids love to climb this hill to see the view as well.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Bring Out Contrasts

Image by ​Mitch Boeck

Pro Tip

​I know you’ve heard this before, but follow the light! Light adds so much to a photo, bringing out those contrasts and providing a more dynamic look. The best photos can happen at the most unexpected moments, so make sure to get out of the house as much as you can.

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3. “It helps to have the sun lighting up the hillside, so if clouds are passing through, wait for the shadows to clear.”
MODpix
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Wait for Shadows to Clear

Image by ​MODpix​. Gear: Canon 6D camera, Canon 24-105mm lens. Settings: Focal length 24mm; exposure 1/100 sec; f11; ISO 100.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

This spring, we had a lot of rain in Southern California, which created this wildflower super bloom. I first noticed some posts on Facebook about the Walker Canyon wildflowers, and I had to see them for myself. The hills were so alive, and the colors stunned me. I followed the trail out, shot some photos, and flew my drone to capture this rare event from every angle I could.

MODpixMODpix

mosaic__mobile-caption">Pictured: [1] MODpix [2] MODpix

Pro Tip

It helps to have the sun lighting up the hillside, so if clouds are passing through, wait for the shadows to clear. Be aware of every element filling the frame to compose a well-balanced shot, and ​t​ry a few different vantage points.

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4. “I photograph what speaks to me, and I’m guided by my gut.”
Dawn Mitchell​
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Follow Your Gut

Image by ​Dawn Mitchell​. Gear: Canon EOS Rebel T3i camera, 18-55mm lens. Settings: Exposure 1/40 sec; f18; ISO 100.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada is one of my favorite places because it’s off the beaten path. The park is rich with wildlife, flowers, lakes, waterfalls, and spectacular mountain vistas. The village itself is exactly what you would picture a small mountain village to be: authentic, rustic, and scenic.

I took this photo on July 2nd, 2018, only ten months after a wildfire had swept through the park. 39% of the park was burned (thankfully, the village was untouched), and I wanted to see the effect of the fire. When I arrived, I found an incredible meadow of wildflowers. They say that wildfires fulfill a critical ecosystem function with the positive ecological effects outweighing the negative. Perhaps this photo is proof of that.

It is quite remarkable how life bounces back so quickly and beautifully. I have other photos of burned and fallen trees, but all through the charred remains, there were signs of new growth. Seeing those signs so soon after the devastation was inspiring and unforgettable.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Listen to Your Intuition

Image by ​Dawn Mitchell​

Pro Tip

Listen to your intuition. I photograph what speaks to me, and I’m guided by my gut. Sometimes, I’m driving down the road, and I have to stop because something catches my eye. Quite often, I will return to a certain spot at different times of the day and different times of the year and take the same shot. Sometimes these photos are just as spectacular as the first, and sometimes the moment can never be recaptured.

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5. “Bring a tripod and shutter release cable for your camera.”
John Andrus
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Bring a Tripod

Image by ​John Andrus​. Gear: Nikon D750 camera, Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens. Settings: Focal length 52mm; exposure 1/200 sec; f16; ISO 200.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

We had much more rain last winter than we usually get in the Mojave Desert, so in April, my friend (and fellow photographer) Gary Beckstrum and I set out early one morning in search of wildflowers.

We had been out the previous week in the deserts around us without much success, so we drove up into the mountains west of Ridgecrest (California) towards Lake Isabella and Kernville. Along the way, we came across a few patches of wildflowers but nothing spectacular, so we went further into the mountains beyond Kernville.

After about thirty minutes, we were getting discouraged, and we were almost ready to call it a day. We found a place to turn around near a dirt road leading up and over a hill, and on a whim, we stopped and hiked up the road.

To our surprise, we found fields of wildflowers. We stood there for about five minutes just taking in the colors and the sweet fragrance filling the air. After recovering from our discovery, we went back to the car, retrieved our camera gear, and started shooting. It was a beautiful spring day with blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Try a Shutter Release

Image by ​John Andrus

Pro Tip

Bring a tripod and shutter release cable for your camera. Use an f-stop of f/11 or more to get all the details in the foreground and background in focus.

Website | Instagram

6. “I have an app on my phone that shows the path of the sun through the sky in relation to where I am at any given time.”
Laura Jarriel
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Know the Sun's Path

Image by ​Laura Jarriel​. Gear: Canon 5D Mark IV camera, Canon 70mm-200mm lens. Settings: Focal length 200mm; exposure 1/4,000 sec; f2.8; ISO 200.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

I took this picture at a beautiful park reserve called Crow-Hassan. I love hiking the prairies in Minnesota during the summer because the landscape looks totally from one week to the next. On this particular day, I wanted to document the monarch migration through Minnesota down to Mexico. It just so happened that the monarchs love these tall, bright purple flowers. The contrast in color caught my eye, as did the ​huge number of butterflies concentrated in that one spot.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Look for Contrast

Image by ​Laura Jarriel

Pro Tip

I have an app on my phone that shows the path of the sun through the sky in relation to where I am at any given time. I’m always able to predict things ahead of time and know where my light is coming from. My app of choice is called Star Map, and it’s free! It’s especially helpful on cloudy days and at sunrise and sunset.

Website | Instagram

7. “Visualize the photo you want, and then scout the area to find it.”
Diane Fetzner
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Visualize What You Want

Image by ​Diane Fetzner​. Gear: ​Canon 5D Mark III​ camera, ​Canon ​24-105 L​ lens. Settings: Focal length ​24mm; exposure ​1/90​ sec; ​f8​; ISO ​100​.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

I took this photo on the Paradise side of Mt. Rainier, where I volunteer as a Meadow Rover. Our basic duty is to help visitors with any questions they may have and to keep them on trail and out of the flowers.

It was a gorgeous year for wildflowers, and they were at peak. I was hiking as many trails as possible, looking for that perfect shot with the flowers and the mountain, while still staying on trail.

I found a trail that was not heavily traveled and discovered my shot. If only the camera could have captured the smell as well as the beauty! The smell of the flowers was intoxicating, and I will always remember it when I look at this photo.

Diane FetznerDiane Fetzner

Pictured: [1] Diane Fetzner [2] Diane Fetzner

Pro Tip

Visualize the photo you want, and then scout the area to find it. Look for unique angles by getting low and then getting high. I look for landscapes that evoke emotions, and I try to capture that in my photos.

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8. “Anticipate the elements a designer or art director will look for in the images they buy.”
Edmund Lowe Photography
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Anticipate the Photo's Purpose

Image by ​Edmund Lowe Photography​. Gear: Nikon D700 camera, Nikkor 70-300mm Zoom lens. Settings: Focal length 300mm; exposure 1/320 sec; f7.1; ISO 400.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

The Heliotrope Ridge trail shares access to a popular climbing route on Mount Baker. I have been hiking the trails around Mt. Baker in northwest Washington state for over forty years, but I’d never hiked this trail in August. I knew the wildflowers would be out, but I had no idea that they would be in peak season.

When I arrived, flowers carpeted the area as far as the eye could see: Indian paintbrush, lupine, valerian, corn lilies, heather, yellow arnicas, and more. As a bonus, I was the foot of the magnificent Mt. Baker peak and the Coleman glacier.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Always Shoot in RAW

Image by ​Edmund Lowe Photography

Pro Tip

When the light is not ideal, shoot a burst of bracketed images in shutter speed to merge to HDR. ​Always​ shoot in RAW format. Carry a tripod and shutter release whenever possible for optimum sharpness. Don’t forget your polarizer for color saturation and neutral density filters for shooting “silky” water.

Anticipate the elements a designer or art director will look for in the images they buy. Shoot both horizontal and vertical formats, and leave room for copy on the top and/or side of the frame. And, most importantly, wait for the best light.

Website | Flickr

9. “The most interesting images come from changing your perspective, so get down to ground level and shoot through the plants.”
KarenHBlack
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Change Your Perspective

Image by ​KarenHBlack​. Gear: Nikon D7000 camera, AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm lens. Settings: Focal length 195mm; exposure 1/500 sec; f5; ISO 1600.

What’s the story behind this photo?

I am most at home when I am immersed in nature. I took this photo at a local botanic garden in Sydney, where they showcase Australia’s unique and stunning flora. I regularly visit the gardens because there is always something new from one month to the next, and I love seeing buds develop into flowers that then develop into fruits. It’s a changing landscape on a small scale.

On this particular afternoon, soft light shone through these Australian native Mulla Mulla flowers. Their mauve feathery flower heads were beautifully backlit, and the shadows gave the scene a magical, moody feel. They are a spectacular wildflower, especially en masse. It was quite mesmerizing watching them dance around in the breeze.

KarenHBlackKarenHBlack

Pictured: [1] KarenHBlack [2] KarenHBlack

Pro Tip

Finding amazing landscapes to photograph does not mean you need to travel long distances. Try visiting national parks and botanic gardens in your local area, or even your own backyard.

The most interesting images come from changing your perspective, so get down to ground level and shoot through the plants. This technique works well with a telephoto lens to isolate a flower in the distance, whilst having other plants right up close to the lens to create a dreamy transparent mist of color.

Most importantly, when you immerse yourself in nature, respect the local flora and wildlife. Leave them as you found them for the rest of the world to enjoy.

Website | Instagram

10. “Amazing landscapes can be found everywhere.”
Diana Mower
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Look Close By

Image by ​Diana Mower​. Gear: ​Nikon D5100​ camera, ​18-55mm​ lens. Settings: Focal length 44mm​; exposure ​1/40​ sec; f9; ISO ​200​.

What’s the story behind this photo?

I visit my local Essex woodlands every spring to photograph these beautiful bluebells. On this particular day, the scent of the full-blown flowers filled my nostrils as I walked, and the dappled sunlight seemed to complete the scene.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Seek Local Beauty

Image by ​Diana Mower

Pro Tip

​Amazing landscapes can be found everywhere. You can find them in faraway countries, but you can also discover them in your local woodland, beach, or riverside. If you look for beauty in your everyday surroundings, you will find it.

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11. “Let the scene guide your eye, and focus on the elements you feel drawn to the most.”
Joey Reuteman
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Let the Scene Guide Your Eye

Image by ​Joey Reuteman​. Gear: ​Canon 6D​ camera, ​24-105mm​ lens. Settings: Focal length 46mm​; exposure ​1/60​ sec; f18; ISO ​100​.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

​I’ll never forget the June afternoon I captured this photo at the Acorn Creek Trail, just north of Silverthorne, Colorado. Based on my conversations with other local hikers and my research online, I knew that the lupine wildflower was nearing its peak season. Not only is this trailhead a hotbed for the wildflower, but it also provides one of the best (if not the best) views of the Gore Range as seen from the East.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Shoot What Draws You

Image by ​Joey Reuteman

Pro Tip

Look for landscapes that invigorate you—the ones that make you yearn for something beyond your current circumstances. Let the scene guide your eye, and focus on the elements you feel drawn to the most. Capture the interactions between all those powerful details, and then share your experience with others.

Instagram

12. “Any landscape I photograph has to move me.”
Rosemary Woller
Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Find Landscapes that Move You

Image by ​Rosemary Woller​. Gear: ​Nikon D750​ camera, ​Sigma 24-70mm 2.8​ lens. Settings: Focal length 52mm; exposure 1/400 sec; f22; ISO 640.

What’s the story behind this photo?​

I took this photo last 4th of July. It was a leisurely morning, followed by a hike with a friend. We chose Shrine Mountain Trail near Copper Mountain, Colorado because it’s only four miles long and has incredible views. My friend had told me there would be wildflowers, but I didn’t know what to expect.

When we got to the ridge, these flowers were everywhere! We couldn’t help but spend at least twenty minutes photographing them. On one side of the ridge, we could see Mount of the Holy Cross with Vail in the background, and the other, there was Copper Mountain.

These flowers remind me of little fireworks. Last summer, the firework show was canceled due to dryness and fire restrictions in the mountains, but I had these natural explosions of color to celebrate the 4th of July.

Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes — Find Meaning

Image by ​Rosemary Woller​

Pro Tip

Any landscape I photograph has to move me. Pictures are easy to take these days, so I want to capture places that genuinely mean something to me. My favorite photos are the ones I return to again and again.

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Top Image by ​Diane Fetzner​.

Want more tips for shooting incredible landscapes? Check these out.

6 Secrets for Capturing Reflections in Your Landscape Photos
7 Photographers on Shooting the World’s Most Surreal Landscapes
4 Landscape Photography Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid
6 Photographers on Taking Stunning Landscape Photos Around the World
From Rainforests to Fiords: Discover New Zealand’s Distinctly Diverse Landscapes

The post Inspiration from 12 Breathtaking Wildflower Landscapes appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.

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