5 easily avoidable mistakes cherry blossom hunters still do in 2023

Have you ever walked by a blossoming cherry tree and been completely overwhelmed by its beauty? It happens to me every year.

I just want to bottle up that striking display of charm and delicacy hoping that cherry blossoms will help me survive the inevitable gloomy winter days. Blooming sakuras have simply become the ultimate sign of spring. Despite their growing popularity and hanami festivals being organized in every country, not just Japan, somehow sakura blossoms manage to retain their original exotic and mystical flavor.
Maybe it’s because we can’t really take cherry blossoms for granted. One day they are here, fragrant and fragile, but, if the weather goes crazy, the next day they can be gone.

I have been photographing portraits with cherry and apple blossoms since 2011. Every season, short, long, warm or freezing, taught me new valuable skills. Every season I see photographers, both pro and enthusiasts, making the same mistakes. If you don’t want to be one of them, read on…

5 easily avoidable mistakes cherry blossom hunters still do in 2023

  • Waiting for good weather
  • Not caring what your model wears
  • Missing the small and big picture
  • You need an alley
  • Bad skills in avoiding crowds

Let’s have a look at them in more detail.

1. Waiting for good weather

You don’t have to do that. And you shouldn’t do that. As soon as you learn that the sakuras are blooming, grab your camera and go go go! Especially if the weather is bad. Because the blossoming beauty is equally striking in rain and snow as in sunshine. And also because, if the weather sucks, chances are the crowds will be sitting at home watching Ricky Gervais’ After Life 3 on Netflix.

2. Not caring what your model wears

If you are shooting portraits – and yes, a picture of your dog is a portrait – you need to think a little bit about what your models should wear. Though, maybe not your dog. 🙂 Color theory is a good tool and you want to shoot with complementary, analogous or monochromatic colors.
pastel colors color wheel

Use 2 colors on the opposing side of the color wheel – in our case opposing the light pink of cherry blossoms is light blue.
oposing colors on color wheel complementary

Use 3 colors surrounding your main color – in our case shades of violet and orange.

If you are going to be converting your images to black and white, don’t forget that the darkness of color is translating to darkness of grey. Cherry blossoms will come out rather light – so either use dark colors to make your model stand out or very light colors to match your sakuras.

3. Missing the small and big picture

Mostly people shoot what photographers call the half body shot. It looks like this.

You want to photograph all three types of portraits, though. The full body portrait, the half body portrait and the head shot.

It also translates to nature photography – though I am no master landscape photographer. If you are looking for one, let me suggest the amazingly talented nature photographers Mikael Rantalainen and Lars Kastilan – my gods, heroes and friends.

4. You need an alley

Obviously, since I am listing this as a mistake, you don’t actually need an alley. Or a park. Or even a big tree. I know your heart aches for ancient cherry trees from Japanese travel blogs, views of Fuji mountain in the background to complete it, but if Japan is slightly out of reach for you, you can do amazing things with even a single branch. Let me show you an image I created with (not a cherry tree) tiny bush with about 50 cm of flowers.

This is a single cherry tree amidst grey concrete apartment buildings.

5. Bad skills in avoiding crowds

I thought huge crowds won’t be a problem in the new normal, when the rest of the world finally adopted what Finns have known for millennia – that social distancing is a good thing. Then the Helsinki city introduced vendor carts, live music and other entertainment into Roihuvuoren kirsikkapuisto and voila! All 5,5 mil inhabitants of Finland move on that hill when the pink goodness blooms. So you will need these tips:

The first skill to avoid crowds is to shoot slightly upwards. Crouch and shoot up.

Secondly, improve your timing. Coming to shoot at 3pm on a 20 degree day means everybody and their auntie are having a picnic under the cherry trees.

Thirdly, if your timing is bad and you can’t avoid crowds, you can make them part of your images and go for a more documentary feeling.

And lastly, if you can’t avoid crowds and hate them in your pictures, I teach a short and powerful Photoshop process how to make crowds and other distractions disappear in the EDIT cherry and apple blossom portraits online course. Below is a few seconds long edit.

It’s not perfect, if you look closely, but if you spend more than 3 seconds (but less than 1 minute), you can make it as perfect as your heart desires.

If you want to know more about how to create and edit the cherry blossom portraits, you can learn


in the easy and comprehensive online courses CREATE and EDIT cherry and apple blossom portraits.

When you start spotting cherry trees blooming around Helsinki, Roihuvuori kirsikkapuisto is usually still in a Sleeping Beauty mode, which means you have plenty of time to discover the best ways how to create and edit striking sakura blossom portraits.

Learn in the instantly accessible online course and impress your friends, family, followers AND yourself with beautiful and captivating cherry blossom portraits when the spring finally arrives. And what’s best about the course?

  • No-fail tips
  • Lifetimes access
  • Easy strategy that will immediately improve your portraits
  • Learn all in less than 1 hour
  • Money-back guarantee

You can also buy the create and edit courses as a bundle!

See you on the inside!