While people in Vancouver are enjoying the start of spring and the beginning of cherry blossom season, some professional photographers are relieved the blossoms are finally coming out.
Environment Canada is reporting that spring temperatures are lower than average. According to Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, springtime temperatures in B.C. are “two degrees Celsius below the historical average”. The “colder-than-average spring” season has pushed back the cherry blossom bloom in Vancouver, and portrait photographers’ income is affected significantly.
This delay has impacted photographers like Jason Yuan, who has over 30,000 followers on social media. He has shot cherry blossoms for 10 years. His spring photography income heavily relies on spring break and Easter break as more clients are available during the breaks. He usually starts shooting portraits for clients with the early blooming around March 10, but this year he had to postpone it until March 23 when he finally captured the cherry blossoms in Burnaby, missing out on the whole spring break.
“March 23 is usually the time for peak bloom, but for this year, the blossoms are still in their early stage,” said Yuan.
In previous years, he would receive 10 to 15 requests for portrait photoshoots during spring break, charging $400 to $500 for a set. Cherry Blossom photoshoots accounted for 85% of his spring break income last year. Unfortunately, this spring break, he received few requests due to the delayed bloom, resulting in a significant loss of income amounting to over $5000. Instead of shooting outdoors, he finds himself spending most of his time at home editing the photos he took earlier. “I explained the situation to my clients. But many of them said they don't have the time for portraits after spring break. The two-week delay of cherry blossom makes me unable to generate my usual springtime revenue," said Yuan.
Carmen Cho, another photographer based in Vancouver, has also been “frustrated” with the delayed bloom of cherry blossoms. She has shot cherry blossom for three years.
"This time of year is usually busy for me capturing portraits with cherry blossoms, but instead, I found myself sitting in the car watching a hailstorm," said Cho.
On April 1, a hailstorm hit West Vancouver, further adding to the challenges that photographers like Cho and Yuan are facing this spring.
She has offered to reschedule cherry blossom portraits after spring break to keep her business going, although she acknowledges that some clients may not have the flexibility to do so.
“As a photographer, capturing cherry blossoms is one of the highlights of the year. It's disappointing to see the delay, and it means that I've had to pivot and find other ways to make up for the lost income,” said Cho.
Cho has taken some orders for UBC graduation photos, charging around $200 per order. Although she's happy to have some other business during this time, she's hoping she can return to her usual springtime routine and capture more lucrative cherry blossom portraits.
“It's been a challenging spring for us photographers. Now I'm overjoyed to finally see the cherry blossoms in bloom,” said Cho.
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