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Photographer Jason Yuan is capturing late blooming cherry blossoms

Vancouver’s late cherry blossoms bring joy and jobs for photographers

Below-Normal Temperatures in Vancouver Are Pushing Back Cherry Blossom Bloom By Two Weeks.

By Yuqi Feng , in City , on May 7, 2023

Cherry trees are in full bloom in Vancouver weeks later than usual and that is good news for city photographers.

“I’m so relieved to see they’re finally coming out. Now, it’s a chance to make some money”, said local photographer Jason Yuan.

Vancouver’s cherry trees are a significant attraction for domestic and international tourists. More than 15,900 cherry trees line Vancouver’s streets. The beauty of the blossoms makes the city a popular destination for photography.

“Spring break is usually our busy time of year”, said Yuan. He says families often book photo shoots while their children have time off from school.

But, this year, with cool temperatures and a late spring Yuan says he lost several thousand dollars in business as he waited for the trees to bloom.

“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 blossoms makes me unable to generate my usual springtime revenue,” said Yuan.

In previous years, once the spring sunshine arrived Yuan would receive 10 to 15 requests for portrait photographs. Last year, he made a significant portion of his annual income during cherry blossom season. For the past ten years, he’s been able to make a profit charging up to $400 to $500 per session. This year, Yuan estimates he lost roughly five thousand dollars.

Carmen Cho can relate. She also shoots photos in Vancouver and she found this spring frustrating.

Cho’s clients pose in front of blooming cherry blossom trees for a family portrait. Photo: Carmen Cho

“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.

Cho tried to reschedule cherry blossom portraits after spring break, but for some clients that wasn’t possible. 

“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 has some other business during this time, she is hoping next year 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 and I can take pictures,” said Cho.

The delay of cherry blossoms not only affected full-time photographers but also part-time photographers like Wilson Huang. He is a student at UBC who has a passion for photography. Over the past years, he has been working as a part-time photographer to support his studies.

This year he got five job essentially cutting his business was cut in half. Even then it was challenging as he found himself shooting in the rain. 

Photographer Huang carries a light stand on campus.

“My mood was as gloomy as the bad weather. But now, all the cherry blossoms have bloomed and my final exams are over. I’m happy I can make up for the lost time and shoot more photos,” said Huang.