The sunflowers are blooming right now, north of Spokane just past Deer Park. Before you head up there to take some photos of the flowers here are some tips that might help you take better photos of them.
Do you need a better camera? Probably not. You could even use your phone.
Wait until evening.
Did you know that sunflowers only face east? It’s true. That means most photos are taken when the photographer is facing west. Most of the time the photographer is looking for back lighting of the sunflowers because that tends to be the most dramatic and flattering light. When the sun is behind the photographer and shining directly on the face of the sunflower you see all the dust and imperfections of the sunflowers even more than when the sun is behind the flower. Also, it highlights the petals which kind of makes them shine.
If you do end up shooting earlier in the day I would advise for shots where the sunflower is contrasted with the sky. Fields of flowers in the harsh sun is not as attractive compared to a shot of the sunflower against the blue sky.
Use a variety of f-stops.
High f-stops is how you get the sunstar in the photos as the sun goes down. I usually try for that sunstar. However, if your camera allows it, change your f-stop for some variety. The typical setting is for a high f-stop so that more flowers are in focus. But using a low f-stop can be just as amazing! I like to treat the flower like it is a portrait and shoot it that way. The low f-stop causes the flowers in the background to be blurred while the flower up close is in focus. Don’t always shoot with the flower dead center either. Move it around in the frame some.
Wide angle lenses are nice when shooting large fields. It can make the field look soo much larger! I get really close to a couple of sunflowers and place them in the foreground. Then using a tripod or standing as still as possible I will shoot using a high f-stop for a picture of a large field of sunflowers with clear focus.
Don’t use a flash.
Using a flash will cause the flowers and everything in the background to disappear. Unless that is what you are going after, I would not use one.
Don’t worry too much about the weather.
Maybe you will get lucky and catch a lightning strike in the midst of the sunflowers. 🙂 I caught this one without using a remote trigger release too…. I got lucky.
Puffy clouds, dramatic sunsets and overcast days are all fun to work with. You can’t get a really cool shot of the sunset if there aren’t any clouds in the sky.
A friend of mine, Sudeep, was able to produce this amazing piece of artwork from one of the photos I took in Deer Park a couple of years ago. Amazing, isn’t it?