Photographing Sun Flowers – Look. See. Imagine. Create.


Everyone loves a giant Sunflower.  They just make you smile. Photographing them is fairly straight forward, but here is how we did it when we visited Lompoc, CA last fall.



First, you have to find some sun flowers to photograph.  We were opportunistic last year when we went to Lompoc to photograph the flower fields.  While scouting locations, we came upon a row of sunflowers used as a dividing line between two fields.  We figured out fairly quickly that we had stumbled upon a great subject.  Remember, sometimes the best subject and composition are NOT the ones you planned on.



Though we really really really recommend using a tripod, sometimes you just can’t AND this can give you angles and compositions not possible on a tripod.  Here, Mary decided to use a 24 mm wide-angle lens to get really close to make the cover photo.



In the field, we made landscape and portrait orientations.  We used various depths of field.  We played with different combinations of compositions.  We used the “rule of thirds” and put the flowers in one of the power spots (see our popular blog about the rule of thirds.)  Again, when you have time, like we did here, “work the subject.”  Look high.  Get low.  Walk around and change backgrounds and foregrounds.



I think the unusual and startling output discovery here is that the yellow and green colorful sunflower came out great in black and white.  Here is Mary’s short blog about how she made this photograph.

Please browse our site for more blog posts about how to photograph flowers.

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  1. Loretta S

    Hi, Peter and Mary, thanks for the behind the scenes insight, interesting. Question, are you asking permission before you venture onto the farms? So many “no trespassing” signs here on Long Island. Never been quite sure what to do, not wanting any issues. And many times, no one around to ask anyway. Wondering…

    1. pamphotography

      No, but we tried not to go on the farms. I read that if you stay on the road and shoulder you are ok. We walked a few paces into the sunflowers, but we did not walk along the flowers beds. I did bring a six foot ladder in my jeep to get high and shoot down on the rows of flowers. It was clear to me that the sunflowers were filler and not the main crop. Thanks for the note and talk soon.

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