Sunflower Fields Forever
Updated: Aug 18, 2021
As summer comes to an end, I wanted to share the photos I took at the sunflower maze back in June and share some tips for next summer.
It was the first year our city had a sunflower field. There are other options for sunflower fields but this was the first time it was in our own backyard. Trader's Village had 10 acres of various types of sunflowers and photographers all over the city were beyond excited. I've seen sunflower field photos from other photographers and they're always so magical looking with the sun peeking over the tops of the flowers.
But, I knew it'd be wise to check out the fields first before I start inviting clients to this new location or plan on offering mini sessions. I do this for all of the locations I offer to my clients. All photographers are constantly scouting for new locations. We look into various factors for what makes an ideal location for different types of photo sessions. What may work for an individual's portrait session may not be the best suggestion for a family of six.
Two of my fellow photographer friends met up with me at the sunflower field one Saturday morning along with a family who offered to be our models. It's one thing to go to a location and see what it looks like, its another to see what it looks like with an actual client. How the sunlight falls on their face, how tall grass is compared to a child, how easy it is to find or maneuver around for parents, all become more obvious when you bring someone with you on location scouting. Also, having sample photos of what one's images could look like at that spot is helpful to show a client.
The sunflower maze was only open on the weekends for a few weeks in June. It was supposed to open earlier but because of how crazy our weather had been this year, the flowers weren't anywhere close to being in bloom at their initial opening date in May. By the time it was ready, it was really hot outside. We ran into a few obstacles and ultimately decided against minis here.
Since the maze was only open from 10 am until 5 pm, that meant you were out in the filed during the hottest times of the day, when the sun was high. The higher the sun, the more shadows there will be on your face. For example, shadows under your eyes, nose, and mouth will show up naturally. Then there will be harsher shadows (higher contrast) from anything between you and the sun, like a 5 ft tall sunflower. This makes posing more limiting or more of a challenge. As you can see from our images, it's definitely doable but its a different look from the soft morning light or warm golden hour glows in the evening.
Not only was it open during the hottest time of day, but it was only open on Saturdays and Sundays. This limited window meant everyone who wanted to visit was there at the same time. We arrived right at 10 am and the line was already very long by the time we entered with our wrist bands (another less favorable aspect from a style/editing point of view). Although there are a few locations in San Antonio where photographers go for photos that are pretty crowded, especially during busy season, we try our best to go places when the spot is free of other people. When a location is busy, you spend a lot of time find areas where people won't be in the way. It can also be noisy and hard to hear the photographer's directions. Also, being in front of a camer