I took a day off on Saturday, spending an amazing time with my friends and family in sunflowers. They are still blooming but not for long, so let me tell you where and when it is best to go there, along with a professional photography tip.
No professional photography here. I left the camera at home, just using my phone. I’ve already been to this location twice for my family photography clients and it was actually one of them who told me about a sunflower field just 25 minutes away, Sussex County Sunflower Maze.
Here’s the catch: these sunflowers only bloom for several weeks and being in the full bloom now, a week or two are left. If you are up for a unique background to shoot your family in sunflowers, go there this (or next the latest) weekend unless you can do a weekday. Weekends are busy, we had many people in the shots so it takes some strategic positioning.
Tip: As for timing, I strongly recommend mornings for three reasons. First, the flowers face east throughout the day. You’d also need to face the sun for best lighting so all of you will end up facing the same way and get the best light! We came in the afternoon so in order to see the sunflowers facing the camera, many family portraits had the sun setting in the west behind us, creating a tough backlit scenario. Your face becomes dark unless you use a professional camera with proper fill flash or have knowledge of retouching in post-production like I did here. Second, not only is the morning sun softer to look at but the lower light source may be more flattering for your face as opposed to the higher light creating shadows in your eye sockets. (Well, in my fashion photography I actually use that high-positioned light a lot but it you need to know how to overcome the disadvantages.) Lastly, less people around you are getting in your shots, especially if you come to the opening at 9 AM.
Among the wonders you’ll find are the sunflowers which are not even yellow! We spotted white, red, and almost black ones! If you’re up for some organic farm food right in the area, check out the Fresh Pickins Market a few minutes away. Finally, there is a store nearby, Cabin Creations By Marina, where we’re getting an addition to our rustic living room. Stop by to see if any handmade furniture there fits your call of nature!
To be safe, check the Sunflower Maze Facebook page for updates on the blooming situation before traveling. They post same-day photos to get an idea.
So, grab your own camera or phone, rent a car (public transportation is limited there) or drive yours for 1.5 hours from NYC, and enjoy this romantic sunflower field! Besides the usual families taking photos, I saw many Instagrammers working for their “likes” and racking up influence. If you need professional help to boost your artistic or creative effect, or a knowledgeable direction for your family in sunflowers, I’m in the area minutes away! I have a couple of weddings and shoots next two weekends but I can find a window for you, especially in the morning, or even easier, on a weekday (so much to do here on a day off work!)
Here is some of my family in sunflowers. Our elder daughters were partying in NYC that night, sorry to miss them here.
My dear client Inna, whose family we befriended lately, came from Long Island to visit our new home that day and joined our family in sunflowers. Neil and she took photos of us, including the cover of this story. Here’s how it was done, and behind the scenes of Veya flying up (Lara is hiding down, shooting from the ground):