They're filling our Instagram timelines and clogging our Facebook feeds. The sunflower selfie has arrived in Raleigh, and we're nearing a critical mass.
Don't worry — this isn't an intervention. We want you to live your best life and get the best photo possible at the sunflower fields at Dix Park.
For those just catching up, here's a quick recap: The city of Raleigh planted five acres of sunflowers at Dix Park. They've officially bloomed. And it's become one of the hottest spots in the Triangle to take photos.
But you've got to hurry. The blooms will only last until the end of July. If you're going for the first time, park at the soccer fields off of Hunt Drive.
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We spoke to a couple of photographers for their best tips and tricks for taking the perfect sunflower photo.
Lighting is key
This was the first and number one tip suggested by all of the people we spoke to about capturing the perfect shot.
Liz Condo, a photographer with Heirloom Collective, suggested going out to the fields in the early morning or later in the evening to capture the "golden hour" of light. Or you can wait until the sun has completely set.
"Many people focus on getting photos at sunset, but I actually prefer the time after — during twilight," she said. "The light turns a lovely shade of bluish-purple that is both moody and soft."
Harsh shadows are not your friend, and that's what you're going to get if you go in the middle of the day. If that's the only time you can make it work, try to block the sun with your head to create an interesting halo affect.
For selfie snappers, Condo suggested spinning in a circle with your camera out to see how the light best hits your face. Yes, you will look silly, but take solace in the fact you're in the selfie know now.
Bring a friend, seriously
Or at least someone who can make you laugh. The best photos, selfie or not, are when you're relaxed, feeling confident and in a natural pose.
And if you're by yourself or your friend is feeling particularly unfunny, try a fake laugh.
"It seems silly and while it may feel awkward, it looks good on camera," said Giuliana Abaote, a photographer at Halifax Hill Studios. "And having someone to make you laugh is important because natural laughter is so much better than a posed smiling photo."
If you're bringing your little ones, make sure you bring snacks and toys to keep them distracted. If they feel like they're having fun instead of taking photos, you're going to get better photos. Fur babies have also made an appearance in the sunflower photos, so be sure to grab them before heading out. Just make sure they are wearing a leash.
Let the background shine
You're here because the sunflowers are the star of the show. Don't try to outshine them. Consider wearing basic, solid short-sleeve, button-down shirts or sundresses. White and blues were recommended as colors to wear. People encouraged to stay away from yellow. But we've seen some folks able to pull the look off. The most important thing is to be comfortable and feel confident in what you're wearing.
Consider getting up high to angle the photo down — it'll put more sunflowers into the photo and reduce the chances of people popping up in the background.
"Those sunflowers are pretty outstanding, and you don't want to compete with them too much," Condo said. "Wearing a color other than yellow would be good because you don't want to blend in and you don't want the pattern to distract from the flowers."
And, yes, channel your inner Kardashian or, in this case, Jenner. Realty television star Kylie Jenner once admitted to taking 500 selfies before finding the perfect one to post on Instagram. We're not here to judge. Several of our photographers suggested taking multiple photos with different angles, facial expressions and backgrounds to find the perfect photo that makes you happy.
Don't go on the weekend (with one upcoming exception)
Seriously, the crowds have been intense on the weekends so if you want to skip the parking headache and the random family photobombing your photo, try to come on a weekday. If you can't swing it, try to go early in the morning or in the evening to skip the crowds.
Abbi Hale, a photographer at Inspirational Photography, suggests making a beeline to the back corners of the fields away from the parking spots. Fewer people make the trip, and you'll have a better chance of avoiding people.
But there is one exception to the weekend rule.
This Saturday, July 14, is SunFest. From 2 to 7 p.m., there will be food trucks, breweries, vendors, performance artists, arts and crafts at the Flower Fields at Dix Park — within walking distance of the sunflowers. You're encouraged to bring your kids and shop at the local businesses who will be there. A bluegrass concert featuring Shiloh Hill will start at 5:30 p.m.
The city will have a photo booth to help you remember the sunny afternoon, so it's the perfect time to try these suggestions. The event is free, but people are encouraged to register in advanced at www.eventbrite.com/e/sunfest-at-dix-park-tickets-47306326496.
Remember you're outdoors
Yes, the sunflowers are beautiful and we want you to get the perfect photo, but you're still out in nature. Bring water, sunscreen and even a portable fan if you've got it. It's important to stay hydrated. Plus that will help you look less sweaty in your photos.
Wear bug spray and look out for bees and other creepy crawlies. And you do have to walk through grass to get to the field, so close-toed shoes are recommended. You can manage in sandals, but skip the wedges or heels. The last thing you need is someone to snap a photo of your-not-so-graceful-fall.