Carlsbad flower fields
On the first day of April, I experienced one of Southern California’s most beloved spring traditions: 50 acres of vibrant flowers stretched across a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch is open now through May 14 and offers visitors a stunning display of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus bulbs. It’s the perfect setting for an easy spring photoshoot – once you’ve weeded out a few issues.

The fields open at 9am daily, which is pretty ideal for photographers near the coast because it’s after the marine layer has cleared. But my fiancé Michael and I arrived around 10am, close to peak visitation time. The entrance was cramped with flowers, gazebos, vined altars, couples, children and a brazen sun that cast harsh shadows in all of our shots.

Overwhelmed, we made our way to a row of local vendors and discovered Earthflwr, a flower crown-making service by Houston artist Joy Jones. After purchasing one of her handmade pieces, we headed to the main attraction: a sprawling hillside of colorful flowers. The area was so vast that it was much easier to find a secluded spot to shoot.

carlsbad flower fields

I’m wearing: Out From Under Betsey Floral bodysuit and a flower crown by EarthFlwr

I really loved our portrait work. After turning 30 earlier that week, I wasn’t sure how I was adjusting to life out of my 20s. But shooting amongst a sea of flowers really lifted my spirits. I think these are some of the most gorgeous photos I’ve ever taken.

Of course, I wasn’t alone: The Carlsbad Flower Fields were crawling with models. Most of them wore bright spring dresses and some had flower crowns like mine. It was fun to see how others were creatively taking on the colorful landscape.

Whether you’re planning to shoot with a model or just want some beautiful landscape shots, one thing to remember is you’ll need a wide-angle lens to give this scene its due diligence. I only brought a 55mm prime lens that day so I struggled to capture the depth of the field’s rolling hills and the gorgeous view of the ocean that sat beyond it. But looking at what my lens was able to shoot, Michael did a phenomenal job at enhancing the photo and removing background noise to showcase the fields how we envisioned it ourselves. Take a look at his handy work below:

carlsbad flower fields

 AfterCarlsbad flower fields

Planning to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields? Check their website for the 2018 season dates. And check out more of my portrait and lifestyle photography here