3 tips for shooting spectacular summer photography.
Learn how to capture sunny summer moments for warmth that'll last all year.
There's a lot to love about the summer. Longer days and extra sunshine. Vacations, adventures, time to relax, and the feeling of life buzzing all around you. It's a special time of year — a time you want to bottle up and save for a dreary winter day. But it can be hard to capture just right.
Learn more about how to put your camera to use to get to the essence of those fleeting, brilliant summer moments. These summer photography tips and tricks are sure to warm up your coldest days.
What makes summer photography so special?
The summer sun is perhaps the season’s most defining feature — it’s out longer, it's brighter, and it's warmer in tone. Its presence (and absence) can affect your summer photoshoot's entire look and feel.
Check the weather before heading out on site — it will help you understand how best to shoot in the outdoor light. For example, look for cloud cover information, the sun's position in the sky, and sunrise, sunset, and civil twilight times.
- Cloud cover can create a softer, more diffuse look for your summer photography — perfect for whimsical portraits and ethereal forest photography.
- High noon in full sun, however, will create high-contrast, dramatic light and shadow that can make shooting a little trickier. This kind of sun is best for cityscapes where you’re looking for interesting shadow play.
- Golden hours are stretched-out in summer, making them perfect for bright, bold, high-detailed shots for wildlife, portrait, and landscape photographers alike.
- The longer-lasting twilight hour can bring enchantment to photographs of camping setups, barbecues, fireflies, and other quintessential summer evening moments.
Similarly, summer's dramatic weather also makes the season special for photography. The sudden darkening of the sky before a summer rainstorm. The sun shower and rainbow. The windy mornings and breezy evenings. The dry heat or swampy humidity. Weather is a special summer photography consideration that you'll want to think about capturing.
Three creative summer photography tips.
Embrace what makes summer, summer with some of these seasonal subject tips.
- Focus on detail. It's easy to get caught up in beautiful summer subjects: blooming flowers, vibrant greenery, sweeping ocean vistas. But what feels like summer to you? The nostalgia of a scraped knee or a melted popsicle? A sprinkler peppering the front lawn? The neighborhood kickball game? An empty schoolyard? The more specific and detailed you can get with your summer subjects, the more evocative the photograph will be.
- Head outside. You don't even need to go far; a simple walk around the block can contain more nature, more mystery, and more beauty than you may have ever realized. Take advantage of the longer, sunnier summer days by getting outside more often and savoring your surroundings. Embracing this sort of perspective will help you visualize and compose seasonal landscape photographs that offer a new point of view on a place.
- Play with subjects. Try photographing the same subject every day for a week, or a month, or even the whole summer. See how the season changes the subject — be it a flower, a patch of grass, a tree — and how the light changes it, too. Stormy skies, golden hours, cloudy days, high noon. All of these lighting conditions create exciting and unique effects to evoke the feelings of summer.