Different seasons call for different photography strategies and tools! With the washed out colour scheme of winter over, you are probably very excited to capture the vibrant colours of summer, but it is important to keep in mind that you will need to go about your summer photographs very differently. Keep reading to learn how to approach your summer photography so this season’s photos can be your best yet!
1. Tell the Story of Your Summer
Summer is a time when many memories are made. Days at the beach, vacations with friends and family, and tons of other fun in the sun makes for a season jam-packed with memories that you want to capture. As photography is a form of communication, you want your summer photos to communicate the feelings you had, and the memories you made. Show your viewers what summer means to you and capture summer as a theme and a feeling, rather than just an environmental condition.
2. Use Colour Effectively
Winter tends to make everything colourless, but by the time summer rolls around, everything is filled with colour. Take advantage of that! Photography brightly coloured umbrellas or beach balls, bright blue skies, vibrant flowers and more!
With all of these colours, it is important to use colour strategically in your photographs, and to understand how colours work together and the different moods that certain colours will portray. Warm colours like red, orange, and yellow, for example, lend an impression of heat to your photographs. Cool colours – blue, green, and purple – act as a contrast to the intensity of warm colours and create a feeling of refreshment. For example, the blue of a swimming pool could remind your viewer of the cool, refreshing feeling of the water on a hot day.
3. Avoid Harsh Light
Even though the bright summer sun is beautiful and warm and everyone loves to shoot in natural light, the sunniest days are often the worst times to take photos. The bright, intense, midday sunlight can create dark shadows on people’s faces or cause them to squint if they are facing the sun.
To avoid this, try to shoot in the shade as much as you can, in order to soften the light on your subject and improve the conditions for your photo. If you are shooting directly in the sun, it will be beneficial to use a diffuser. A diffuser will filter the sunlight and soften by scattered the rays of light, reducing glare and harsh shadows. This will eliminate unattractive contrast and even out the tonality of your photographs. There are many options available when it comes to diffusers, but if you do not have one or cannot get one, you can create one by having a friend assist by holding up a white bed sheet or shower curtain, which will provide a similar effect.
A foolproof way to avoid harsh light is to simply not shoot at the brightest times of day. Take advantage of golden hour and shoot in the hour after sunrise, and the hour before sunset. At these points in the day, the sun’s rays are coming down at an angle, creating longer and softer shadows, and a much gentler light for your photographs.
4. Use Filters
While blue skies are a summer icon, it can be hard to capture them because of the intense sunlight. To help deepen the blues of your skies, use a polarizing filter. In addition to allowing you to capture deeper blue skies and emphasizing clouds, a polarizing filter will cut back on glare and reflection on everyday summer surfaces, such as water or sunglasses.
Another useful filter for summer photography is a graduated neutral density filter. This fitler is great for situations where you may need on exposure setting for the sky, and another for the ground. For example, a graduated neutral density filter is ideal for sunset shots. If you do not have a physical graduated neutral density filter for your camera, there is a graduated neutral density filter tool within Lightroom that you can use to achieve a similar effect.
5. Shoot in RAW
Just like any other season or style of photography: shoot in RAW! With so many variables in lighting, colours, and other aspects of your photo, it is always in your best interest to shoot in RAW so that you have the room to edit where you need to. If your photos are overexposed or underexposed because of how the bright summer sun reacted with your camera settings, you will want to edit your photos afterwards so you can make them look their best. You will be able to edit a lot more if you shoot in RAW format, rather than in JPEG!
Now that you have these tips under your belt, you are ready to go out and capture some gorgeous summer shots! These tips are just the basics, so once you have mastered them, have some fun and experiment with different things to create some creative photos and further develop your photography skills.