Sunny summer days make for some phenomenal photo opportunities, but where is the best place to get a great summer photo, and when is the best time of day to shoot? We’ve got some summer photo tips from the experts to help get you started.
Head to the shore! There’s a lot of activity to photograph at the beach in the summer, and it’s a great place to practice using your wide angle lens or taking panoramic photos. Think about what kind of shots you want to take before heading out for the day to avoid changing lens once you’re in a sandy environment. Check the tides times and the weather forecast for the day, as the best time for beachscapes is usually just after high tide when the untouched sand is revealed.
Visit a local park. You can catch everything from a fun game of frisbee to a family picnic to that cute couple canoodling under a shade tree on a sunny summer afternoon. Play with using the sun’s flare to your advantage instead of trying to avoid it. Shoot your subjects from different angles, take photographs of subjects in both full sun and dappled shade, and have fun!
Face the sun. What? Doesn’t this put the subject’s face in shadow? Yes it does, but light coming from behind them helps separate the subject of your photo from the background. To counter the shadowy face problem, use exposure compensation. This may cause the background to become overexposed, but it’s better than making the person you’re shooting squint into the sun. For midday portraits on sunny days, have the sun behind your subject filtered through darker scenery, if possible, and have a reflector in front of the subject to bounce the light into the front of your photo. If you don’t have a reflector with you try using environmental reflectors such as beach sand or even that white house nearby to help brighten the face of your subject.
Use your filters. Filters are the easiest way to beautify your bright sun photos. Experiment with circular polarizing filters and neutral density filters until you’re comfortable with them. A circular polarizing filter will help improve water surface reflection and help define clouds.
Explore off the beaten path. Find those hidden gems in hard to get to places that not everyone knows or visits. Look for the unspoiled, the untouched, and venture off the well-trod path (literally) on those longer days when the extra hours of sunshine provide us with more opportunities to explore while the light lasts. Just be sure to either take a friend, a GPS, or both!
Shoot in black and white or convert to monochrome. Sometimes the harsh lighting conditions of a sunny summer day can be used to your advantage by switching to black and white or making monochrome conversions later. Look for deep shadows, interesting patterns of dark and light, and abstract images to change “bad lighting” into great photographs.
Shoot strangers, shoot family, take unique shots you’ve never thought of before, or recreate a summer childhood scene. Being outdoors on a sunny day filled with blooming flowers, puffy white clouds and azure skies is a great way to get some of the best photographs you’ll ever take.