Who is ready for summer? We sure are! Since summer is just around the corner we put together this creative list of summer photography ideas just for you. Being locked indoors all winter may have gotten you down, but now you have something to look forward to!
Summer is full of inspiration and color! Let’s dive into the top 25 summer photography ideas to get you started!
Photography Ideas for Summers
These examples will jumpstart your creativity and prepare you to create beautiful summer photos!
1. Cool Down
Nothing is better on a sunny day than getting wet! Have you ever tried photographing moving water? If you want to capture great photos and get creative at the same time, try incorporating some water! This can be throwing a glass of water, shooting a wave, or even having a friend pose for you as they get a splash to the head. They will thank you later if it’s a super warm summer day.
Summer photography should be full of vibrant colors and contrast. Look for color in nature, around the home, and in restaurants! The brighter the better! Photos that mix and play with colors draw the viewer’s eye straight into your image.
Try to create fun images by incorporating contrasting colors or even having yourself or your friends wear vibrant colors while you shoot them. Even more, play with light as you mix up your color combinations.
3. Summer Food
Summertime is all about BBQs, fresh seafood, and getting outside to enjoy the weather. Next time you meet up with friends, try this type of food photography. Look for fruits and veggies that are in season.
You can add in a splash of color with fruit and cocktails and take advantage of the summertime light to highlight your table designs. Explore food photography in new ways this summer!
Who doesn’t enjoy a getaway during the summer season? Make your holiday come to life with excellent photos. Most photographers love bringing their camera along on travels and it’s the perfect time to test out new lenses, perspectives, and fun angles. Photographing your vacation should be at the top of your summer photography ideas!
Whether you are on a beach, mountain, or city there is usually some sort of fun sport happening nearby. Shooting sports can be a great way to test your knowledge of exposure and to capture summer in action. Play around the direction and angle of the sun when shooting players to see what looks best and makes your shots more life-like.
Take advantage of the summer season of cocktails! What could be better than sitting beachside, toes in the sand, with a cocktail in your hand? Many of us will likely be sipping a few by the ocean if we are lucky and they can make for great subject matter! Cocktails are usually colorful and fruity and make for the perfect outdoor subject. Try using a landscape as your backdrop as you focus on your delicious drink!
7. Sunset Portraits
If you can get your friends up at sunrise in the summer, more power to you! But if not, focus on capturing beautiful sunset photos. Sunsets are the perfect time to shoot because of the warm bright light. Explore different areas where you live to see where the sunsets are the most spectacular. Try to add a bit of movement to your photos by having your model jump around or use a prop such as a towel or a scarf.
8. Golden Hours
Summer photography provides some of the best golden hour opportunities. The golden hour is when the sun is first setting or rising and provides gorgeous light to frame any subject. Capture a silhouette, shadow, or sky scene while shooting the golden hour. If you are looking for adventure, try exploring nature to capture your next golden hour shot.
9. Flower Power
Flowers are one of our favorite summer photography ideas. Depending on where you live you can find an array of colors, patterns, and summer blooms! Try a bit of mixing of colors for each photo you take. Also, consider adding in a model to hold them or you can pose with them yourself! Photos in a field of flowers are always fantastic.
If you are someone who enjoys adventure and discovering new trails, consider taking your camera with you on a hiking trip. In the summer you never know what animals, plants, and landscapes you will discover as you photograph your journey.
Fire has captivated our eyes for centuries. Many times during the summer you may indulge in a beach bonfire or a backyard BBQ fire. Fire can be fascinating to capture on camera and makes for creative photos. Using lighter fluid and different types of wood to create an even more interesting photo. But always be careful when working with fire!
12. Local Events
Summer Photography ideas should always include some local fun. Often there are festivals, concerts, and special events during the summer. Volunteer a bit around town and gain access for free to shoot and gain more exposure for your business. Often photographers volunteer to shoot fun events but you can ask to be paid as well!
Nothing says summer like a local carnival! Take photos at night since there will likely be more action and colorful lights during the night. Another option is to hang near the ride section and use a slow shutter speed and wide lens to capture the twirling Ferris wheel or other fast-moving attractions.
Beach photography is a great way to capture daily life while relaxing. Try playing with silhouettes, weather conditions, sand, and shadows. Combining these ideas while capturing a sunrise or sunset will also help you to create new and innovative photos. So head to your nearest beach and get started!
Shooting shadows can be just as fun as shooting silhouettes. Look for patterns and designs on walls coming from shadows of light or a nearby friend. Try capturing shadows from different angles or overlaying them over a model’s face. The sky is the limit when it comes to shadow photography because they are everywhere!
Create beautiful summer sunbursts as you photograph the sun. Sunburst images look even prettier when combined with nature or a beach behind them. Once again try moving around locations and change your timing to capture the best sunburst. Compare the differences between shooting in the morning, noon, and sunset. By adjusting your settings and getting creative you will become a better photographer.
Have you ever tried underwater photography? This type of photography can require extra gear to protect your camera equipment but is well worth the investment after seeing the beautiful images you can create. Pictures from under the sea show a different side of the planet. One that is rarely seen by humans. Experiment with shooting on bright sunny days and try to capture passing fish and other animals in your pictures.
18. Lightning Storms
Photos of summer storms are always intense and moody. Photographing lightning can be especially difficult but rewarding. The trick is to take multiple images because lightning strikes so fast the naked eye can’t keep up. So set your camera to burst mode and shoot away, having a look at the images a bit later. Each shot is bound to capture something different. Lastly, use the Weather Channel app to track storms.
This type of summer photography goes well with capturing early morning sunrises or storms. Play with your exposure settings to create a mood of movement as the mist moves in on your location. Experiment with shooting mist from an ocean or another type of landscape.
Photos of wildlife help visitors gain a sense of nature. It also brings them closer to your view. Photographing different local animals such as birds, foxes, or insects. Summertime is the perfect season to discover local wildlife of all sizes and shapes!
Light and airy bubbles are excellent summer subject matter! They float around effortlessly and can be used to frame other subjects such as flowers, people, and animals. Photography of bubbles always brings a smile to anyone’s face and are cheap enough to create!
Summer photography wouldn’t say summer without a popsicle! Make your own or buy some from the store. You can have models pose with them or practice styling your own food photography. Take some before and after photos as well for a fun melting effect.
Taking images of fireworks can be great fun! The bursts of colors. Using silhouettes of people watching to fill the sky. Experiment with shots from different locations as you watch the show. Or ask a friend to hold a sparkler while photographing the fireworks exploding behind them. Use the changing light and color to get creative for your next images.
Summer is often filled with morning dew and raindrops. Use a camera with macro capabilities to get in close to these tiny droplets. Add in flowers or insects for even more creative rain photos. Shoot when the sun is just rising over the grass for more vibrant colors as well.
Summer Photography Tips
Shooting in harsh bright summer sunlight can be difficult. So here are some tips and tricks to help you make it a little easier while shooting your favorite summer photography themes!
Place the sun behind your subject
Placing the sun behind your subject will help to illuminate them and create a halo effect around them. This works especially well when shooting people. But it does often require you to shoot in manual mode because in automatic mode your camera will read too much bright light.
Bring a reflector with you or use a natural one from your environment to help bounce light back onto your subject. Natural reflectors include marble or white walls. Or even a white shirt from another person.
Diffuse light from overhead
If you have a white bed sheet you can have an assistant hold it over your subjects to help diffuse the light. When shooting in the middle of the day; light is often harsh and can create strong shadows or exaggerate wrinkles and fine lines. Holding a white sheet over your model will help stop these issues.
Placing a filter on your lens will help keep details in the sky and clouds of your images. Often when photographing in bright light conditions we have to choose to expose one part of our photo. But using a filter helps keep the highlights in your photos.
Since you are photographing bright sunny conditions it’s a good idea to keep your ISO as low as possible. At least 100 or lower if your camera has that option.
The same holds true for your aperture. Set your aperture at a small size so you don’t allow too much light into your lens which will automatically overexpose your image. Instead, focus on adjusting your shutter speed after setting your ISO and aperture to low settings.
We hope you enjoyed this article on summer photography! There are so many options when it comes to photographing outdoors but we wanted to jumpstart your creativity with this article. You can also look into adding a quick summer sparkle to your photos with our presets.
Did we miss something? Drop us a comment about your favorite summer photography ideas! Even better, join our Facebook community where we giveaway prizes and host contests to up your photography game! Looking forward to seeing your summer days work!
Try our 365 photography project! Each day you will face a new short lesson and a daily challenge! Whether you are an amateur photographer or a pro there is something for everyone in this course. Full of easily digestible daily bite-size lessons and led by pro photography Kevin LJ!