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How do you take good summer pictures?

How do you take good summer pictures?

Summer Pictures

Summer is a special time filled with beautiful occasions and you’re going to want to capture stunningly gorgeous summer photos.  This is when we build memories from events like going on a vacation to getting engaged and having babies.  Even if nothing special is happening, our families are a year older than last summer and that is a great thing to document with the lovely aesthetics that summer photography provides.

What you will need

Taking great pictures is not only about the type of camera you own or how skilled you are at taking photos.  Sure, skill allows you to manage things you can control, like positioning, frame, and camera functionality, but there are many things you can’t control such as sunlight, or how much equipment you need to lug around.  With the right tools, your abilities and skillset will expand as these tools allow you to control more, often turning a disadvantage into an advantage.

  • A DSLR or mirrorless camera would be my first choice as these diverse types of cameras have very powerful auto mode features which are great for beginners and pros. These cameras also allow for full manual modes giving you ultimate control over your camera’s function and features such as exposure and focus. 
  • Owning the correct camera lenses are vital if you’re trying for specific zoomed or focused framework.
  • Lens accessories such as protective UV filters, compatibility adapters for interchangeable lenses, and polarizer filters for shooting in harsh sunlight will open a world of visual possibilities when photographing outdoors during summer.
  • A quality tripod will offer stabilization for your shots. I say quality because this is not something to cheap out on.  A tripod also means you don’t need the automated stabilization feature found on most cameras allowing you full control over your camera.
  • Memory cards. It’s a simple enough concept to know to always have extra.  Don’t be left scrambling to figure out what to delete so you can continue your photoshoot.  A best practice is categorizing, labelling, and organizing them for easy retrieval when it comes to postproduction.
  • Photography equipment is expensive and vital to your photography. Keep all of your gear safe from scratches, dirt, and dust with a camera bag that let’s you conveniently carry all of your supplies.

    Summer pictures

Camera Settings

Most high-grade cameras come with amazing features that assist you in achieving professional looking shots without having to change anything.  This can make things easy for you, but if you’re noticing too much light getting into the cameras sensors or you want to step up your photography game, I suggest shooting in full manual mode.  This allows you to control the shutter speed and aperture so you can perfectly get the image you are looking for whether you are looking for an over or under exposed look, or if you want a blurry or focused background, you now have control over everything. 

Prime lenses work well if you know exactly what your shooting, but in these instances, you need to stay versatile and open since you don’t control the sun and may decide to alter your approach, so I suggest bringing a couple different zoom lenses to keep your options opened.  I also encourage shooting in RAW mode in case there are any photos you prefer to edit later on during postproduction.


To capture the image as you envision it, your location and your subjects’ location should be the first thing to figure out.  Since it’s summer and you’re photographing outdoors, find the area and background you like for the subject, then test different angles from various vantage points to choose your best frame.  If you’re shooting in direct sunlight, then polarizing lens filters will help you maintain color and reduce shading.  Look for natural light reflectors such as neutral colored landscape, pavement, or architecture that will provide a second light source and will open up unwanted sharp shadows from the direct sunlight. 

You may decide that you want interesting shading to provide a more artistic image.  In this case, look for shadows with interesting patterns you can find from things like trees, fences, and bridges to shoot under.  While on the topic of shadows, have your subject stand in front of the direct sunlight, eclipsing it, for shadowed silhouette shots of artistic impression.

Combining light rays and shadows perfectly sets the frame for romantic summer engagement photos, wedding portraits, summer maternity photos, summer family photos, and so much more.

Good Pictures

Photoshoot Process and Poses

A couple things to confirm and keep in mind prior to beginning your photoshoot.

  • Ensure your subjects comfortable and feeling fresh and hydrated
  • Gameplan your concept shots and poses to support these types of shots
  • Be calm, cool, and collected so your subjects can provide authenticity to their poses
  • Don’t make your subject hold poses for too long
  • Pay attention to details such as outfit flaws, makeup, wind blown hair, etc. These can ruin a great photo. Remind your subjects to check themselves to be ready
  • Keep the camera focused on your subjects faces
  • Double check your equipment and frame

You’re prepared to begin shooting, the scene is right, and your subject(s) are ready for direction.

  • Pose away from where the sun is facing to avoid shading and squinting
  • For direct sunlight shots, you may need to instruct the tilt of your subject’s head to alleviate sharp facial shadows you sometimes get from cheekbones, foreheads, and jawlines
  • Balance between classic poses like smiling at the camera, family grouped together and freestyle poses with minimal directions
  • Experiment with different poses standing, sitting, leaning, or even laying down while shooting from different angles from in front, beside, and above
  • Always be smiling and happy which will reflect in your subject’s body language
  • For Families, do separate shots and fun poses for just the kids and parents along with everyone together. The more playful the better
  • At ease soldier, this is not the army, so don’t stand completely straight, pay attention to the whole body, arms and legs, everything should look natural. Should they be sitting? Cross their legs?  Even something as settle as slightly bending an elbow can make a simple pose look more genuine and relaxed
  • Experiment with poses where your subject does not look at the camera. This is an artistic way of bringing more intimacy to a photo whether its with nature, or with one another if you have two or more subjects in a frame

Drone Photography and Footage

We are in a new age of photography.  With drones, you can get crazy cool images and footage of whatever summer photography outing you have planned.   They’re also a tremendous amount of fun to operate.  You can have the drone do a survey the perimeter around your family picnic or backyard BBQ party.  You can capture aerial video of you throwing around a football with your son in the park or trail behind your bicycle route.  Drones open a world of photography that you will never get with a handheld camera.  Looking back, you will be glad to have such memories recorded in such a cool way.

The most important advice I can offer is to have fun with your photoshoot.  Be lighthearted, cheerful and easy going.  Let the shots come to you.

Summer Pictures

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