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5 Tips for Taking Your Best Summer Photos

There’s just something about summer that inspires photos. The light, the heat, the assortment of fun outdoor activities. It just makes for great photo opps. It can be a bit overwhelming to think about dragging your camera along with you everywhere or to feel pressured to take photos vs. being in the moment. ( I know I struggle with that) So I came up with some suggestions for upping your photography game this summer.



1. Take a cinematic approach

As we photograph our summer activities take the time to shoot an establishing shot, taking in the whole of the scene and using your frame to really summarize all the action. From there move into the scene and decide what is really going on. Are we focused on the individual in the scene or the action? Take time to gradually get closer to your subject and don’t forget those detail shots. Practice moving through the scene as if you were telling a story with your camera. The biggest tip is to move around and practice shooting from a variety of angles and vantage points.

2. Make a summer bucket list

When I think about my summer I like to plan out little outings and activities in addition to big vacations. I have general ideas of what I’d like to do with my family and what I’d like to photograph them doing. Recently I made a video of our annual trip to the strawberry farm which was something I had planned on doing as soon as it was time. I had the best time shooting it and love the final product. You can check it out here. I also have a professional summer bucket list which includes session ideas that I’d like to try during the season. It really helps generate ideas that are unique to you and your family and what you like doing together.

3. Find prompts for inspiration

This can be so fun. I love finding a really good list of seasonal photo prompts. Pinterest is full of them and I love them so much that this year I decided to create my own. As hard as I try I can’t seem to take daily photos, but I can manage a weekly schedule.  The goal is to not put too much pressure on taking the photo, but to help generate ideas to encourage pulling out the camera. I came up with a weekly list of photo prompts beginning on June 21st and ending Labor Day. If you’d like to join in the fun make sure you’re following me on Facebook and Instagram for the announcement.

4. Try golden hour shooting

You’ve probably heard photographers talk about golden hour. It’s our favorite time of day for shooting and it’s because the light is just gorgeous. It occurs about an hour before sunset (ish) and lasts until the sun goes down. You can take all sorts of great images because the light isn’t too harsh and the sun is a gorgeous golden color and it just looks great on everyone. It’s a great time to really practice shooting or trying to shoot in manual mode because you don’t have to worry as much about lighting conditions and harsh bright light. It’s best to look for open fields or spots with a nice east/west orientation.


5. Edit your photos

This is so important and one that a lot of people skip when it comes to family photos. Always take the time to edit and spruce up your favorite family photos. Small bumps in brightness and contrast make a huge difference and there are so many photo editing apps and programs out there to help. For all the hobbyists out there I highly recommend trying Adobe Elements and then checking out some of the assortment of editing actions out there. Pioneer Woman makes some pretty simple ones. I also love Adobe Lightroom for editing. VSCO as well as many other folks offer some great presets for editing photos.


I’m confident with a little planning and practice you can take your best summer photos this year!

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