Summer Photography Tips and Tricks: How to Get the Perfect Shot
Capture your favorite family moments or a beautiful sunset with these professional summer photography tips and tricks.
The arrival of summer promises lots of time outside with friends and family. Whether you’re headed to the beach, the local park, the mountains or your own backyard, you want to make sure you never miss the perfect photo op. Before you capture your timeless summer moments, check out these summer photography tips and tricks from a professional photographer.
1. Explore new areas to find a unique shot
Bring your favorite smartphone or tablet with you everywhere. Use the warmer days as an opportunity to explore the area you’re in. Take a walk on a new nature path or drive down some streets you’ve never ventured onto. The best photos can come from unplanned moments, so explore places you’ve never been to before to find a great shot you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
2. The early bird gets the worm
Photo by Nick Fornwalt
Summertime might be ideal for sleeping in, but for the best pictures, you’ll want to get up early. “Around 30 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunrise” are best, says Nick Fornwalt, a professional photographer and cinematographer based in Arizona. “Sunlight comes toward the earth at a very low angle during these times of day, leading it to be much less harsh and more flattering than in the middle of the afternoon. The angle at which the light hits our atmosphere during these times, it has a very beautiful golden yellowish tint to it.”
3. Look for cloudy days
Photo by Nick Fornwalt
Don’t just get outside when the sun’s out; clouds create great light for different kinds of pictures. Fornwalt says, “The sun produces a very hard, bright light. It’s a very unflattering type of light. However, on cloudy days, sunlight is softened by the clouds, creating a much more elegant, flattering light.”
4. Shoot portraits in a new light
“Try to shoot your subjects with soft light illuminating their face,” says Fornwalt. “Soft light includes indirect light sources, like sunlight bouncing off a white building, and diffused light sources, like harsh sunlight passing through a thin white sheet or set of drapes before falling onto a subject.” Try walking around town to find a light-reflective source and play with the way the light changes your subject’s face.
5. Play with shadows
“Most shadow or light problems that I see have to do with contrast in the images,” Fornwalt says. “For example, many times, people will take a photo inside against a large window and end up with the scenario of either a blown out (overly bright) background, or a dark, underexposed interior of the house. This has to do with contrast. I tell people to try and get their subject in a location that has light as similar to their background as possible. This keeps things in a similar range of brightness and can help with dark shadows or overly bright areas.”
6. Download a photography app
If you’re using a camera, you can easily edit photos on your computer with photo-editing software. If you’re using a device, you can do the same, or you can cut out the middle man (your computer) and download a photography app on your smartphone or tablet. Find one that allows you to add effects and typography, crop images, alter colors and add borders, such as VSCO Cam or Snapseed.