photo by martinedoucet via iStock
Summer is quickly approaching those of us in the Americas (even if it may not feel like it) and I, for one, am absolutely not prepared.
Summer brings beautiful weather, longer days and happier kids, and a lot of these things also mean that summertime is one of the best times for photography.
If you haven’t started prepping for summer photography yet, it’s definitely time.
But, in order to do so, you’ll need some summer photography tips to get you started. Here’s a list of my favorite summer photography tips for beginners.
Use the Extra Light to Your Advantage
Photo by Laura Pratt on Unsplash
We receive 5.5 more hours of sunlight on the summer solstice than the winter solstice. That’s about how much sleep I received on a good day for the first 2 years of my son’s life, and it’s a ton of extra time that you can use to practice your summer photography tips.
Extra sunlight means you can take off earlier and get home later. It also means that you can specifically focus on learning better timing.
Understanding how the sun’s position changes your photographs, like how the light from certain positions plays in your photographs, is essential for doing any shooting outdoors.
Photo by Damian Markutt on Unsplash
One great tool I use is the Photographer’s Ephemeris, which is an app you can use on either your iPhone or Android that tells you exactly where the sun is at any point in the day at any point in the world.
I started using it originally because I wanted to capture the perfect sunset photo, but continued to use it because it was really helpful in pretty much every way. It allows me to know exactly what my schedule will need to look like in order to grab good backlit photos and portraits.
I’m an especially exact photographer, so shot planning tools like this one have made my life so much easier.
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash
I think every photographer is guilty of the spray and pray method from time to time. After all, if you’re really photographing an event that is once in a lifetime, doesn’t it make more sense to snap away and hope you got something usable afterwards?
But, this method is costly (think about how quickly you fill up your SD card), and it doesn’t help you to understand what photos are actually worth taking.
photo by yulkapopkova via iStock
Phenomenal photographs can be taken by any photographer, but more importantly they’re taken by photographers who put a ton of thought into what photograph they wanted to take and what they wanted that photograph to say.
Of all our summer photography tips, this may be the most important one because being thoughful with your photography means you’re going to learn what you like.
And the moment you really understand what you like is the moment you will understand what your future clients will probably like.
Practice Using Different Focal Lengths
photo by RichLegg via iStock
When you’re learning how to improve your summer photography, you’re really learning how to improve your overall photography, but in a low-stakes environment since you have more time to practice.
That’s why one of my favorite summer photography tips is really a good photography tip you can use year round. You should try to explore different focal lengths this summer.
By working with different focal lengths, you’re also going to be more specific with your photos, since choosing a focal length requires forethought.
photo by MesquitaFMS via iStock
Many famous photographers have practiced their photography extensively with a 50mm lens, because the 50mm lens most closely resembles how the human eye sees a scene and this way the photographers would be able to frame a photo without actually framing a photo.
You can use this exact same technique, but with your focal length. The more extensively you practice with a specific focal length, the more you will understand the types of photos that you can produce with it.
If you don’t understand exactly how focal lengths work, don’t worry because we have all been there. That’s why Saurav Sinha created this video to show you the difference between focal lengths.
Some summer photography tips are truly photography tips we all just need to focus on more frequently. Focal length is one of them.
Make It an Adventure
photo by Dean Mitchell via iStock
The summer months are dry, which means that summer is the best time to do some exploring because it's just a little safer to go off the beaten trail.
The more the world opens up, the easier it is to snap a photo unlike any that you’ve seen before because you’re being met with more options.
I like to use summer to try things in my photography that I otherwise wouldn’t. For instance, it’s a personal goal of mine to try to master underwater photography this summer.
photo by haurashko_ksu via iStock
This is one of those summer photography tips that you can really take and run with it. What do you want to try this summer?
There’s never been a better time to explore your state, because the added safety of the built-in GPS’ our phones have ensures you can get lost without actually getting lost.
Don’t Let a Rainstorm Stop You
photo by Aaron Hawkins via iStock
This is one of the incredibly important summer photography tips that people too often ignore.
Photographing in bad weather is an essential photography skill, not only because photographing in rain provides a completely different mood for your photos, but because if you’re serious about photography, you will end up in the middle of an essential photoshoot in the rain.
It’s much better to practice these easy summer photography tips in the rain now, then to learn on the job later.
Some of my favorite things to photograph in the rain are people. So, if you know a bad rainstorm is about to hit, head to a crowded area and try to capture the emotions of people getting stuck in rain.
You won’t be able to practice these summer photography tips without the right equipment, though, since rain and your camera do not mix.
Most summer photography tips articles suggest you keep garbage bags in your car and camera bag for the random rainstorm, but this is an incredibly uncomfortable way to shoot in inclement weather.
That’s why I use Camera Canopy.
Camera Canopy is an easy shield for your DSLR or mirrorless camera that fits directly into your hot shoe to prevent your camera from getting wet in rain, sleet or snow.
For under $100, it’s the best summer photography investment you’ll ever make! Head over to Camera Canopy to pick one up for your DSLR ($87.99) or your mirrorless camera ($59.99).