Summer Photography: Ideas, Types, Tips, Settings, and Equipment

Coney Island Sunset, Photo By Bardia Azizi

Get ready for an exciting article all about summer photography!

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”

Don McCullin

It’s time to capture those unforgettable summer moments and maybe even win our awesome Summer Photography Competition. There’s nothing better than snapping photos on a beautiful summer day, whether you’re hitting the beach, traveling, or just hanging out with friends and enjoying the gorgeous evening light.

Solo, Coney Island, Photo By Bardia Azizi

We’ve put together a fantastic collection of ideas, types, and tips to spark your creativity. Our goal is to help you unleash your inner artist and capture breathtaking images that truly embody the spirit of this vibrant season.

In this moment, Coney Island, Photo By Bardia Azizi

And hey, once you’re done reading, we’ve got a special invitation for you. Join our thrilling Summer Photography Competition! Show off your skills, unleash your creativity, and share your unique perspective as you capture the enchantment of this incredible season. It’s not just about the prizes, but also about celebrating the magic of summer through your photographs. So get out there and start capturing those amazing moments!

Ideas

Love Vibration, Rome, Photo By Bardia Azizi

Beach

Taking photos on a sunny beach is a wonderful surprise for photographers and a great idea for summer photography!

Positano, Italy, Photo By Bardia Azizi

The beach offers countless chances to capture amazing things like colorful stones, interesting footprints, and stunning cliffs.

27 Best Beach Photography Ideas

Summer beach photography captures the essence of sun kissed shores and carefree moments. With golden sands, vibrant blue waters, and clear skies as backdrops, it frames the joy of frolicking in the surf, building sandcastles and basking in the warmth of the sun. 

Summer beach
Photo by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

As you explore the beach, you’re bound to take great shots and find intriguing photo worthy moments.

Skiathos beach on a sunny afternoon
Photo by Nick Karvounis

Assignments:

  • Expanding Horizons: Use a wide lens to show the vastness of the beach and emphasize spacious foreground elements.
  • Discovering Subjects: Seek out specific subjects at the perfect time, like a fisherman on the rocks or a sunset on the sea horizon.
  • Unleashing Creativity: Get creative by drawing shapes or writing on the sandy surface to enhance your work.
  • Beach-Themed Elements: Include summer-themed elements like umbrellas and drinks for beach photography.
Sea Side, Beirut, Lebanon

Splash Photography

woman sitting on seashore
waves, motion and fogg in Asilah, Morocco by Mohamed Nohassi

Splash photography is a super fun summer photography idea. It captures the happiness of summer with activities like jumping into pools and enjoying the beach.

throwing dipper of water on waterfalls
Waterfalls in Bali photo by Robert Collins

Water makes the photos exciting and visually appealing, bringing back the thrill of those experiences. It’s an awesome way to capture vivid memories and energetic, enjoyable shots.

Assignments:

  • Freeze the Flow: Take the excitement of a moment by using a high-speed shutter to freeze water movement.
  • Mastering Aperture: Explore the impact of aperture on splash photography to prevent underexposure.
  • Perfect Water Drops: Shoot flawless round water drops by controlling lighting and avoiding ridges or shadows.
  • DIY Splash Photography: Create dynamic splash photos at home by dropping objects or shooting water from a faucet.

Underwater Photography

Pool in Summer
Woman underwater photo by Jill Wellington

Underwater Photography: A Beginner’s Guide

Imagine a sunny summer day, and you think of water. Capture your fun summer moments and memories with underwater photography. You can do it in oceans, lakes, or pools, depending on what you like. It’s a challenging but exciting summer photography idea.

Fish Underwater Photography
Beautiful color mandarin fish by kuritafsheen77

Get a waterproof case for your camera and choose what you want to photograph, whether it’s underwater creatures or cool selfies.

Assignments:

  • Capturing the Subject: Choose a specific subject, like selfies or underwater landscapes, and capture their movements.
  • Pre-Submersion Preparation: Adjust camera settings in advance for easier underwater shooting and avoid manual mode. 
  • Mastering Underwater Lighting: Pay attention to underwater lighting and set the white balance to daylight.
  • Patience and Composition: Be patient, take multiple shots, and apply composition rules for impactful underwater photos.

Food and Drinks

Food and Drinks photography
strawberry popsicles photo by Daniel Öberg

Food photography is another important subject among summer photography ideas. Summer food brings to mind refreshing cold drinks in hot weather, juicy fresh fruit, and delightful beach picnics. These visually enticing photos not only captivate the eyes but also evoke the senses of smell, taste, and nostalgic memories.

As summer months arrive, employ effective tricks to capture stunning photos of this season’s delectable treats via food photography.

juice photography
Strawberry cocktail drinks by Whitney Wright

Assignments:

  • Lighting Mastery: Experiment with natural and artificial light to showcase vibrant food colors effectively.
  • Varied Angles: Photograph food from diverse perspectives, including flat lay and alternative angles.
  • Creative Composition: Create visually pleasing compositions with a simple backdrop and well-arranged props.
  • Inspiration: Incorporate seasonal elements like citrus slices to convey the essence of summer.

Shadows

Shadows photography
Playing with shadows by kevin laminto

In summer photography, abundant sunlight presents challenges and opportunities. Shadows are also on our list of summer photography ideas.  

While shadows can be distracting, they can also be creatively utilized to add interesting effects when mixing with sun flare.

Iran architecture, Kahshan

Additionally, sunlight and shadows offer possibilities for captivating black-and-white photography, allowing professional photographers to create unique works.

Creative shadow
Photo by rawpixel.com

Assignments:

  • Shadow Patterns: Find captivating patterns created by shadows on walls or subjects.
  • Creative Placement: Experiment with placing shadows on your model’s face or body.
  • Perfecting Shadow Lighting: Seize appealing shadows on buildings, cobblestones, or your model.
  • Standout Shadow Shots: Seek edged shadows with clear designs for standout photos.

Colors

Summer colors photography
Miami, Photo by Emanuel Ekström

Summer photography thrives on vivid colors and contrast. Another interesting subject of summer photography ideas is playing with colors. Seek out vibrant hues in your photos, as they captivate the viewer’s attention. 

Embrace the opportunity to shift your color palette during this season, adding more vividness and clarity to your photos and making your work visually striking.

Beige wooden body board
Balance board in San Juan beach ,Sapin by Gustavo Torres

Assignments:

  • Playful Contrasts: Mix contrasting colors or incorporate vibrant colors in your images for a fun and engaging effect.
  • Seasonal Color Harmony: Choose primary colors associated with the season and create harmonious compositions by coordinating and matching those colors.
  • Selective Color Combination: Avoid overwhelming your work with too many colors; instead, strategically use a limited number of colors for focused and impactful shots.

Silhouettes

In the summer, the sun brings life to everyday scenes, making them lively and vibrant. Embrace the shadows and silhouettes around you to add a touch of mystery to your photos. You can turn almost anything into an intriguing silhouette.

The beach is a perfect place for capturing stunning silhouette images, and sunsets create ideal conditions for portrait and conceptual photography, especially silhouettes.

Assignments:

  • Silhouette Techniques: Shoot toward the light source to create striking silhouettes. Expose the background to keep the subject black.
  • Shape Selection: Choose distinct and recognizable shapes to make your silhouettes visually appealing.
  • Golden Hour Silhouettes: Capture beautiful silhouettes during the golden hour by positioning your subject between yourself and the sun.

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.

Wallace Stevens

Local Events

Local Events photography
Photo by Pexels

Summer invites people to embrace the outdoors and enjoy a plethora of fun events which has its own place as a fun summer photography idea. 

Take advantage of the good weather by exploring local entertainment options for exciting summer photography ideas. Keep an eye on what’s going on in your area to capture the vibrant spirit and joy of summertime.

Assignments:

  • Event Exploration: Research and photograph local summer events like festivals like hot air balloons and concerts.
  • Storytelling Frames: Record the different stages of an event, from preparation to performance and interactions.
  • Embrace Summer Vibes: Convey the soul of summer through vibrant and joyful pictures.

Camps

Blue tent under milkyway
Camp under milkyway _ Badavut Beach, Turkey photo by Pars Sahin

Summer camps offer a special chance to showcase your photography skills and freeze cherished memories. 

The best camp images portray the happiness and beauty of the experience, capturing candid moments that reflect friendship and joy.

A single photo has the power to encapsulate an entire camping memory, preserving it for as long as desired.

Picnic photography
Photo by Xuan Duong

Assignments:

  • Subject Mastery: Choose a subject, focus on it, and create a masterpiece.
  • Dynamic Colors: Use vibrant colors to capture the joyful mood of your family and friends in the camp.
  • Nighttime Energy: Record lively nighttime events with an external flash for high-quality photos.

Types 

Portraits

summer photography
Photo by Petra

The sunny days of summer provide an ideal backdrop for portrait photography. With warm weather and ample opportunities for outdoor shoots, you can take stunning pictures.

Summer clothes enhance the attractiveness of models, while couples exude romance against a sunny backdrop. 

The pleasant weather contributes to people’s happiness and cheerful expressions, making it easier to capture captivating pictures.

Young woman in Summer
Portrait of Summer photography by NataljaDanilchenko

Assignments:

  • Sunset Magic: Take mesmerizing pictures using the magical light of sunset and consider the golden hour.
  • Background Harmony: Choose backgrounds that match the season or complement your model’s clothing.
  • Scenic Shots: Explore parks, beaches, waterfalls, and flower-filled plains for stunning summer portraits.

Landscape 

Yellow sunflower
Sunflower in Glenmore, Irlandia photo by Magdalena Smolnicka

Landscape photography becomes enchanting in the summer when nature thrives. 

Vibrant greenery, sunny vistas, and summer blooms provide an exceptional chance to shoot dreamy nature pictures. 

Immerse yourself in the beauty of natural events and let the allure of the outdoors inspire your landscape photography.

The summer night sky
Rocks and milkyway in Tuscany ,Italy photo by Luca Baggio

Assignments:

  • Florals: Capture the vibrant colors of wildflower, poppy, and lavender fields against a lush green backdrop.
  • Coastal Beauty: Photograph stunning coastlines with sunrise or sunset as a backdrop, experimenting with capturing the motion of sea waves in the golden hour. 
  • Celestial Delights: Create captivating images of the night sky, whether it’s star clusters, the northern lights, or a city skyline illuminated at night.

If you’re looking for more tips on summer landscape photography, I recommend watching this video.

The summer sky whispers to me, urging me to show its vastness on canvas.

Vincent van Gogh

Sports

Surfing in summer
Surfing at the ocean photo by André Hugo

Summer sports photography offers an excellent opportunity to showcase your skill in capturing dynamic moments.

From beachfront to mountains and urban settings, there are endless fun activities to document. 

Silhouettes of Bike
Silhouette photo in Sunset Photo by Love Art. Live Art

Embrace the energy of summer and seize the excitement of sports in your photographs.

Assignments:

  • Sunlight Action: Capture sports using different sunlight angles and fast shutter speeds.
  • Surfer’s Harmony: Find the perfect balance between surfers and their backgrounds.
  • Dramatic Boating: Show the intensity of boating activities with dynamic action shots.
  • Human Connection: Emphasize people’s reactions and moods in your sports photographs.

Wildlife 

Close up photography
Close up of dragonfly photo by Eric Kilby

In the summer, wildlife thrives in the heat and extended daylight hours. 

Explore the countryside teeming with insects, blooming wildflowers, vibrant young birds, and growing mammals, providing endless opportunities for captivating wildlife photography.

Assignments:

  • Macro Magic: Capture the colorful world of dragonflies and butterflies through macro photography.
  • Mammal Moments: Patience pays off as you photograph mammals and their young in fields and pastures.
  • Be Ready: Keep your camera on hand to seize spontaneous wildlife moments.
  • Be Respectful: Maintain a safe distance and respect wildlife while capturing their natural behaviors.

Fine Art 

Fine art photography
Fine art photo by LIMAT MD ARIF

Fine art photography is a creative expression where photographers use their vision to convey ideas, messages, and emotions.

In summer photography, fine art captures the season’s soul and communicates with viewers on a deeper level. 

Whether the subject is ordinary or extraordinary, fine art photography evokes the photographer’s feelings through powerful imagery.

Assignments:

  • Color and Nature: Explore the lively colors of nature during the season and create visually striking fine art photographs. 
  • Summer Moments: Seize the soul of summer through candid and documentary-style fine art photography.
  • Abstract Landscapes: Create abstract fine art photographs that depict the spirit of summer landscapes in unconventional ways.

Street Photography

Street photography
Classic image by Pexels

Street photography captures the daily life and essence of the streets through conceptual pictures. 

In summer, bustling cities and vibrant streets offer abundant subjects. 

Sun Tanning, Fan Francisco, Photo By Bardia Azizi

By exploring the city with patience, you can record compelling moments and create impactful images.

Street in Paris
Road and street in Paris, France by Louis Paulin

For those passionate about summer street photography, I recommend taking a look at this captivating video.

Assignments:

  • Cyclists: Take great photos of cyclists against a backdrop of summer elements, showcasing their adventurous spirit.
  • Market Moments: Photograph energetic interactions between people at local markets.
  • Bird’s Eye View: Explore high vantage points for unique street views that are not typically seen from ground level.
  • Color Splash: Photograph the current excitement of the city using the lively colors of the season in your compositions.

Fashion Photography

Fashion & Women
Fashion in summer by Jonathan Borba

In summer fashion photography, incorporating the unique clothing and accessories of the summer season adds an extra touch of beauty and fascination to the images, and you can start creating an extraordinary visual experience.

Assignments:

  • Summer Style Delight: Dress your subject in a variety of cheerful summer clothes, focusing on the essence of the season.
  • Sizzling Summer Backdrops: Incorporate summer backgrounds into your fashion photography, to enhance the summery theme.
  • Coastal Chic: Take advantage of the beach and coastal locations to create captivating fashion shots.
  • Adding Visual Interest: Play with contrasting colors and utilize relevant accessories to add visual interest to your work.
Model, Woman
Fashion photography by Engin Akyurt

Tips

Pay Attention to Summer Sun

Summer Sun
Summer Holiday by Engin Akyurt

To take stunning summer photos, master the art of lighting by observing the sun’s conditions and taking advantage of sun flare. 

Consider the clarity of the sky and the position of the sun. Overcast skies provide the diffused light ideal for portrait photography, flowers, and woodland scenes. 

Clear skies create challenging high-contrast light, but shooting during the golden hour or blue hour offers softer light for better results.

The sun always shines brighter in summer, and so does my camera.

Unknown

Explore Local Area

Explore Local Area
Sellers carrying flowers by Quang Nguyen Vinh

Enjoy the summer weather with outdoor activities like walking, running, cycling, and boating. It’s the perfect and only time to embrace nature and have fun under the sun. 

Exploring your neighborhood is one of the great summer photography tips. Notice the children playing, vendors, and families enjoying in the parks and doing outdoor activities. 

Use a Polarizing Filter

Use a Polarizing Filter
Polarizing filter in sunlight by Emilian Robert Vicol

Using a Polarizing filter in bright sunlight is one of the important summer photography tips. It reduces exposure by two stops. It deepens the blue sky, eliminates reflections, and enhances color saturation. 

Note that polarizers reduce exposure by two stops, requiring slow shutter speed, careful adjustment, and settings. Find the optimal camera settings and consider using a tripod.

Experiment Free-lensing 

Try Free-lensing on clear, long summer days by holding a detached lens slightly away from the camera. It creates focused and shallow images with a dreamy look. 

Use this technique to get close to objects, especially with small lenses.

Long Exposure

Long-exposure photography
Long-exposure in summer by Quang Nguyen vinh

Seize pure moments on summer days and nights with the right long-exposure photography. 

Try astrophotography with the crescent moon and stars or take shots of waterfalls and waves with long exposures. 

For city dwellers, experiment with long-exposure street photography especially in golden hours.

 Use a tripod and remote control to avoid camera shake, and consider using an ND filter for daytime long exposures.

If you’re intrigued by the art of long-exposure photography during the summer, we invite you to check out this informative video. 

Change Your Perspective

Aerial view of Beach
Aerial view of Grand Anse Beach | Grenada, Caribbean by Hugh Whyte

Take unique and captivating photos by changing your point of view. Experiment with different positions and don’t be afraid to try new angles. Embrace trial and error to find the perfect shot. Consider the great idea of using a drone for taking photos from a top-down perspective, transforming busy beach scenes into abstract images with colorful umbrellas and dreamlike ocean waves.

Look for Details

Details Colors
Color surfboard set photo by Anastasia Hofmann

Focus on details to evoke relaxation and fun of summer days. This artistic approach adds depth to your work and engages viewers by piquing their curiosity. 

Use appropriate lenses to photograph details without disrupting the scene. Opt for shallow depth of field and wide aperture lenses to enhance the effect.

 Look for objects associated with summer activities, like surfboards against a brightly lit wall or a pair of sunglasses as inspiring subjects for your photography.

Use a Different Focal Length

Focal Length
Riding kayak at the sea photo by Kalen Emsley

Expand your photography horizons this summer by experimenting with different focal lengths.

 Experiment with wide, standard, and telephoto focal lengths to take diverse scenes. 

Explore wide-angle views for landscapes, standard lenses for portrait photography, and telephoto lenses for distant horizons. 

Embrace the versatility and spark creativity in your favorite summer photography ideas.

Preparation

Preparation Summer
Summer concept Image by freepik

Plan ahead for summer photography. 

Make a list of your favorite subjects and the necessary equipment. 

Consider the heat and intense light by wearing cool clothes, a hat, sunglasses, wear sunscreen, and staying hydrated with plenty of water bottles. 

Stay prepared and make the most of your summer photography.

Settings

photograhy on flower
Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy photo by Jessica Favaro

ISO: In well-lit situations, start with a low ISO setting such as ISO 100 or 200.

Aperture: Aperture f/8 to f/16 is suitable for landscapes to achieve greater depth of field. Use a wider aperture such as f/2.8 for portrait shots to create a sharper background.

Shutter Speed: In bright daylight, use a faster shutter speed to avoid overexposure.

White Balance: Set the white balance to “Daylight” or “Auto” to take accurate colors in natural light conditions.

Focus Mode: For still subjects, use single-shot autofocus (AF-S) mode. For moving subjects, switch to continuous autofocus (AF-C) mode to keep the subject in focus.

Shooting Mode: Always always shoot directly in RAW format. RAW files retain more information and will be easier to edit and process the photo.

Famous Photographers with Summer Photos to Follow on Instagram

Adam Senatori: Adam is a renowned Instagram photographer known for his landscapes, environmental portraits, and aerial direction.

Laura Pritchett: Laura is a multi-talented artist who combines photography and painting, creating art that goes beyond the ordinary.

İlhan Eroğlu: Travel photographer whose accolades include being ranked #1 by 500px in the City and Architecture Photos category in 2016.

Summer Photography Equipment

Summer Photography
Photo by cookie_studio on Freepik

Here is a list of essential summer photography gear, remember, this list may vary based on your specific summer photography idea, needs, and preferences.

Camera: A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or mirrorless camera with manual control gives you the flexibility to capture high-quality images.

lens: Carry a versatile lens such as a zoom lens for general photography. Additionally, consider a wide-angle lens for landscape shots and a telephoto lens for distant subjects.

Tripod: A sturdy tripod is useful for steadying your camera during long exposures. Look for a light and compact tripod for easy portability.

Filter: (ND) filters can help control light and achieve long exposures, especially on bright days. A polarizing filter can reduce reflections and enhance colors.

Memory Card: Carry several high-capacity memory cards to store your photos.

Camera Bag: Get a durable and comfortable camera bag that will hold all your camera gear and protect it from dust, moisture, and accidental bumps.

Cleaning kit: Dust, fingerprints, and smudges can affect image quality, so stock up on a cleaning kit that includes a microfiber cloth, lens cleaning solution, and a blower brush.

Sun Protection: When shooting outdoors, carry Hat,  sun cream, and don’t forget sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

Waterproof Cover: If you plan to shoot underwater or in rainy weather conditions, buy a waterproof cover or case for your camera.

Summer Photography Competition

Join our Summer Photography Competition and get ready for an exciting adventure!

Share your favorite summer memories through photos and stand a chance to win amazing prizes. Don’t let this opportunity slip away to show off your skills and have a shot at the grand prize!

Summer Photography Competition 2023
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