Making the Most of Photography in the Summer

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It’s that time of year again; the sun is out (for the most part), the skies are blue, and the days are longer and brighter. There is so much to love about all of the seasons, but for photographers, Summer usually falls to the bottom of the list. Although this season provides lots of daylight, which is vital to a photographer, there is often a little too much light and a visible lack of colour. In Summer, the overpowering light can often cause photographs to become overexposed, and so photographers, generally, need to work even harder to achieve the perfect photo.

With seasons like Autumn and Winter, we can expect burnt oranges, reds, ambers, and dramatic cloudy grey skies; whereas, Summer offers an abundance of clear days that can leave your photographs looking slightly bland. However, if you have all the right equipment and you’re aware of the best times and places to shoot, then Summer photography can result in some stunning visuals.

There is also a dreamy aesthetic that comes with the Summertime; it gives images that hazy, laid-back vibe which instantly makes you feel relaxed. If you run a swimwear company, for example, Summer is the perfect time to head off to the beach to shoot some sun-kissed models. If you’re looking to take some breathtaking photos this Summer, amateur or professional, read on for my top tips.

The Golden Hour

Most photographers consider ‘The Golden Hour’ to be the perfect time of day to capture their images. Although you get beautiful sunlight all day long, the best times to shoot are actually early morning or late evening; this is because you will capture so much more detail, colour and contrast in terms of the outside landscape. When you think about the midday sun, it’s so overwhelmingly bright, that it drowns out the colour of the sky; although this may be a good choice for some portrait shoots, it’s probably not the best time if you want to focus on your surrounding setting.

 

Early morning photography does mean that you have to get up a little earlier than usual…perhaps around 5:30AM. This may sound rather extreme, but if you want to catch a glimpse of the sunrise, you need to set your alarm! It may sound daunting, but it’s certainly worth the extra effort. Firstly, the early bird catches the worm; if you wake up before the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you can beat the crowds to your favourite spot. Whether you fancy sneaking into the city centre and snapping some pictures of the architecture, or heading down to the river to get some nature shots, the early hours of the day are the best time to capture the perfect photograph.

Late evenings are also an ideal time to photograph; the sunset fills the entire sky with colour and shape, giving you the perfect backdrop for your shoot. The sun becomes less overpowering in the evening, giving you just enough natural light to take a picture of a subject. There is a certain warmth to the morning and evening sun, which means that your subject or setting looks dreamier and more magical. Of course, this all depends on what you want to photograph, but the general consensus is that these times make up The Golden Hour.

Where are the best places to shoot in the Summer?

As mentioned before, Summer is the perfect time for a beach shoot. Given that we live in the UK, there is only a small window of opportunity to head to the beach on a warm day; plus, it’s much easier to convince a model to come to the beach when it’s over 20°C than when it’s hailing in October! There is also something fun about a Summer at the beach, it gives us that sense of nostalgia that takes us back to the carefree days of building sandcastles and frolicking in the ocean. If you get to the beach early in the morning, it’s the perfect opportunity to make the most of the entire landscape, without fighting your way through a swarm of other beachgoers.

Another great place to shoot is a flower meadow. When the weather is warmer, the flowers are in full bloom, meaning that you can make the most of nature’s kaleidoscope of colour. Meadows of wheat and grass are also a good choice, because you can capture that vintage, little-house-on-the-prairie aesthetic that takes you back to your youth. The colour palette of a Summer meadow is another high point of this location, with a wealth of lilacs, yellows, golds, blues, as well as subtle earthy tones that make for a flawless scene.

There are so many awe-inspiring spots to photograph in the Summer, but the beach and the meadows are definitely a personal favourite.

Summer Shadows

Once again, we return to the importance of light; in photography, light is what makes the picture, or in some cases, the lack of light. You can have the most beautiful model, the most enchanting setting and the most expensive camera…but without knowing how to use light properly, you just won’t achieve the perfect shot. Another perk of Summer photography is the way that we are able to play around with shadows. The intensity of the Summer light means that you can dabble in silhouettes, harsh contrasts and natural patterns. Shadows are a great way to add depth to an image, as well as giving them that sharp edge which makes them stand out.

If you do manage to get up early, head off to the city centre and arrive before the town awakes. Watch the sunrise between the buildings and focus on the shadows that it casts upon the streets; the shapes and lines that form on the ground can be astonishing, you just need to be in the right place at the right time with the right camera equipment (and luckily, for a photographer, we take our cameras everywhere).

Summer Photography Equipment Checklist:

  • Polarizer; optical filter that softens the harsh Summer light
  • A Tripod
  • A DSLR Camera
  • A Lens Hood; reduces glare from bright sunlight
  • 5-in-1 Reflector; Allows you to shade your subject with a diffusion filter.

This camera equipment is only if you want to go all out for your photography projects this Summer; most of the time, you can achieve stunning images with your smartphone camera. Despite having to deal with the harsh light during the Summer, you can still take some sensational photographs if you know all the insider tricks.