The weather is warming up, the flowers are in full bloom, the wildlife is out to play. So how can we make the most of our summer photography?
I’ve got 5 feel-good summer photography tips and ideas to help you make the most of the good weather and longer hours of sunshine to make this your most creative summer yet!
The reliability (in most parts) of the summer weather will allow you time. This time should be well spent getting to know your camera kit inside and out. Plus, it also will help you understand light – the most important ingredient of photography.
Pick out an accessible location close to home and take a series of photos in the early morning, midday and sunset. Consider getting out just before golden hours occur too.
Keep your camera on a fixed point and this will help you understand how the light changes position during the day. But even more importantly, how the colours change too.
Different waves of light will appear depending where the sun is relative to your position. In the mornings and evenings red wavelengths of light appear more clearly, though being shorter, they are stronger.
I use an app called the Photographer’s Ephemeris to help calculate where the sun will be at any given point and time in the world. This is an app used by many landscape photographers when planning their adventures.
If you don’t have to worry so much about time, then the summer is a good season to push yourself further in ideas and projects. On average, during the summer we gain an extra 5 hours of sunlight. That extra light allows us to make bigger plans and shoot new projects.
Whether this is choosing to hike to locations normally outside of your comfort zone or driving to locations that normally would require an overnight stay.
But be aware of the quality of this extra sunshine. Summer photography is normally plagued with strong, direct daylight. This causes heavy shadows, stronger colours and bolder contrast.
If this is what you want, brilliant. If not, be aware that shooting during the daytime may not be your best hours. Instead, opt for early mornings or dusk.
If you want to avoid strong, heavy daylight then waiting for the summer sun to settle lower down on the horizon may be a good idea. Generally, the light tends to be softer in the morning and there is certainly a greater chance of mist, but evenings are an equally productive time too. Crack out the graduated ND (neutral density) filter to calm the power of the sky without affecting the exposure of the landscape.
And if the weather is looking good for a week or so, make the most of it. Plan a weekend away with your camera (and family/friends of course). Arrange a road trip where you can stop off at a number of locations. But it’s not just the destination you should be capturing, also document the journey itself.
The best photos of many old-school photographers where of them capturing life on the road, or at least in a candid manner. These moments are ones more likely to go into the family album and the other, more planned photos, are the ones for your portfolio.
It is possible to still take long exposure photos even in the bright summer weather. You’ll just need to go stacked with a bag of ND filters to reduce the initial exposure.
You may need multiple 10 stop ND filters to help you get a decent slower shutter effect at midday. But the pay off means you can capture wonderful shots off high elevated cliff faces looking out to the sea for example.
Long exposures will blur the water making it look silky smooth and calm. Remember to be mindful that with long exposures can come digital noise so turn on any long exposure noise reduction features your camera may have.
I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these tips for summer photography. Make the most of the warm season and practise even the basics of photography if you still feel a little unsure about them.
Discover how different focal lengths change perspectives and depth of field. Spend time shooting at sunrise and dusk as well as getting creative during the middle of the day.
If you’re an iPhotography member post some of your summer shots into the gallery for everyone to see!