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 3 Quick Tips For Better Summer Photography
By Julie Waterhouse of Picture Correct

Photography is a form of communication. You want your images to tell the story of summer and how it
makes you feel. Think about what summer means to you, and strive to capture that in your images.
Does summer mean picnics, building sand castles at the beach, car rides with the top down, or playing
Frisbee with the dog? Do you think of blue skies, blazing heat, and cornfields? Is summer a time to
spend at the cottage with your family, fishing, swimming in the lake, and roasting marshmallows on the
camp fire? Does it mean eating ice cream, soaking up the air-conditioning at the mall, and wearing flip
These activities can all be turned into iconic images that capture the mood of summer. The most
important thing is for you to make your images personal and to photograph the subjects that represent
summer for you.
I live in Canada, where winter paints everything in black and white and creates a colorless landscape.
Each year, I look forward to summer, because it brings with it rich and saturated colors. Including
strong, bright colors in your pictures already gives an indication to the viewer that it’s summertime. In
addition, the choice of which specific colors you include can help you tell your summer stories more
effectively; color choice can determine the mood of the image. Warm colors bring to mind the warm
temperatures we enjoy in summer. Using warm tones in your images or a splash of vibrant red,
orange, or yellow, lends an impression of heat to your photograph. In contrast, you can also make use
of cool colors to create a feeling of refreshment. For instance, the blue of a swimming pool can help
your viewer imagine the restorative power of a dip in chilly water. The trick is to use color deliberately
so that it enhances your message. An orange beach towel can make the sand look hotter than a
purple one. A blue patio umbrella can make the shade look cooler than a red one.
The bright and sunny days of summer are often the worst time to take pictures. If you are
photographing people in the middle of the day, the bright light can create dark shadows on their faces
or cause them to squint if they are looking into the sun. To avoid this, try to move people into the shade
to photograph them. Alternatively, if the shot is being posed, you can use a diffuser to soften the light.
A diffuser is simply a piece of translucent material which scatters light rays. Diffusers reduce glare and
harsh shadows. They eliminate unattractive contrast and even out the tonality in an image.
Rather than buying a diffuser, you can have a friend assist you by holding up a bed sheet or frosted
white shower curtain. Remember to place the sheet or diffuser between the sun and your subject.
Another way to avoid the harsh light of the summer is to shoot during the “golden hour.” Golden hour is
the half hour before and half hour after sunrise or sunset. At this time of day, the sun’s rays fall at more
of an angle, creating longer and softer shadows and warmer, gentler light. Sometimes it’s best to
spend the afternoon in the pool and then pull out your camera in the evening!


All images are copyright by the photographer and are not to be used for any purpose without permission.

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