Every season has opportunities for capturing amazing photos, but summer is especially full of possibilities. Relaxed sunny days on the beach, kids playing at a pool or fountain, fireflies flickering on long summer nights… These are not only beautiful moments and memories. They’re also great times for photographing life at its best.
Summer is often packed with fun events and activities, but you may still have a few listless days when you’re not sure what to do or photograph. If you’re lacking inspiration, here’s a selection of awesome summertime photos to give you ideas for both photographing and enjoying this hot time of year.
Beaches can look beautiful in every season, but they’re livelier in the summer. This extra activity means you can shoot a wider variety of subjects, from sunbathers and surfers to seascapes and sunsets. You can even try out some underwater photography.
If you don’t live near the ocean, try visiting a beach at a lake instead. Depending on the lake’s size and clarity, you can get similar shots, if only on a smaller scale.
Marjan Lazarevski – Paradise on Earth
Richard Watkins LRPS – Camber Sands
No beaches nearby? Then check out a local swimming pool or buy an inflatable pool for your own backyard. While a pool might not have any stunning natural scenery to photograph, it does allow you to easily photograph swimmers and children playing in the water. You don’t have to contend with waves or use a telephoto lens to get good close-up shots. Even a simple point-and-shoot camera can work great at a pool.
Matthew Coughlin – Zach Zoom Splash
Matthew Coughlin – Swimming Time
Matthew Coughlin – Poolside Fun
Fountains become hotspots of activity in the summer, drawing tourists, families, and anyone else who needs a cool break. Whether the fountain is large or small, a grand landmark or a small play fountain for kids, it can give you a variety of subjects to photograph. Besides candid portraits, you can capture the sun glinting through the water or the architecture surrounding the fountain. The splashing water can also be a good opportunity for practicing long exposures or quick action shots.
Otacílio Rodrigues – Girls having fun
Otacílio Rodrigues – Sunset in the park
B.C. Lorio – “Washington Square Fountain”
jordan parks – along the canal
Ben Roffelsen Photography – He’s got the right idea
In the absence of fountains, you can create a similar playful atmosphere with a backyard sprinkler. Though the sprinkler itself may not be as beautiful as a fountain, it’s easier to find/buy and move around. You can put it exactly where you want for the right background or composition.
Darren Sethe – Sprinkler hits the deck
Marcus Krebs – Summer Sprinkler Umbrella
Carissa Rogers – Little Boy in Sprinkler black and white
Sebnem Gulfidan – Artificial summer rain
Summer is the peak season for sailing. The warmth, good weather, and relaxed atmosphere of summer go great with sailing and photographing sailboats. You can take nice images from the shoreline, but for unique angles (and a more memorable experience), try going out on a sailboat yourself. Then, you can photograph your own boat as well as the sailboats around you.
Vitor Junqueira – Atlantic Freedom – Cova-Gala, Portugal
Greg David – Sailing into Lake Ontario under the moon
eschweik – Downtown Sydney from the Manly Ferry, with sailboat
Vincent Lanzolla – SUNSET SAILING
✓ Елена Пејчинова – Silent winds
Water is a big part of summer, but not all summertime photos have to involve it. You can capture the atmosphere of summer with a sunny blue sky, too. All you need is one other element that’s reminiscent of summer, like a person lounging or a lush green field, to give the image a definite summertime vibe.
For blue sky shots, it’s important to have a graduated neutral density filter and/or a polarizing filter on hand. These filters will prevent overexposure and make that deep blue really pop.
In addition, try to include some clouds in your image. Though blue skies are beautiful, they can look boring without the added interest and contrast of clouds. If you’re stuck with a cloudless day, postpone the shot until later. You have plenty of time to get the right shot with the long summer days.
Susanne Nilsson – Under a blue Sky
Tristan ‘Shu’ Lebeschu – Light, Tower and Wing-Over with Jean Baptispte Chandelier
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with fireflies, take advantage of it! Shooting fireflies can take some practice, but when you master it, the images have a surreal natural beauty that’s incredible.
Photographing fireflies is similar to shooting star trails. You’ll be taking a long exposure, so you’ll need a sturdy tripod and a remote shutter release. Fireflies are a bit trickier than stars, though, because they flash briefly instead of sustaining light. This quick flash can be hard to balance with the background light, which builds up during the exposure.
To balance these two light sources, put your ISO high and keep your exposure time low. Start with 5 seconds and adjust from there. Then, in post-processing, you can stack your photos to create a single image, full of fireflies. This approach will limit the noise while still keeping the fireflies bright and beautiful.
Fotis Mavroudakis – Fireflies dancing
Fotis Mavroudakis – Fireflies in the woods
Fotis Mavroudakis – Fireflies’ Dance
Mark Hewatt – firefiles north georgia woods
Many of the above images were selected from our Flickr community. Share your summer images with the group, so we can see and appreciate your work!