Summer’s in the air, and with that comes a vast array of photo opportunities. From backyard BBQs (need some invitations?) to days at the beach (that fit perfectly into a photo book!), the summer season is a great time to snap photos of all your outdoor fun. However, that bright light can bring about some drawbacks—squinty eyes and very bright photos at the least. But not to fear! This article will give you a few tips to make sure your pictures come out beautifully, allowing you to capture the true joy of the summer season.
Tip #1: Shoot in the Shade Taking photos in direct sunlight can cause harsh shadows on your subject, not to mention cause them to squint. Whenever possible, step into a shaded area to get the sun out of your subject's face! This will eliminate the harsh shadows, squinting, and of course, keep everyone cool!
Tip #2: Shoot Late in the Day If you cannot find shade, shooting later in the day can also soften the shadows. Instead of having the sun directly above you, it’ll be lower in the sky, casting a glow from the side.
Tip #3: Use “Natural” Light Reflectors As we’ve mentioned before, direct sunlight can be your enemy. To diffuse light, look for walls the sun can bounce off of. Having the sun hit a light colored wall will create a beautiful glow in the surrounding area. Can’t find a light-colored wall? Have a friend or family member help you out by holding up a white sheet between the sun and your subject. Just like the wall, the fabric will diffuse the sun, preventing harsh shadows.
Tip #4: Use Color Accents Adding pops of bright color to your summer photos can help enhance and portray their overall mood. A few warm, bright accents, such as an orange beach umbrella or bright red strawberries can help portray that fun summer feeling. Alternatively, focusing on a bright blue pool or sky can help illustrate the coolness summer can provide.
On the opposite end, don’t be afraid to shoot in black and white. The contrast summer creates makes for great black and white photos—so don’t be afraid to shoot with that filter!
Tip #5: Increase Your Shutter Speed Increasing your shutter speed will prevent your photographs from being overexposed. Because it is already naturally bright outside, a quicker shutter speed will still give you a great photograph. We also suggest taking advantage of the Speedburst (or Sports) mode on your camera. This pre-programs your camera to be ready to capture quick movement—which is definitely common during the summer.
For the advanced user: Don’t be afraid to use your exposure compensation button. If photos are too bright and details are being blown out, underexpose your photos by moving the exposure meter closer to the (-) icon. If your subject is coming out too dark as a result of a bright background, overexpose your photos by moving the exposure meter closer to the (+) icon.
*Note: If this causes your background to be extremely bright, you may just need to use your flash to bring light to the subject, while keeping the background properly exposed.
Tip #6: Use the Sun to Backlight Your Photos Sometimes, there’s just no way to get rid of the sun! If that’s the case, use it to your advantage. Have your subject block the sun by standing directly in front of it. This will give you a completely different image from your normal point-and-shoot photos. The brightness of the sun doesn't hurt the eyes, but helps cast a unique glow to your subject!
Tip #7: Practice Being a “Photo Journalist” There is no better time to play around than summer. You do not need to worry about wet grounds, slippery areas, or layers and layers of clothing bogging you down. Don’t be afraid to tap into your inner child and be creative. Take photos from above, below, and everywhere in between. Just be careful kneeling on hot asphalt!
Now that you've read through all these tips, why not take them out into real life? Remember, practice makes perfect, so make sure you have your camera with you all summer long! If you capture a photo you're particularly proud of, share it with the rest of your fellow Mixbookers on our Facebook wall! We can't wait to see your beautiful photos!