A Guide to Capturing Your Best Photos This Summer!

Ahhh Summer…schools out and its time to kick back, relax, and have some fun! When I think of Summer photos I think of popsicles, pools, and lots and lots of play. If you are looking for some ideas for your Summer photos look no further. There are sooo many wonderful activities to photograph in Summer it is hard to name them all. After being cooped up inside all Winter it’s such a joy to be able to get outside and have some Summer fun. So I have compiled a list of my favorite things to shoot in Summer and some tips and tricks to help you along the way!


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!!! Popsicles and ice cream are always a sure win when it come to Summer photos. Not to mention that you will almost always find a very willing model. Whenever I offer my kids this sweet treat they all come running! But you have to work quickly, because as we all know, ice cream and popsicles melt! Quickly!! So be sure that you are ready to start shooting as soon as you hand out you goodies. 

When photographing these frozen desserts really think about your colors. There are so many fun and brightly colored popsicles and even ice cream these days. Take advantage of those beautiful pops of colors. And if you are shooting ice cream don’t forget to add some fun toppings! Think sprinkles, or go even further and add whipped cream, cherries, or nuts on top! My daughter had a blast shooting this banana spilt photograph and the extra toppings really add to the scene!

And don’t forget to capture the mess!! All the drips and drops on those sweet little faces make for a priceless photo!


I could write and whole separate blog post about this topic! Water is a wonderful element of Summer to photograph. I especially love to capture movement in water. So think spraying hoses and sprinklers, and splashes in the pool. Water droplets make for beautiful details so try to capture as many as you can!

When photographing water be very aware of your light. Since water reflects light, when the two come together they create magic! If I have my subject spraying a hose or jumping through a sprinkler I will always position it so that the sun is behind it, shining through. 

And don’t forget all those colorful accessories! Think pool floats, swimsuits, goggles, and pool noodles. There are so many fun and colorful accessories available today. So be very aware of how you put your colors together when photographing all these elements. 


After being inside all Winter it seems we humans like to bring our food outside. So camping and picnics are wonderful activities to include in your Summer photos. Sitting around a fire and roasting s’mores is such a wonderful activity to photograph. There is nothing quite as comforting as the soft glow of a fire. And with all those sticky fingers and melty gooey goodness to capture you can’t go wrong. Making s’mores just brings out the inner child in all of us so there will always be lots of joy and smiles to capture.

Picnics are another wonderful outdoor activity to capture. I like to capture the mood of relaxing and lazing about in the sun without a care in the world. Put some thought into your picnic props. Think colorful blankets, baskets and food. Watermelon is a wonderful Summer fruit to photograph with its bright colors and juicy goodness.


Children love to explore! Catching fireflies and butterflies is another wonderful Summer activity to document. Again think closely about your props. I like to be mindful of picking nets and jars that photograph well. A pretty glass mason jar looks amazing filled with tiny fireflies. Just don’t forget to release them! Fireflies have a magical glow and butterflies have such colorful wings so there are lots of tiny details to capture. And be mindful of your camera settings. It can be especially difficult to capture fireflies since it will be getting dark quickly. But I find that there are always a few out before it gets too dark to shoot. So head out early!

Fireflies and butterflies aren’t the only critters to capture. There are so many more! Think ladybugs, grasshoppers, and even frogs and turtles too!


Nothing says Summer like bare feet and dirt covered hands. There are so many elements to outdoor play that you can capture. I love to photograph my children drawing with chalk or blowing bubbles or even just digging in the dirt or playing in their sandbox. Again, be conscious of your colors with chalk or colorful outdoor toys.

If you have a Summer garden be sure to include it and all the wonderful accessories that go with it like shovels, watering cans, and collecting those beautiful vegetables.

And don’t forget swings and hammocks! There are so many beautiful swings and hammocks available these days…it’s a photographer’s dream! What better way to represent the lazy days of Summer than relaxing in a hammock! 


Berry picking is always a fun summer tradition to capture. All the colorful fruit makes for a beautiful photo and there are so many fun details to document. Those little berry stained hands and faces and pretty baskets full of fruit make for lovely Summer photos. It’s usually hot this time of year so be prepared to sweat and bring some fun hats to help keep cool. Since there is always a lot of green in the berry patches I like to really think about how I am going to plan my colors. Red and green are complimentary colors which go together naturally when berry picking so think carefully about what other (if any) colors you want to throw into the mix.


Speaking of fun hats don’t forget to take advantage of all the fun clothing options Summer has to offer. Think about colorful swimsuits, dresses and cute sandals. Hats and sunglasses are always a fun option depending on the photo. Summer is a time for bright and cheery color choices.


With all that fresh green grass growing be on the lookout for the dreaded green color cast on your subjects. All that bright Summer sunshine reflects off the green grass bouncing onto your subject and creating a greenish tint to anything it touches. It can really do a number on skin tones. This is one reason I will typically shoot in the evenings during the Summer. The light is much softer and you don’t have all that bright yellow sunlight bouncing off of everything. When you are editing your photographs remember to be aware of this and do any necessary color correction.


And as I just mentioned, be sure to take advantage of that beautiful Summer evening light. With longer, warmer days and later sunsets its a great time to play outside during golden hour (the hour before sunset) when the sun rays are soft and golden and really flatter your subjects’ skin tones. Summer mornings are also a beautiful time to get outside and grab some shots. The beautiful dewy grass and morning mist make for beautiful images.

So let’s do a super quick recap!

  • Popsicles/Ice Cream – Remember to work quickly and capture those beautiful colors.
  • Sprinklers/Pools/Floaties – Think about how you are using water and light, and again, incorporate those fun summer colors.
  • Camping and Picnics – Capture that joy and all those delicious and colorful Summer foods that are so much fun to photograph.
  • Catching Critters – Think fireflies, butterflies, frogs, turtles…the list goes on and on! Think about your props like pretty jars and nets!
  • Simple Outdoor Play – Colorful chalk, beautiful floating bubbles, and dirty hands and feet.
  • Berry Picking – Document all the little details and plan to beat the heat!

And don’t forget!

  • Have fun picking out your Summer clothing/accessories
  • Watch out for your greens! They can cause a weird colorcast on skin tones.
  • Take advantage of that beautiful Summer light!

So there you have it! These are some of my favorite moments of Summer fun to document and some tips and tricks to help you along the way. I hope that this list gives you a good jumping off point for capturing your own Summer photos.



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Hi! I'm Ruth!

Welcome to my blog where I share all things photography related. I am a fine art photographer and photography instructor and mentor. I am also the mother to five wild little children who I homeschool. We love to explore nature while I take photographs along the way!

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