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5 Ideas for Getting Creative with Your Summer Photography

Marianne Stenger
24th August 2017

Summer is in full swing, and for photographers, the longer days, extra free time and wide range of outdoor activities means more opportunities to be creative and practice new photography techniques.

So if you’re a photographer looking to take advantage of these longer days and warm summer nights to get out there and take some interesting photos, here are a few ideas for getting creative with your summer photography.

1. Capture silhouettes

The contrast between light and dark in silhouette photographs can be stunning, and the colourful sunsets and warm evenings during summertime make it the perfect time to capture these types of photos.

Keep in mind that the background must be lighter than the subject of your photo, so you’ll need to underexpose the subject. The best way to achieve this is to shoot in manual mode so you’ll be able to adjust the shutter speed, ISO and aperture until you’re happy with the results.

Also, make sure there isn’t too much clutter in the foreground such as trees, cars or buildings that will distract from the main subject of your photo.

2. Experiment with sunbursts

The term “sunbursts” refers to those star-shaped rays of sun that show up in photos when you’re shooting against the sun. Although the effect isn’t always desirable, it can enhance a photo when it’s done intentionally, and bright summer days are perfect for experimenting with it.

If you want to experiment with sunbursts, start by thinking about the composition of your photo and where you’d like the sunburst to show up. Next, switch to manual or aperture priority mode and set your aperture to f/16 or higher, as this will make it easier to capture the sun’s rays.

Remember that you won’t usually want to capture the sun in full view as it will likely be too bright, so it’s good to look for a way to partially block its rays. For instance, you could have it peeking over the top of a hill or mountain or filter its rays through some tree branches.

3. Learn to diffuse light

During the summer months, the sun tends to be very bright, which can result in lots of harsh shadows and unattractive glare. So with this in mind, it is often the perfect time of year to learn about and practice diffusing light.

Light can be diffused in a number of different ways. One of the simplest ways to diffuse light when you’re shooting in the middle of the day is to move into the shade of a tree, umbrella or building. If you’re shooting out in the open and don’t have the luxury of moving into the shade, you can also try tools like fabric diffusers, softboxes and reflectors.

4. Practice freezing fast action

Summer activities like biking, surfing and diving make for great action shots, but capturing these moments and getting sharp images can be trickier than you might expect. So you can practice using faster shutter speeds to freeze action, whether it’s your dog jumping into a lake, a cyclist speeding past you or a casual football game in the park.

If you’re not used to manual mode, you can start with shutter priority mode, which allows you use a faster shutter speed without worrying about the ISO or aperture.  If you want to make sure you won’t miss any action, you can also switch to burst mode, which captures a series of photographs in quick succession as you press or hold down the shutter button.

5. Play with long exposures

Warmer weather usually means enjoying more evening and night-time activities, and this is a great opportunity to play with longer exposures.

For example, you could use exposures of 13 seconds or more to capture light trails on a road that gets a lot of traffic. Or if you’re enjoying some star gazing on a camping trip, you could capture star trails by using exposures of 15 minutes to a few hours.

The most important thing you’ll need if you want to try long exposure photography is a tripod, as this will prevent the camera from moving while the shutter is open and ensure sharp images. If you need some inspiration, check out these stunning examples of long exposure photography.