Snap happy this season? Tips for your summer photography

Perhaps surprisingly, we’ve already had plenty of summer sun here in the UK. Scorching temperatures with very little rain has given our country a very tropical feel.

Each season brings different conditions that should be considered when using a camera.

But they come and go so quickly – it doesn’t feel that long ago that we were writing about tips for winter and spring photography.

So make the most of the unusual temperatures we are experiencing at the moment. Think about incorporating these tips into your own practice and the results are bound to be rewarding.

Location, location, location

For most, summertime is holiday time; full of new experiences, visiting new places, and spending time with family & friends.

But you don’t have to go abroad or do anything too drastic in order to get the best shots. A day out at the beach, park, or even shooting in your own backyard can be great for you and your camera.

There is the argument that the beach can be a much more dramatic location during the winter months as the dreary conditions provide photographs with a particular intensity.

Indeed, cloud, rain, snow, and wind can create dramatic compositions but the less turbulent weather also has its charms. Especially when at the beach – there’s always plenty of activity to capture and so much light to work with.

Deck chairs and seagulls at the beach.When planning a trip to the beach, think about the kinds of images you want to capture and select your equipment accordingly. It can be tricky to switch lenses once you’re at the beach because the sand can (and probably will) get into everything.

A wide-angle lens is perfect for capturing subjects while communicating a sense of space. You may want to think about something even bigger if you plan on shooting things from further out.

Also think about the time of day (or night) that will reap the best results for what you intend to capture.

Summertime will mean that beaches are heavily populated during the day. For those shots featuring pristine sands that are steadily revealed by the tide, it is best to rock up with your camera just after high tide. Low tide will mean that the sand is disturbed by tourist footprints – but even these can make great shots.

Consider what you want and plan your trip in relation to the tide and the weather conditions.


Despite the warmth that summer brings (although this is not always guaranteed in the UK), the amount of light in the daytime, as well as the early sunrises and late sunsets, can make things difficult. Too much light can be tricky to deal with as it creates shadows that are short and intense.

On the other hand, sunshine can help you to be bold with your camera. Strong sunlight looks stunning when reflected off manmade structures – buildings and bridges look much crisper and cleaner. Sunshine can also help to emphasise even the simplest of details in architecture. Look out for the abstract, as well as interesting colour contrasts.

Don’t be afraid to play about with different angles, too. A wide-angle lens can help to create dynamic compositions in the city streets.

Overlooking The Alchemist on Salford Quays during golden hour
Above: overlooking The Alchemist on Salford Quays during golden hour.

Polarisers are also an important piece of equipment during the summer months as it will help you to deal with reflections on glass and water. It will also help you to isolate the whiteness of clouds in an otherwise blue sky.

Don’t forget to spend time snapping in the shade, though! The softer light of the shade is especially good for portraits as shadows are not as harsh around the facial features. For shots that focus on particular details or still life subjects will benefit greatly from some form of shadow cast over them.

Silhouettes can also be a gift for the camera when done right. A solid object between you and a bright background (such as a sunset or water) can generate eye catching pictures. Strong sunlight also means strong shadows, so make sure to point your camera as these for something a bit different.

Remember golden hour – during the hour before and after sunset, everywhere is bathed in a special golden hue. This is ideal for photographs as the light is much warmer and there are longer shadows to be expected.

Summer smiles

Don’t be afraid to share your summer snaps with others.

Social media platforms such as Twitter are a great source of inspiration as well as a way of inspiring other photographers. There is much to be learned from the photographs of others.

Smartphones are always useful for grabbing candid moments as they are always to hand – especially for action by the pool. And as we can see from this example, despite how well you plan things, sometimes timing is everything.


Whether you’re out and about, or just keeping it casual with your camera this summer, try to incorporate some, if not all, of these tips into your photography practice.

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