However, as most experienced shooters know, summertime picture taking also poses a number of challenges. Brilliant sunshine directly overhead often results in harsh shadows and unflattering portraits. The brightness range of the scene may exceed the capacity of your camera’s sensor to capture detail in both the highlight and shadow areas. It’s often tough to shoot at wide apertures, making it more difficult to create the shallow depth of field needed to make your subject “pop” off a soft background. And of when you’re shooting on the trail, at the beach, or in a heavy downpour, you run the risk of damaging your equipment.
To deal with these and other potential downsides of summertime shooting, we’ve compiled this handy list of summertime shooting tips, all designed to enhance your summertime shooting experience.
1. Get up early and shoot late:
Taking pictures shortly after dawn and into the early morning, and again during the hour or two before dusk, is a good way to avoid the harsh quality of midday sunlight, a period that extends for four to five hours during the summer months. Locations near water are ideal for shooting dynamic scenic images around dawn or dusk because the water reflects the colors in the sky. Other strategies: reschedule your portrait shoot for an overcast day, or move your subjects to a shaded area, or even head indoors where you can photograph them by more flattering window light.
2. Use a polarizing filter:
They’re ideal for shooting summer scenic and landscape images because they increase overall color saturation, add contrast to clouds for dramatic skies, and eliminate unwanted glare from water and glass surfaces. Getting the desired effect is easy — just rotate the front ring of this two-part filter until you see what you want in the viewfinder or on your camera’s LCD.
Circular polarisers do reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor, but they don’t affect metering or AF accuracy when used on today’s TTL-metering DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
3. Try a variable neutral density (VND) filter:
It’s the perfect summertime filter because it lets you control the amount of light reaching the sensor. Even when setting your camera to its lowest ISO won’t do the trick, it lets you shoot at wider apertures and/or slower shutter speeds on bright sunny days and capture gorgeous pictorial effects. In effect this VND filter adds another control to the camera, a continuously variable ring that lets you control and assess the amount of light coming through the lens.
4. Use fill flash:
It may seem counterintuitive to shoot with flash on a bright, sunny day at the beach, but it’s a great way to tame those harsh midday shadows and achieve pleasant, natural looking people pictures without ugly shadows cast by hats, glasses, noses, etc. A relatively powerful accessory shoe-mount flash unit is generally more effective than your camera’s built-in flash and if it has a zoom-tilt head, built-in “bounce card,” and a wide-angle diffuser it’ll give you even more control over the lighting effects.
Make sure to set your auto-flash to the “force flash” setting so it will fire even in bright light, and experiment with the settings until you achieve the effects you want.
5. Opt for a rugged, waterproof camera:
Today’s active lifestyle “everything proof” cameras are virtually indestructible high-performance broad-spectrum compacts that are perfect for capturing summertime images. They’ll withstand the rigors of surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, boating, hiking, rock-climbing, bungee jumping, or any other activity you might think twice about covering with an unprotected DSLR or mirrorless camera. They feature rugged, assertive styling combined with waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and freeze-proof construction.
6. Pack portable reflectors:
These versatile light modification tools are great for filling in the harsh shadows often encountered when shooting in bright sunlight. Popular reflector kits provide white, silver, gold, and black surfaces plus a one-stop translucent diffusion panel and they’re a great way to achieve the precise lighting effects you want whether you’re shooting on location outdoors or indoors.
7. Use flower power for striking images:
Many flowers, trees, bushes, and other plants are at their peak during the summer and their vibrant blooms create a riot of colour that makes them compelling and colourful subjects that will delight your viewers. Brilliant and subtly hued flowers can be found in private gardens, public parks, in forests, and along the roadside so keep your eyes peeled and you’ll be rewarded with great shots.