5 Tips to Improve your summer photography

Yes, as a landscape photographer my camera currently collects dust somewhere in a cupboard. Why? Because the light during the summer is really harsh most of the day and this gives hard shadows and great contrast situations.

But hey, don’t worry. You learned so much from last year’s photography so why not pick up your camera, go out and explore.

Tip1: Go out and explore

You can sit back in your lounge chair and watch television, or you can clean your gear and lenses over and over again, but doing that won’t give you a nice picture. No, what you really should do is grab your camera and go out and explore. Summer season is really great to find new places which you couldn’t reach during the wet season. Hiking, biking you name it. Most of the roads, tracks and paths you couldn’t enter in the wet season are now accessible. Just don’t forget to bring your camera and tripod. Also a polarizing filter is a must to eliminate reflections in the water or on leaves in trees. It also helps you to get better contrast.

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Tip2: Get out of your comfort zone

Most photographers have mastered themselves a specific style of photography. You have for instance Macro-, Landscape-, Portrait photographers etc. The summer is the perfect time to learn more about a different style of photography then you are used to. You can join workshops for instance or you can try to capture your beloved style of photography through a different lens with a different focal length. For instance, A Landscape photographer most of the time uses a wide angle lens to get as much of the landscape in the frame as possible. In this case, try to use a 200mm or 300mm lens to really get into your landscape and see things you would have missed when you used a wide-angled lens.

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Tip3: It’s all about timing

Because in summer, the light is only beautiful for a short period of time in the early morning hour and the late afternoon, it is crucial to be at the right place in the right time. So, it is all about timing. You might know when the light is good from your most favorite spots, but it’s a different story for locations you didn’t visit yet. To get to a location under the best conditions possible there is a very convenient program which you can download in the app-store or install on your desktop. It is called The Photographer’s Ephemeris. It basically tells you when and where the sun and moon rises and sets on any given place on earth. So, by using this program in combination with other data, like low-tide tables or what so ever, you now can plan a photoshoot months ahead. Of course, you still can’t tell if the weather will corporate.

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Tip 4: Photograph in bad weather

Summer is mostly know for it’s warm, sunny and dry weather. But, it is also the season of brewing storms, thunder and lightning and extreme weather. I personally like the summer days that start sunny, get really warm during the day and end with a big thunderstorm in the evening. You can already predict by looking and listening to the weatherforcast where the worst storm will be. The only thing you need to do is find yourself a good and save spot, set up your gear and wait until the storm strikes. Another great feature of bad weather is that most people stay inside. This will open up some opportunities which normally won’t occur. Like in cities with lot of traffic and walking people. When the weather is bad, the streets are much less busy and sometimes completely abandoned. Together with the lights of the shops and pools and puddles on the road it will give a nice view of the once so busy city.

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Tip 5: Try to be critical

This is one of the tips most people forget about easily. The modern cameras have the ability to store loads of data on a single storage medium. You can easily fit about 400 photos on a 16GB card for example. That doesn’t mean that all of those pictures is of good quality. Most of the time people throw away 90-95% of the pictures they took because they don’t fit in the standard of good quality. Therefore, it is better to already have a photo plan before you go out and shoot pictures. By doing this, you eliminate most of the unnecessary pictures which you throw away anyways afterwards. By carefully planning, looking and “reading” the light, you will be able to make the shot you already made in your head in advance. This will save you a lot of time in uploading, post processing and in disk space off course. So, Don’t spray and pray.

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So basically it is no excuse to sit back and do nothing during the summer season. Summer photography offers hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities to practice photography morning, noon, and night. The weather is warmer and the days are longer, there are festivals for everything almost every weekend. If you’re having trouble coming up with something to photograph check out local towns websites for their calendar of events, there is a good chance something is going on near you.