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Summer Photography Tips

Embrace the hours and hours of sunshine on your days off and take lots of photos. Here are some ideas for your inspiration.

1. Start early

Really early. The days are so long that if you want to catch sunrise you've got to set that alarm! But it's worth the early wake up because a summer dawn can be amazing. Plan where you intend to go a day or two in advance. If you’re away on holiday, make the most of your chance to shoot a new location. If not, photograph the sunrise from a favourite spot.
Locations that contain water are ideal for dawn photography because the water mirrors the colours in the sky. Take a tripod and arrive at least half an hour before sunrise so you can capture the twilight glow in the sky.

2.Go structural

The sun gets to its highest point in the sky early in the day in summer, where it stays until around 5pm. On a clear day, the light can be very harsh and intense, and with the sun overhead, shadows are strong. If you like to shoot graphic images, strong sunlight is ideal. Buildings, bridges and other man-made structures look stunning on a clear summer’s day against deep blue skies, so head to the city and experiment with unusual viewpoints and wide angle lenses to create interesting compositions. Look for simple, abstract details and make the most of colour contrasts such as yellow and blue or red and green. Experiment with monochrome for these images as well.

3. A Polarizing Filter is your friend

polarizer is a must for giving summer photos a good boost. It will deepen a blue sky and emphasize clouds, it will eliminate reflections and reduce glare so colour saturation is increased. To get the best effect on the sky, keep the sun on one side of the camera. Polarizers lose two stops of light, so keep an eye on your shutter speeds. A tripod will be handy if you need to stop the lens down, or you could increase the ISO so you can use a faster shutter speed.

Overcast early morning or evening light will evenly illuminate your subject, making it an ideal time of day for photography.

4. Shoot portraits in the shade

Summer light out in the open is harsh and unflattering, but if you step into the shade of a building, tree or doorway the light is soft, shadows are very weak and contrast is lower. Use a white ground or floor for a nice natural light reflector. Details and still life images also work much better in shade. If you’re in the open and no shade is available, holding something above your subject’s heads will work – an umbrella, diffuser or sheet of card. This technique also works well for close-ups of flowers.

5. Shoot silhouettes

Place a solid object between you and a bright background and you’ve got a silhouette. The object could be any simple, easily-identifiable shape such as a person, tree, boat or building and the background could be anything from a bright sunrise or sunset, or shimmering highlights on water. Mix and match as you like.

6. Shoot the shadows

Strong sunlight means strong shadows. When the sun’s high they’re short and are cast vertically down walls and doors. When the sun’s low they lie across the landscape. Use a telephoto lens to fill the frame with shadow patterns and make them your main subject, or use shadows as leading lines in wide angle shots.

7. Go on a picnic

A relaxed picnic puts people in a good mood, so it's easier to take some nice family portraits. If you take a tripod and use your self-timer or remote you can also get a few shots of the whole family together having fun. If you have a wireless remote, or your camera has Wi-Fi connectivity built-in so you can control it remotely via your phone, you can trip the shutter from within the scene. Arrange the family in dappled shade and use a flashgun to brighten faces up.

8. Make colours pop!

Summer is a time for lots of vibrant colour in the garden. It can be hard to take shots that reflect that with the hazy summer light. The best time for to maximize coolour is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. If the sun is too bright it washes everything out, so it's best to avoid garden photography when the sun is too bright (midday) as it rarely turns out well.

Have fun capturing your summer fun. Share your photos with us. Tag us @cartersphotographics #wherewillyourcameratakeyou

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