7 Summer Photography Ideas
- Transition Timelapse
- Underwater Photography
- Get out on Top of the Water
- Use your Circular Polarizer
- Capture the Flowers
- Do a Photo a Day Project
Summer is here in Calgary! It's toasty and warm (maybe a bit too warm). So I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about those photos that you can only really shoot in summer. This episode will give you seven fun photo ideas to help jump-start your creativity and get you shooting more. MY goal here is to get you thinking about some new types of photos. Alright, we're all busy people, so let's not waste this time. Let's get going!
#1: Transition Timelapse
I think most people have shot some form of a timelapse before, and they are a lot of fun. But most of us have missed the holy grail of timelapse shots - the entire transition (and awesome if you've got one of these). That shot where you timelapse for the whole day, day to night, night to day, whatever strikes your fancy. Just go through one of those significant transitions in your timelapse. You can do these types of shots at any time of the year, but doing them in the summer is by far the easiest. You don't have to worry about the cold (which means fewer battery changes). It's easier to dress and plan for (just don't set yourself up in a spot where you will be in direct sunlight for hours). It feels way better to sit for hours in the summer as well, and it's easier to find places to sit down and set up without the snow or mud. And people are generally more willing to come and meet you to hang out for a few hours by your camera in the summer. Especially if you set up beside a river or somewhere gorgeous, people can just pop in (doing this makes the day way more fun). So, shot #1 - the whole day (or at least part of a day) transition timelapse.
#2: Underwater Photography
I can honestly say I've taken photos underwater about 10 times in my life. That's it. And it is a lot of fun. It's a huge challenge that really pushes your creativity. For most of us, this is going to mean renting a waterproof housing for our camera. And that is totally worth it for a day or weekend of shooting under the water. Once again, you could do this any time of year, but summer is by far the easiest. The days are hot, the water feels amazing, and you don't need to worry about things like frostbite and hypothermia.
To make sure you get the most out of this opportunity, I'd plan a little in advance. Pick a few different lakes or bodies of water that you want to try shooting in in a couple of locations. And make sure to bring some people with you who don't mind being photographed under the water. This ensures you will have a subject to shoot. I'd also try renting the housing for your camera body for a few days so that you can get a feel for how to shoot because it is a very different experience. Shooting underwater will drastically challenge your photographic capabilities. This is a great way to grow your creative eye.
#3: Get out on Top of the Water
Get out canoeing, kayaking, motorboating, or whatever fun on-the-water activity you like doing and document the experience. Of course, take the obligatory over-the-bow of the boat shot, but also get the scenery, the details in the water, if you're paddling - get the paddle in the water and hitting the water. And don't forget about those around you. Capture the joy on their faces as you spend time on top of the water. If you're up for it, get into the water and shoot the boat from a distance away.
You can also try getting into a water sport and document water skiing, whitewater anything, or surfing (if you're lucky enough to be near somewhere). This kind of falls into the underwater housing, but you can also shoot many of these from the shoreline.
I love water sports and shooting near the water. It gives a dynamic moving element to your images that make things feel alive. And frequently, I find water stealing the spotlight away from the subject of the shot.
Soap bubbles make for extraordinary images. They are easy to make, can be added to any scene, and people worldwide love them. They reflect light, make rainbows, look amazing when they pop and are an excellent complement for photos with people of any age in them. Even if they look grumpy about the bubbles, it still makes for great photos (because who can be temperamental when there are bubbles around?)
There are so many ways to use bubbles. My favourite is to have people running and dancing in amongst them. It makes for beautiful imagery. Portraits with bubbles dancing around the person all make for a fun and quirky image. Finally, and of course, kids popping and chasing after them. The look of pure joy on their face is perfect.
#5: Use your Circular Polarizer
Summer means a lot of sun, which means a lot of reflections off of surfaces. So pull out that circular polarizer and try using it in places you wouldn't usually think to. I particularly love what it does to the reflections on grass and foliage. It tones down the sun just enough that the leaves and other plants start to really pop back out again.
Your CP also saturates colour quite a bit and really makes clouds pop off a blue sky. Try using it even when there aren't reflections to add some drama to your sky images and to naturally saturate your photo with some more colour.
#6: Capture the Flowers
This is the only time of the year where wildflowers are out, so you should go and find them! Wildflowers are lovely, beautiful natural wonders that can be found anywhere in the world and make for excellent individual subjects in an image or as an accenting piece in landscapes and portraits. There are fields of alpine flowers in the mountains that are just starting to bloom and are only around for a few weeks, so you need to get to them ASAP.
When you get out to shoot flowers, try doing macros to capture their unique beauty and details, then slowly pull out to include them in the broader frame. They make great foreground subjects in landscape images and Astro shots. Finally, use them as an accenting piece on your portraits, frame your subject, have your subject lie amongst the flowers or look through them, or even use them as a backdrop. Anyway, you can think to use that flower to accent your subject, do it. Just be nice to the plants. They are living things, and do your best not to crush them, step on them, or destroy the area for someone else. Leave no trace when you are out.
#7: Do a Photo a Day
Take a photo every day and then string them together at the end of summer for a trip back down memory lane of your summer. These could be selfies, nature, food, a combo, whatever. It doesn't matter; the idea is to create a fun summer memories reel. This is a project that you can do any time of year, but honestly, most of us are out more in the summer, making more memories. That's why I'm suggesting it in here this week.
The photo a day project follows along with the one-second video clip project, where you shoot one second of video every day and put them together as a memories package. These images aren't meant to be art pieces. They are add ons, memory keepers, and emotional tie-ins for you. And this is a great way to remember your whole summer and bring a smile to your face as you remember everything you did this year.
You can follow along with Robert’s adventures on Instagram @RobertMasseyPhotography.