With summer upon us, it is the time of year to be out, and about, soaking up the sun and capturing terrific summer photos to print and display proudly for that glorious summer feel any time we need it.
The thing is, how you snap photos changes in the summer months. There is far more light than usual, and if you do nature photography, you will have a battle with the sunlight to capture the most interesting photos.
Discover the Hottest Summer Photography Tips for Shooting in Bright Harsh Sunlight
- Find the shade
Photos of people in full sun are not particularly flattering. The shade that appears on people’s faces will show up in photos making it look as though they have black bags under their eyes, even if they haven’t. Nobody is photogenic in full sun. When there’s no shade overhead, natural facial characteristics get an emphasis.
To combat the problem, you need to create the shade. Either take still photos of people under a tree or have something overhead to cast a slight shadow. An umbrella does the trick but unless you go out with plans to be photographing, you probably won’t have one with you. It’s not like you need a brolly in the summer.
For all those spontaneous photos you snap on your fun days out, expect a lot of them to be for digital viewing only. The print quality will likely be hindered when the photos are taken in full sunlight without shade.
If you want to capture printable memories, keep an eye out for shaded spots. Outdoor market stalls and indoor shopping malls are where you will find better shade.
- The best of light is in the middle of the night!
For budding photographers who love to experiment and capture the best of the outdoors, the most stunning light settings are at sunrise. In summer, that is around 4:30 am, which is when the sun is at its softest. It’s at the highest point by around 8 am making the best time for shooting photos before 8 am.
If you are holidaying anywhere in the UK, especially if you are on a camping trip, set your alarm super early and have your camera equipment ready. The earlier you get out, the better the light setting you will get. More so when you are near water as that will reflect the sunlight naturally.
- The golden hour is after 10 pm
If an early rise is not for you, perhaps a later night will be. Sunset is good for natural light, but when lighting gets super accentuated is when artificial lights blend with natural and that is (more often than not) after 10 pm. The crossover between sunset and darkness.
Any outdoor structures that have artificial lighting get captured best late at night just before darkness, and there is around an hour of playtime with your camera. This is when to take photos of things like the O2 at night, or even smaller local attractions like the Bedford Bridge when the lights are on against the dark blue background of the sky on a summer’s night.
- Get close to nature
Due to the high and harsh light intensity, photographing from a distance will be the most difficult shot you take. The easiest and more interesting shots are the ones that are up close at ground level, or at least with the camera aiming downward. Use the zoom function to accentuate the colours of summer.
At the beach, zoom in on the seashells to capture the texture and in summer gardens with flowers in full bloom, zoom right in on the flower petals to capture the leaf patterns, the petals, the colours, and the texture. If you happen to spot butterflies, or bees pollinating plants, increase the shutter speed on your camera for taking action photos to capture insects in action.
- Go explore indoors
Britain is a country that is rich in culture. In every city across the country, there are historic museums, cathedrals, monuments, galleries, abbeys, and much more. Many of them have amazing architecture, and in churches and cathedrals, the stained-glass windows give an interesting light ambience around the interiors.
When the light hits the floors, it accentuates the material. Some floors are paved stone, others are sanded wood, and some are ancient tiles. In all cases, the architecture of the buildings creates interesting shadows that make stunning photos that can make gorgeous framed print artwork.
Keep in mind that not everywhere allows photographs to be taken. Some places are happy to let you photograph discreetly if you ask permission. It will not be allowed in some bigger attractions like most of the palaces, the Royal Parks (tourist photos are fine if you use a small point and shoot camera or your phone, not professional photography equipment), the bigger churches like St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, and in working churches, it is courtesy to ask permission or at least what the rules are.
Most working churches prefer that you do not use flash photography, some prohibit the use of tripods, and in all cases of a working church, people should not be photographed, particularly during worship.