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Summer Photo Ideas

Updated on December 18, 2013
randomcreative profile image

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Just a Few Possibilities
Baby Photos
Engagement Shoots
Family Photos
Kid Photography
Maternity Shoots
Senior Portraits
Wedding Parties

There are numerous possibilities throughout the summer season for bright, vivid photography. Regardless of whether you are interested in personal or professional inspiration (or a combination of both), there are a lot of options here for backgrounds and props. Don't be afraid to mix and match the ideas here for single photo shoots (i.e. bright colors at the beach). Think about using multiple ideas during single sessions as well (i.e. dock shots that prominently feature blue skies).

I have purposely included many photo examples that do not feature people or do not highlight specific individuals. This allows photographers to more easily picture these props and backgrounds with many different people.

Cross Flash Effects, Outdoor flash photography

Click thumbnail to view full-size
San Antonio Botanical Gardens, San Antonio, TXZablock VA grounds, Milwaukee, WIBuckingham Fountain, Chicago, ILGarfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, ILMillennium Park, Chicago, IL
San Antonio Botanical Gardens, San Antonio, TX
San Antonio Botanical Gardens, San Antonio, TX | Source
Zablock VA grounds, Milwaukee, WI
Zablock VA grounds, Milwaukee, WI | Source
Buckingham Fountain, Chicago, IL
Buckingham Fountain, Chicago, IL | Source
Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, IL
Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, IL | Source
Millennium Park, Chicago, IL
Millennium Park, Chicago, IL | Source


There is nothing like passing a favorite fountain after Memorial Day to see it up and running again after months of sitting dry. Many fountains have so many unique aspects to photograph. Don't forget to concentrate purely on the water and the patterns that the fountain makes in it as well. If you have a favorite fountain that you can visit on a regular basis, make a point to shoot it at different times of the day and from different angles throughout the summer.


Farmers Markets and Summer Foods

One of the most difficult parts about becoming serious about furthering my photography skills has been getting over my fear of looking ridiculous with my camera in public. I know that I am not the only one who has this issue. It can take time and practice to feel comfortable walking into a farmers market or grocery store produce section with your camera to get those shots that you want, but it is well worth the effort. Summer is filled with inspiring food aesthetics that make wonderful photographic compositions.

SGNL : How to Take STUNNING Food Pictures - Food Photography Tips


Tip: Take time to research tips about avoiding overexposure when shooting on brilliant sunny days.

Blue Skies

After months of waiting for precious rare days with blue skies, it is satisfying to have an abundance of clear skies during the summer. Take advantage of them while you can. Seek out a variety of settings to explore during these clear days.


At the Beach

The beach is a wonderful setting for photography all year round with numerous possibilities for texture, layers, and lighting. If you feel yourself burning out in a regular location, challenge yourself to go further afield this year. Consider methods for mixing up your normal routine in a particular setting as well, such using a new lens or shooting at a different time of day.


Summer Recreation

One of the most popular tips that you find for summer photography is to capture the moments that you spend with friends and family. It can be easy to get caught up in all of your social engagements and not stop to take a few shots. While you're relaxing this summer, don't forget to pull out your camera once in a while.

This summer explore a new region for summer recreation in your area.

show route and directions
A markerStarved Rock State Park -
Starved Rock State Park, 2668 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
get directions

B markerDevils Lake State Park -
Devil's Lake State Park, State Highway 123 Trunk, Baraboo, WI 53913, USA
get directions

C markerKent Park -
2048 Upper Old Highway 6 Road Northwest, Oxford, IA 52322, USA
get directions


Bright Colors

One of the fun parts about photography during any season is maximizing the potential of the current color palette. Summer is filled with bright shades of plants, flowers, food, clothing, and more. Mix up the routine this year with new seasonal color combinations that you don't normally use.

Experiment with shooting subjects in both direct sunlight and filtered sunlight.
Experiment with shooting subjects in both direct sunlight and filtered sunlight. | Source


Not only there likely to be more sunny days during the summer than any other season but they will be longer, giving you ample photography opportunities during the morning, late afternoon, and evening. Experiment with both direct sunlight and filtered sunlight. Be careful to avoid overexposure.


At the Dock

Do you live near an ocean or lake with a dock or multiple docks? If you live in an colder climate, most people will primarily keep their boats out during the summer. Depending on the type of camera and/or lens(es) that you have, you may also be able to experiment with shooting boats out on the water, too.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Plants and Flowers

Once you start to photograph in macro, you won't be able to stop. Plants and flowers present so many photographic opportunities throughout the year as the colors and textures change. If you enjoy vivid colors and rich sunny bokeh, summer is the time to maximize these subjects. Don't forget to take advantage of chances to shoot immediately following rain to capture water drops.



This theme goes hand in hand with summer recreation. Summer is an ideal moment for capturing those little moments in life when people have taken a few minutes out of their busy lives to spend time socializing in the nice weather. Make sure that you get a record of a few of these occasions.

Vacation Photography Tips

Are you planning a special photography session or event this summer? Hire a great midwest company for the event.

A markerKeylight Photography -
6804 Green Bay Road #109, Kenosha, WI 53142, USA
get directions


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    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, DDE!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Beautiful photos and you have mentioned helpful ideas here.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Jamie! Yep, Buckingham Fountain is in Chicago right off of Lakeshore Drive. The museum that you're thinking of is the Field Museum. It's a classic. So glad that you enjoyed this.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Lots of great tips and ideas about taking summer photos. The fountain one (Buckingham) looked familiar and then I realized that I actually saw that fountain when I visited Chicago once. Is that fountain on Lakeview or Lakeshore Drive? Sorry.. I forget the name of the drive but I know it ran along side the lake. We also visited the Museum of Science and Natural History there in Chicago.. at least I think that was the name of it. It was soooo fascinating! Great hub, love all the photos. Thank you for sharing :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Carol! That's awesome. Have fun with your painting. :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Love your photos...Beautiful..I am inspired to paint so I will bookmark for near future use. Thanks for sharing. Voting UP and pinning.