August 5, 2009

Summer Photo Tips

Hi everyone! Sheesh, I really can't believe that summer is almost over! My kids have already started school so it sort of feels like it is over already... even though it is still blistering hot here and will be for months! I guess it all depends on what your definition of summer is and to me, I think of it as those months when the kids are all home, which means:

no schedules
more swimming
staying up later than usual
did I mention swimming
oh and more popsicles!

This summer went by way too quickly for me! It literally flew by and I feel like we didn't even get to do all the things we wanted... but we did do a lot of fun things, one of which was a fun vacation to Utah which included cooler weather, some amazing photo ops and lots of fun playing with cousins and family!

I wanted to share a few tips for taking pictures in the hot summer sun today. I know that most of the time when we are out doing our summer activities we are faced with full sun that is bright and harsh -- not the optimal lighting situation right?
But, there are a few things you can do to help make your photos still look great:

1. Look for shade if at all possible.
This can seem impossible in the summer when you are out in the middle of the day, but often times you can still find bits of shade, even if it is just a sliver. Look for trees, look for some type of overhang or anything that might give a little shade. Even at our neighborhood swimming pool, I can often find some shade - either under one of the shade umbrellas, or under some of the architecture that is in and around the pool. Also, if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that is cloudy a lot or that has some haze, you can use that the same way as shade. It will diffuse the sun and make it a lot less harsh and bright on your subject! Here I simply captured a moment of quiet and stillness at the pool (in between all of the activity) when my son and his grandpa were sitting under the shade umbrella.

2. When you can't find shade, embrace the sun and use it to your advantage.
By this I mean to use the technique of backlighting which can provide for some amazingly beautiful images if done correctly. Backlighting simply means to place the subject so that the sun is behind them. If you face the subject to the sun, you will force them to squint which isn't appealing. Instead, you will want to put the sun at their back. Then you will just make sure to expose for the subject's face and not the background. Otherwise the subject will be dark if not completely black. This will cause your background to get blown out and overexposed but will give nice even lighting on your subject. If you do it right, you can also sometimes get sun flare which is "technically and traditionally" speaking not really a good thing, but "artistically" speaking it can be beautiful and I personally LOVE it! Backlit images will always be more hazy and not as crisp and clear as front lit images, but again, I think this just adds to the mood and the beauty of it!

3. Capture candid shots with the subject facing down or away from the sun.
You can still capture some great candid shots of your children or other family members even if the sun is shining right on their face. You just won't want to ask them to face you and face directly into the sun (which again would cause them to squint). You will want to let them look down or look to the side (or even capture them from the back like I did below) so that they are lit by the sun but not squinting from looking directly at it.

The above image is courtesy of Kelly Noel.

I hope that these tips will help you to capture some fun photos of your family during these hot summer months! And now we can all look forward to great images from our summer activities to scrap in the coming months!!


Kimberly said...


GCD Studios said...

I love this post and I love all these photos.

Here is a favo summer photo of mine. we love hanging out at the local beach

Queen of Paper said...

lol sorry that last one is from me
Heidi Sonboul

Kim said...

great tips and I love those photos! your description of summer routine made me laugh; it sounds just like mine - swimming and no schedules!