There’s no better time for photography than in the summer. Days are long, nature is blooming, and you can spend hours outdoors experimenting with camera settings and mastering your professional skills.
You can take thousands of pictures and enrich your portfolio with such a variety of images. But what if you want to make an emphasis on image quality rather than quantity? What creative and unusual ideas can you try to share your personal vision with your audience?
We created a list of summer photography ideas to inspire you for new outstanding projects this season.
Document candid moments in everyday life
One of the greatest things about photography is that you can capture candid and precious fleeting moments. Things that could have stayed in your memory only, can be documented and you can return to them whenever you want thanks to photography.
What’s even more important, you can share these moments with people who did not have an opportunity to be present when an event took place. Images of candid moments can also motivate others to spend more time with their family and friends or look on the bright side of life in tough times.
The days are longer in the summer and you can have several photoshoots in one day. You can take pictures of people outdoors. The emotions models will experience somewhere in nature will definitely be more authentic than the ones they have during a studio photoshoot. And photography is all about emotions, right?
Capture the spirit of the season
Here are some ideas for amazing summer photography. Go to a field with wildflowers and document people marveling the breathtaking sunset or happy children running alongside blooming flowers. You can also photograph your friends enjoying themselves on a vacation or during a family celebration. These events bring a lot of pleasure to people.
Look into thematic contests
In addition to sharing these images with your audience, you can also submit them to a thematic photo contests like “Authenticity 2.0” by Depositphotos. Its aim is to explore what authenticity means to photographers and to support professionals and beginners in their artistic pursuits. The most exciting part about this photo contest is that participation rules are very simple:
1. Share an image or a series on Instagram
2. Tag @depositphotos_contest and add the hashtag #authenticity_is
3. Fill out a form to submit your works
By entering the contest you get a chance to win a mirrorless camera and get other perks. Find out more information on the topic in the photo contest guide.
Create an ode to still life
The variety of flowers, fruit, vegetables, and berries make summer the most inspiring season for this photography genre. Long daylight hours and green landscapes in the background allow you to create ambient and colorful photos almost anytime.
As nature has already prepared the best props for you, all you need to do is to come up with an interesting composition. Think about the ways you’d like to arrange flowers, berries, and fruit. Will you simply put them in the middle of the table with other props like cutlery, table cloths, and crockery? This idea is great if you’re just making your first steps in still life photography and would like to practice more.
In case you have years of experience in this genre, you can opt for ideas with an open composition. Why not arrange the flowers and fruit in a chaotic way and add the levitation effect to the objects in Photoshop later?
For more artistic summer still life photography, you can draw inspiration from legendary artists. What if you create a project devoted to reinventing famous paintings such as Caravaggio’s “Basket of Fruit” and Cézanne’s “Still Life with Apples”? This can be a real challenge for a photographer but also an unusual way to enrich your portfolio with interesting shots.
Escape from the concrete jungles to shoot in the cottagecore aesthetic
During the pandemic, many people have drastically changed their lifestyles. They left cities and towns to embrace a calmer pace of life in the countryside. As they shared their experience on social media, the already existing trend on the cottagecore aesthetics gained momentum and became extremely popular this summer.
Having picnics in the field, collecting berries and fruit, gardening, wearing vintage and linen clothes, and spending more time with family – these are the main attributes of the pastoral lifestyle romanticized by the movement. Whether you’re having a fashion photoshoot or just taking pictures for social media, photos in the cottagecore aesthetic with the elements mentioned above will be a trendy fit to your Instagram account or portfolio website.
Keep a visual diary of a camping or a hiking trip
Along with the cottagecore aesthetics, a trend on local tourism appeared. Travelling to the mountains and camping, going on a day-long hike, or simply spending time uniting with nature seem to be the best option when the borders are closed but you need to recharge.
If you plan to go on such a trip this summer, don’t forget to grab your camera. You can document your hiking or camping experience from A to Z and call it “Diaries”. The more details of the trip you will capture, the more interesting the project will look.
Start with research. Where would you like to go? Are there any unexplored places in your country? Ask you friends and family for advice. According to them, what are the most picture-perfect or interesting local destinations?
Then, plan your route. To avoid trouble and unexpected situations, mark the places where you could stay overnight. These could even be mountain hills or beaches. Luckily, summer nights are warm and short and you can go camping without extra loading.
If you did not have this kind of experience yet, it can push both your personal and professional boundaries. You’ll have to get outside your comfort zone to produce interesting series but this is what your audience will definitely appreciate.
In addition to taking pictures, you can also create a movie about your trip like the Ukrainian blogger Anton Ptushkin did. He documented his trip to the Carpathian mountains and you can draw a lot of inspiration from his recent work.
Create a project around sunrise and sunset photography
Capturing sunrises and sunsets might sound like a corny summer photography idea but you can easily turn it into a thought-provoking project by capturing a series of images united by one theme.
Imagine taking pictures of a sunrise at the same time literally every day. This could be an interesting project that explores how nature changes throughout the summer. Don’t be afraid of bad weather conditions or not enough sleep. The idea and results of this project might be much more valuable than a couple of hours of rest that you can get later during the day, for example.
If you’re running a photography blog, this summer photography project can also encourage you to write more often. You can share your experience every day or once a week, describing all the difficulties you meet, feelings you experience, and landscapes you see. Moreover, predominantly closed borders will make this year’s summer a bit different and challenge you with some of the limitations. It’s a great time to experiment with photography.
Get outside your comfort zone with underwater photography
If all the summer photography ideas above seemed a little boring to you, underwater photography might prove to be a challenge even for the most experienced professional. It requires a lot of preparation but even more practice so you feel comfortable in the water.
You need to get a waterproof camera or a waterproof case, find clean and calm water, test which camera settings work best in the light conditions you’ll be shooting in. After you have decided on these things, it’s also important to come up with a theme. You can photograph marine life and explore its diversity. These could be a series of pictures of objects like jewelry or fashion photography. In the case with the last idea, you need to make sure your models are ready to challenge themselves as well.
However, underwater photography is also fun as you can try it during your summer vacation. The water is warm, sea life is interesting, and diving to explore a coral reef or a sea bottom (even nearby the shore) is a truly amusing activity.
Whether you choose to master your skills or simply have fun with these summer photography ideas, you’ll definitely get a lot of pleasure and a great series of works to add to your portfolio by the end of the season.
For more inspiration, check out these photography ideas and projects you can try:
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