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7 Summer Photoshoot Ideas That Won’t Have You Breaking a Sweat

A sunrise over the ocean is a beautiful summer photoshoot idea.

Reading Time: 6 minutes read

  1. Water
  2. Sunrises and sunsets
  3. Summer sports
  4. Vibrant food
  5. Wildlife
  6. Travel highlights
  7. Things that sparkle in summer

Summer’s bright rays and blue skies make for beautiful photographs. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. No matter how hot it gets, keep your camera handy. With a trained eye and these summer photoshoot ideas, capture the best moments without even breaking a sweat.

7 Super-Cool Summer Photoshoot Ideas

It should come as no surprise that outdoor photography involves going outside. Yes, into the heat and humidity of summer. But the weather won’t stop you this year. The following summer photoshoot ideas not only guarantee gorgeous images, but were specifically selected to keep you cool. And please, respect other people by following social distancing measures and wearing a mask. We care about everyone’s safety.  

Include two kids running through a sprinkler in your summer photoshoot ideas.

1.   Water

In the heat of summer, people naturally gravitate toward water. It could be the beach 30 miles away or the sprinklers in your backyard. Whatever water you have access to, use it to photograph summer photos (and to cool off). Capture kids running through the water or splashing around.

Try focusing on the water itself. Any moving body of water is perfect for testing long exposure photography. The technique is not difficult. Select a slower shutter speed. Any moving element will become blurry. But not in a bad way. A crashing wave or streaming waterfall looks smooth. The background remains crisp to create contrast.

2.   Sunrises and sunsets

The time right after sunrise and before sunset is known as the golden hour. It’s a photography term referring to the rich yellow tone that fills the sky. Golden hour shots create dramatic images. Leverage this low lighting to shoot portraits, silhouettes, and landscape photos.

Get the best sunset photo by maximizing the depth of field. That means setting your camera’s aperture high and the ISO low. Keep exposure down, since the sun’s light gets intense. Low exposure also helps create silhouettes.

Get in the water with a surfer catching waves to stay cool while taking summer photos.

3.   Summer sports

Surfing, sailing, waterskiing. Summer sports provide great fodder for photographers. There’s a lot to capture. Focus on the athlete, like a surfer standing next to his board. Zoom in on the features of a sailboat. Or catch the sport in action. To avoid melting in the sun, choose golden hour shots or get in the water yourself. Not only will you feel cooler, you might grab a cooler angle.   

Photographing sports is like getting great pet photos. Your camera needs to be in continuous focus mode to prevent blurry images. Using a smartphone? Select burst mode to snap several photos consecutively. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. So take more than you think you need.

A woman’s hand holding tri-colored ice cream cone with an Italian piazza in the background.

4.   Vibrant food

The colors of summer are bold and powerful. Strawberry daiquiris, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and corn on the cob. Photograph these deliciously vibrant scenes, begging to be captured in photos. There are several ways to do this. One option is to stage summer food for still life photography. Make the outdoors your backdrop for a more seasonal feel. If you love the carefree spirit of summer, make your food photos casual. No need to style anything. Keep the focus on the food and the backdrop simple.

5.   Wildlife

Outdoor photography sometimes includes wildlife. And it should! So many creatures come alive in the summer. Squirrels, rabbits, deer and bears are all common sightings in the warmer months. Some of these animals you can find in your backyard. Spend an hour on your deck with a camera ready to shoot.

The best part is you don’t have to be outside in the heat of the day. Wildlife wakes up and wanders early in the morning. Photograph them before the sun starts beaming. If you have a telephoto lens, even better. It will help you get closer to animals without scaring them away. Otherwise, zoom in as much as possible. It’s important to not disturb the wildlife. So keep a safe distance.

6.   Travel highlights

Taking a trip or two during summer break? Traveling offers unique experiences and exciting new scenery. Keep your eyes open for majestic mountain views or for whatever appears around the next bend. Photography is the perfect way to document your trip. Treat it like a photo diary. Take several photos each day to capture the highlights. Once you arrive at your destination, focus on its best features. Combine that with more personal photos. If you find yourself off the beaten path or mingling with locals, bust out the camera! Locals can be a great resource to point out things you won’t find in brochures. 

A sparkly summer photoshoot idea: woman with a sparkler standing under string lights.

7.   Things that sparkle

Between longer days and clearer skies, summer offers lots of sparkle. The stars seem brighter than ever. Depending on where you live, you’ll also see fireflies during summer nights. For those in urban areas, stars and fireflies may be scarce. Your sparkle may come in the form of string lights in a courtyard. No matter the source, sparkle is always worthy of remembering. It always makes for a unique summer photoshoot idea.

Photographing light gets tricky. Play around with depth of field when shooting string lights. You need long exposure and a steady tripod. Fireflies are tricky because of their rapid movement. To capture these fluttering bugs, set the ISO high and exposure time low.

Turn Summer Photoshoot Ideas Into a Long-Lasting Memory

Your outdoor photography and golden hour shots deserve to be on display. They represent your memories of a summer well-lived. Look back at these warm images months from now for an instant boost.

Show off your summer by creating a photo book. Choosing Motif to help design your photo book greatly simplifies the process. Motif integrates with your iPhone and macOS photos and curates the highest quality shots from your collection. It’s the perfect way to cap off your easy-breezy summer.

Bring your photo memories to life with Motif.

Experience the joy of creating personalized photo projects with Motif. Our photo book app seamlessly works with Apple Photos in macOS and iOS, doing the heavy-lifting while leaving the creative freedom to you.