20 Amazing Summer Photography Ideas & Photoshoot Tips

Mastering summer photography is essential for photographers and models. Here's a guide to 20 ideas & tips for the best results in the hot weather.

Who doesn’t love summer? It’s the season where you might want to travel, go out with friends, or take advantage of the golden hour. Whatever the case, it’s definitely one of the best times to take out your camera.

If you’re looking to improve your skills and exercise your creativity, we have some summer photography ideas to help you out.

Whether you like to capture portraits, landscapes or events, you’ll find something to tickle your photographic interest.

There’s no time to waste – let’s dive into our summer photography ideas so you can head out and take some amazing photos.

20 Summer Photoshoot Ideas at Home & Outdoors

1. Seasonal Portraits

Young girl eating watermelon

Credit: Jill Wellington

You can do portrait photography all year, but the summer months are particularly good because you can take advantage of the long sunny days.

Sunset is the perfect time to do outdoor portraits with natural light because it’s soft and warm – which is very flattering for most subjects.

You can do traditional portraiture or lifestyle photography. Try making use of props and wardrobe to give your images a fun summer feel.

The location is also important to communicate that it’s summer season. Some of the most popular locations are the beach, a swimming pool the countryside, or even a field of sunflowers.

2. Landscape Photography

Landscape photo of a blue lake and mountains

Credit: SplitShire

Are you using the summer to go camping, hiking or on a new adventure? These trips and activities are a great opportunity to improve your landscape photography skills.

Many people associate summertime with the beach, however, you can find many other inspiring landscapes that will make for some great photos.

Depending on which part of the world you’re in and the weather conditions, you can chase storms, go to the top of a mountain or visit a lake – the choice is yours.

3. Summer Sports

Surfer riding a wave

Credit: Guy Kawasaki

If you’re looking for some summer photography ideas to take advantage of the longer days, how about capturing some sports photos?

It doesn’t have to be a professional setting, just go to the beach to shoot your friends playing volleyball or capture surfers in the ocean.

If you don’t live close to the beach, try going to the park or a local sports club.

4. Food Photography

Summer fruit bowl

Credit: Trang Doan

Capturing food is a great summer photography idea that you can do at home or on vacation. Find produce and dishes from the summer season and start creating.

This is also a great way for photography enthusiasts to practice their skills and work on composition.

You can use natural light – especially during the golden hour – to create a warm, summery atmosphere.

5. Photograph Sunsets

City skyline with orange and pink sky

Credit: Aleksandar Pasaric

Nothing says summertime like a melting sorbet sky at sunset.

As well as filling the sky with all sorts of vivid colors, sunsets are also perfect for nailing some golden hour shots. Just be sure to arrive a good hour or so before the sun actually goes down to capture the beautiful moments beforehand.

Beach and natural landscapes are the most common setting when you think about the sunset, but have you tried doing a cityscape?

Remember, the sunset doesn’t always happen at the same time – you can use AccuWeather or The Photographer Ephemeris to plan your sunset or golden hour photoshoot.

6. Long Exposure Photography

Long exposure photo of water flowing over rocks

Credit: Pok Rie

You can create some fun images by shooting outdoors with a slow shutter speed. Summer months are great for some astrophotography, for example.

Alternatively, use your summer vacation to capture some long-exposure nature shots of waterfalls or waves. If you’re a city person, you can do some street photography with this technique for some stunning images.

Remember to use a tripod and a remote trigger to avoid camera shake during long exposure photography.

Also, if you want to take long-exposure shots during the day, it’s a good idea to use a neutral density filter.

7. Use Dramatic Lighting

Couple and dog lying in the sunshine

Credit: Olya Kobruseva

While soft light is flattering for most subjects, it can become a bit boring after a while. If you’re looking for some summer photography ideas that challenge your photography skills, how about using direct sunshine to light your images?

During a sunny day, the light is direct and hard, which creates dark and well-defined shadows. Try taking photos with this dramatic light and see how creative you can get.

To capture this type of lighting, it’s better if you use your camera in manual mode to really maximize the contrast.

8. Architecture and Real Estate Photography

Hotel sunbeds

Credit: Gapeppy

Summertime is perfect to practice architecture photography because you have more daylight – the sun rises earlier in the morning and sets later in the evening.

It’s also a great summer photography idea to try while you’re on vacation because you can photograph landmarks and buildings from different places.

While you’re at it, you can also photograph your hotel or resort to practice some interior and real estate photography.

9. Still Life Photography

Still life photo of summer objects by the pool

Credit: Perfecto Capucine

Still life is a great way to capture or represent the essence of summer fun.

For example, here’s a great idea for a summer photography project: Gather objects that remind you of the family trips you did in your childhood and use them to create some nostalgic pictures.

Or, you could create a composition with everything you’re packing for your summer vacation to incorporate into a still life photoshoot.

The great thing about still life is that you can do it indoors if the weather is keeping you at home or shoot outside and take advantage of the many hours of sun during those long summer days.

10. Pet Photography

Dog by a lake

Credit: Jessica Jochheim

The summer season is perfect for going out and exploring outdoor locations with your faithful companions – your pet and your camera.

Try using burst mode to do some action shots if you want to freeze your subject.

If you want to do some panning photography, use a slower shutter speed and follow your pet’s movements. Remember to use an ND filter if it’s a sunny day.

If you prefer to do some classic portraiture of your pet, the golden hour is a perfect time and usually not too hot for animals to be running around.

Golden hour softens harsh shadows which are more typical under the midday sun, and can help make your pets look much more relaxed and happy!

Here’s how to get cute photos of your cat and some great tips on dog photography.

11. Silhouette Photography

Silhouette of girl on a swing with palm trees

Credit: Asad Photo Maldives

A silhouette at the beach is one of the most classic summer photography ideas.

To create silhouettes, you need to shoot directly towards the light source. Remember to expose for the background – this way, the subject remains a black shape.

The challenge here is to find new ideas for a creative summer photography shot. Are you up for that challenge?

12. Underwater Photography

Underwater photo of model

Credit: Engin Akyurt

Underwater photography can be done in the ocean, a lake or even a pool, depending on what you want to shoot.

If you’ve never done this, you should know that it requires some extra gear – for example, a waterproof housing or a dry bag for your camera.

The subjects vary according to your own interests. Some people like to photograph underwater wildlife, and others enjoy underwater portraits. It’s up to you.

13. Wildlife

Blue butterfly

Credit: Marian Florinel Condruz

If you’re a nature photographer, you know that certain subjects depend on the season. Some wildlife is best (or only possible) to photograph in the summertime.

Depending on where you are and the weather, your subjects will be very different. Some summer-friendly animals are dragonflies, jellyfish, meerkats, sparrowhawks and sea lions, amongst many other sun lovers.

14. Experiment with Colors

Colourful parachute

Credit: Sharon Wahrmund

The summer is characterized by more vibrant colors than any other season.

Using colors for your summer photography ideas gives free rein to your creativity because you can make photos of basically anything: hot air balloons, swimwear, inflatable pool toys, fruits, etc.

You can create tons of fun challenges – choose a different color each day or try to fit the most amount of colors in a single image.

15. Splash Photography

Girl flicking hair with water swirl

Credit: Chris Hardy

Splash photography is a really fun summer photography idea because you can capture so many things.

Ice splashing on a fresh cocktail is one example. Or you might capture the splash of your friends jumping in the pool or running through the puddles after the summer rain.

Capturing splashes during the summer has another advantage – you don’t necessarily need a flash.

Normally, to freeze a splash, you would use a strobe or an on-camera flash. However, in the summertime, the sun is so strong that you can use very fast shutter speeds and freeze the splash, even when photographing with natural light.

16. Fashion Photography

Summer fashion photography

Credit: Godisable Jacob

If you’re interested in fashion photography, summer is a fun season to be shooting.

While spring/summer collections are released before the actual seasons start (usually presented in late September), they reach retailers and customers at least six months later.

Also, during the summer, you can attend fashion shows that present their Resort collection and Pre-Fall collections.

17. Travel & Documentary Photography

Hindu festival crowd

Credit: Amol Nandiwadekar

We often use the summer holidays to travel and explore the world. Instead of doing tourist snapshots, you can up your game and do a travel photography essay or a documentary photography project.

This usually requires some research before your trip. Get informed about local traditions and events, landmarks and sites to visit, food, etc.

It takes time and practice to master these photographic genres. A couple of tips to get you started, though: get control over the camera settings and choose a story to tell – these two things will help you develop a style and focus on a subject matter.

18. Events Photography

Singer jumping in the air at a concert

Credit: Thibault Trillet

The summer is full of fun events – the good weather invites people to be outdoors and have a good time.

If you’re travelling, there are many famous festivals that you can attend, like Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert.

If it’s not possible for you to organize your trips accordingly, look for local events. It might be a fair or a concert, they all present good photo opportunities for you to practice – so don’t go out partying without your camera!

19. Crystal ball Photography

Crystal ball with leaves and trees

Credit: Mac Mullins

Although it’s not exclusive to summer, using a crystal ball can be a fun idea for your summer photography.

You can photograph the beach at golden hour, flip the horizon to put the ocean upside-down, or even deform your model’s face to fake a fish-eye look.

A word to the wise: a crystal ball – much like a magnifying glass – can start a fire. Since the sun is so intense during the summer, be careful where you place it while you’re not using it.

20. Edit your Photos

Girl in bikini

Bikini Pose & Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

Post-production is an important part of the photographic process, whether you just want to enhance the colors, crop the image to improve the composition, or add some special effects.

You can photograph with your camera or your phone – either way, there are many programs and apps that will help you to up your game when editing your photos.

It’s important that you shoot your images in raw format. This way, you’ll have much more information when you’re editing them, and you’ll be able to maintain the quality.

Most cameras allow you to do this. While it’s not so common on smartphones, you can always download a third-party camera app to add this feature.

10 Summer Photography Quotes


Photo Credit: Arty

Often our images need some text, whether as a caption or as a hashtag on social media. Here are some famous quotes that could accompany your summer photography.

  • “Thy eternal summer shall not fade.” – William Shakespeare.
  • “Summer has come and passed, the innocent can never last.” – Billie Joe Armstrong in Wake Me Up When September Ends.
  • “Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” – Henry David Thoreau.
  • “August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” – Sylvia Plath.
  • “I could never in a hundred summers get tired of this.” – Susan Branch.
  • “It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine… it’s summertime.” – Kenny Chesney.
  • “Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.” – Hosea Ballou.
  • “Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” – Langston Hughes.
  • “When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.” – Wilma Rudolph.

Final Words

So, that’s how we like to take advantage of the season to capture striking summer images.

What are your favorite summer photography ideas? Share them with us in the comments section below.

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Shotkit Writer & Camera Gear Reviewer

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

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