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Plan To Capture the Moments of Summer

Two friends jump off a pier into the lake

Reading Time: 5 minutes read

Those glorious warm summer days are calling. Before you know it, you’ll want to collect all your memories in some terrific summer break photo books. Plan ahead with these tips and tricks and capture moments for a lifetime!

Sunlight photos: How to get good shots in the sun

It’s so tempting to take photos in the beautiful midday sun, but every photographer knows it’s tricky to get the light and shadows right. With a little experimentation, you’ll get those lovely sunshine memories for your summer photo book. Remember the camera doesn’t see light the way your eye does, and be prepared to adjust.

Made in the shade: Move around your subject so the shade is more flattering and nobody needs to squint. Kneel down, get above, or walk around so you can have the sun at your side, or coming from behind your subject, gently shading their faces. Watch for deep shadows like hat visors or darkness under eyes, and shift your own shooting angle to even out the light.

Add more light: Your camera will automatically try to balance all the bright sunshine. Find reflective surfaces to throw more light onto your subject: a wall, a car, or even an improvised reflector. While it might not be your first instinct, using your camera’s flash can also add light beautifully. This technique balances out shadows and lets your subject shine.

Helping hands: If you’ve got time for a posed photo or a still subject, shade the lens of your camera with your hand for a few seconds while focusing. Then remove your hand to take the shot. This low-tech trick helps balance out overexposure and lens flare, and capture the sunny smiles.

Working with water: Great beach day photography

All the tips about sunlight photography also apply to glare off the water. When you’re snapping lovely beach landscapes, think about two major factors when adjusting between what appeals to your eye and what your camera sees.

Level it out: The horizon is really critical to making your photo look great. Try to get the horizon level, and shoot from a wider angle than you think you might need, in order to leave room for photo editing. Think about the Rule of Thirds, so your horizon doesn’t just divide your photo in half.

Mother and toddler-age son playing in the water

Focus! Our eyes love looking out onto a wide-open lake or ocean with blue sky above it. When taking a photo, though, carefully seek out a single contrasting focus to anchor the picture. Capturing the sun across the waves? Look for a rock, some driftwood, or even a beach ball as the central focal point that ties the whole image together.

Picnic photography and summer entertaining

Summer relaxation is the perfect time for a picnic, or an al fresco meal on the patio or deck. The opportunities for candid photos of friends and loved ones make for great memories of your summer break. Think about the backgrounds when you frame your shots: zoom in to capture an expression, or a conversation between a few people at once. These images are usually more pleasing than a wide shot of a large group of people all in the midst of different activities.

Serving up barbeque skewers at a summer dinner party

For the food, think about contrast in shape, color, and texture. This is an opportunity to study colorful plates, bright summer produce, and the sparkling condensation on the outside of a glass of chilled wine. Once again, move your focal point around to find an unusual and appealing angle to tell your story of the picnic meal. Lower your camera to the level of the picnic blanket, adjust the light and shadow on the food, and consider what’s visible in the background of the shot.

Motion shots: Sports, kids and pets

Food holds still (until we eat it!) but all those beautiful summer days mean freedom to frolic outside. A pickup soccer game, putting out the sprinkler for the kids to run through, or tossing a tennis ball to your best friend—all make for special memories, if you can photograph the motion. 

Sports, kids, and pets are the reason your burst setting was invented: motion photographs can be tremendously fun. Plan ahead with some more quick tips. If you practice, you’ll be ready when that special moment happens!

Find the Sports, Continuous, or Burst mode on your camera, and set it so it’s ready to point and shoot. With a series of high-speed photographs through motion, you’ll find some amazing snapshots you’ll want to preserve in your story of the summer saved in a Motif photo book.

Nighttime: Outdoors and campfires

After all that running around and playing outside, maybe your friends, kids, and pets are ready to wind down around a fire. Whether it’s a campfire or cozy backyard fireplace, the trick is to hold the camera as still as possible so it’s night settings work best. 

For casual, in-the-moment snapshots, prop your camera or phone on a bench, table, or non-moving object. In night mode, the shutter will be open an extra-long time, so any motion will be exaggerated. 

Friends enjoying a bonfire on the beach

Blurred photos can result in a beautiful, dreamy effect, but it’s also nice to capture the motion of the fire while someone contemplates a perfectly toasted marshmallow. If you’re really going all out, experiment with a tripod and a remote shutter function. Save the results in an album created with the Motif photo book app to keep those memories alive.

Dinners outside under fairy lights or patio lanterns are some of your most special summer moments, and they beg to be photographed. Begin taking snaps as the sun sets, for that magical “golden hour” lighting. 

As the darkness deepens, your shots will have more contrast, bokeh, and deep shadows, with more abstract images of your subjects. Play with this deliberately! Try a study of someone’s profile or the back of their hair and shoulder catching the light. Silhouette food and glassware against votive candles or citronella lanterns. Let lights form an unfocused background against plants or a black-and-white abstract image. 

This is a great time to make images that convey the true mood and feeling of your special summer moments with special people. Save them in a Motif photo book with the MacOS app and enjoy them for years to come.