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As our friends in the northern hemisphere slide into summer, we went for a wander in our CLG community looking for fun ways to capture kids in summer. Welcome to this weeks highlights reel of images from our talented Grads, we hope it inspires you to get out with your camera and try some (or all!) of these ideas!
Usually reserved for indoors, summer is a fantastic time to make the most of a more natural location for a cute milk bath photo session. A few tips:
It’s old school summer fun that never gets old! Use a fast shutter speed if you want to freeze the motion of the kids running through the spray. For a shot like this below, a shutter speed of around 1/640 should nail it.
Related: Get Sharp Photos of Kids in Motion
Sprinkler photos look fantastic in black & white as it defines the spray and water droplets beautifully.
Keep dry!! A long lens of around 70mm or more is best for capturing water play to keep your precious gear dry!
Head to the beach late in the day and hang around until the sun kisses the horizon. Sunset silhouettes work best when your subject is doing something so that you capture their form and details. If your subject stands with arms at their side, back to the camera, you’ll get a shadow blob!
Related: How to Take Sunset Silhouette Photos
Expose for the colours in the sky when taking a sunset silhouette, and to do this you need to shoot in full manual mode. Why? Because your camera doesn’t understand artistic vision and will always aim to average out the tones when it exposes. If you’re not yet shooting in manual mode, familiarise yourself with the exposure triangle to get started.
Related: The Exposure Triangle
You can use any camera and lens combination for a silhouette shot, as long as you can shoot in manual mode.
Set your aperture to f/2.8, or the widest aperture your lens will allow. Then choose a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the motion of your subject, and then ISO to balance your exposure. You could also trying metering to guide you with choosing your settings.
Your subject doesn’t have to be fully silhouetted, the amount of detail you include is entirely personal, but ultimately it’s the colour in the sky you want to make the most of.
As beginners we’re taught to avoid harsh light and midday sun, and for good reason as it tends to be unflattering for our portrait subjects and creates jarring distractions overall. But you don’t have to avoid it altogether… play with it and have fun with it, by seeking out the shadow patterns hard light creates, or create them yourself.
This photo was shot underneath some perforated equipment in a playground, in the shadow pattern created by the undiffused sun high overhead.
Related: Try Hard Light Shadow Photos
There’s no easier way to get kids happy to sit for photos than by including food. Ice creams, watermelon and citrus fruits just scream summer, they’re photogenic and colourful, and messy faces make great photos!
Set up in a simple, uncluttered area, take some wide shots for context then get in close and capture the detail of messy faces.
Vary your compositions by changing your own angles and position. Shoot straight on, get up high and shoot down low, or get down low and shoot up high.
The open shade provided by your front porch is a perfect place to find flattering soft light.
Head out for a walk late in the day, a good hour before sunset and capture some beautiful golden hour photos.
It can be hard for your camera to focus at this time if the sun is hitting your lens directly. So head out with a lens hood attached, or use your hand if you don’t have one.
Related: How to Take Golden Hour Photos
Wide open fields are a fantastic location offering the ability to take dramatic wide shots with an abundance of uncluttered negative space and sweeping skies. And we can do that at any time of year, but spring and summer is a fantastic time to shoot portraits in a field of wildflowers. Sunflower, canola and bluebell fields make especially striking backdrops and it’s fair to say these type of shoot is on the bucket list of many of our Grads!
Google locations, and go for a drive to scope them out. Alternatively ask around in your photography community for pretty fields specific to your area. If you want to take golden hour photos in a field, look for locations where the sun sets behind the field.
Tip: Sus out whether the land is private property, and if so you’ll need to seek permission from the owner.
Note canola fields are found anywhere from winter, to early spring or summer depending on the region.
With an abundance of strong colour underfoot, if you shoot at a time of day when the sun is still a little high in the sky, or in front of your subject, you’ll have to deal with some pretty fierce colour casts which are hard to edit (especially in canola fields) . But you can minimise this problem by shooting during the golden hour when the sun is much lower on the horizon. If it’s late afternoon but not quite the golden hour, just make sure the sun is behind your subject.
If you’re lucky you’ll probably get haze and flares, and these can add a beautifully dreamy and summery feel to your photos. If the haze is stronger than your vision, frame it just out of shot or at the edge to reduce it, or use your subject to partially block it. Sun flares are beautiful, as long as they’re not over your subject’s face! If that happens, a very small adjustment of your lens position will move or remove the flare.
Shooting when it’s overcast will work too. Not only can it minimise colour casts, but gorgeous clouds or stormy skies will look amazing in photos especially if you use a wide angle lens to make the most of it.
When the sky looks this amazing, let it take up at least half of the frame.
Use a wide angle lens to showcase the field in all its glory.
If you loved these ideas, you might want to try a 30 days of summer project, and capture a photo a day of your kids doing what they do, doco style.
Related: 30 Days of Summer Project