Five Ways To Make Your Summer Photos Fabulous

I have well over 20,000 pictures on my computer (I KNOW), and if you looked at them closely, you’d notice that most of the pictures are taken during the summer months. It just kind of happens naturally that More Fun Things take place in the summer — swimming, playgrounds, vacations, amusement parks, family picnics — so out comes my camera. Plus, the warmer weather is just PRETTIER than winter. (I mean, sure, snow is pretty and photograph-worthy for like 5 minutes, all white and peaceful and clean. Then someone drives through it or a snow plow comes along and POOF! Now it’s a muddy, brown, slushy mess, and who wants a picture of THAT??!)

But there can be a lot of pressure to take awesome pictures of your once-in-a-lifetime summer vacation or family gathering, so here are some ways you can capture your summer, even if you’re a camera newbie.

Five Ways To Make Your Summer Photos Fabulous

1. Just DO IT. You don’t need to know how to use every setting on your new, fancy DSLR camera to get a great summer shot. You don’t even NEED a fancy camera to get a great shot — a basic point-and-shoot camera will work just fine. Heck, even a cell phone can take a fantastic summertime photo.

Hula girl 30 bucks, baby.

Goal Number One for me when I take pictures is creating a record of the things we’ve done and the places we’ve visited. Some of my favorite pictures aren’t technically great, but they are photos from OUR lives and THAT is what makes them special. If I’m spending the whole time worrying about my shutter speed or my ISO setting, I’m probably going to miss out on some great moments. So don’t be afraid to put your camera on auto so you don’t miss anything. It’s NOT cheating! I promise.

2. Get down low. Or high. Or move over there. And move closer! If you’re taking pictures of kids in the summer, they will be MOVING. Be prepared to follow them around, and you’ll probably need to be quick. Some of the best things about summer photos are the expressions on the kids’ faces as they watch those fireworks or fly up high on that swing, and you won’t be able to capture them properly if you’re standing far away from them — so get in there with your camera and don’t be shy!

so. we're basically totally screwed with this one, aren't we? WASSSSUP! static! ice cream break

3. Capture the action. In addition to Getting All Up In People’s Faces, you’ll want to step back a bit and get some shots of the fun stuff that’s happening. Water battles, running on the beach, or even just dancing through the yard — all of these are awesome summer photo opportunities.

turning the tables twirl SPLASH! being silly with PapPap

4. Set the stage. Candid photos are usually my favorite, but in the summer there are parties and trips that you want to remember forever. So taking a few moments to set everyone up for a group photo is WORTH IT. No matter how much they all complain!

cheesy grins the family! us Jockey's Ridge

5. Keep it light! Be a little goofy and whimsical, then go have some ice cream. For goodness sake, it is SUMMERTIME!

Scuba Steve. SMOOSHYFACE. weirdo green fun dip tongue


  1. Cari

    May 14, 2012 9:46 am

    I am giggling at Audrey trying to eat the tent and Dan sticking his tongue out. Great shots and great advice!

  2. K

    May 14, 2012 1:50 pm

    Audrey in the tent made me snort out loud. She’s a nutball and I love her.

  3. Sarah

    May 14, 2012 5:50 pm

    Oh my. Loved this post. And the one before it! I got out my DSLR because of you. :)

  4. Chrissie

    May 18, 2012 3:49 pm

    Great post, and your photos are adorable! Can I ask – have you done any post-processing to these pictures, and if so, what do you use? I’m a serious beginner, but would love to work on improving both my picture-taking skills and the end results. Thanks so much!

    • Jen

      May 20, 2012 9:42 am

      Thanks!! I’ve done a little bit of editing on all of them I think- I love playing around with them! I’ve been using Lightroom for about a year (got a great deal on it that I couldn’t pass up) but I used to use Photoshop Elements, and I highly recommend that to anyone interested. It’s powerful and relatively affordable too.

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