16 Great Summer Photoshoot Ideas to Try

Summer Photoshoot Ideas

Summer Photoshoot Ideas

SUMMER IS HERE!!  And along with it comes some amazing photo opportunities!  If you’re looking for some inspiration to try something new this season, look no further.

Here are our 16 FUN SUMMER PHOTOSHOOT IDEAS to get your camera rolling!

1. Splash Photography

Whether it’s a jump in the pool or a refreshing drink, capturing a splash is the perfect way to add a summer vibe to your photos.

The trick to doing splash photography is to use a fast shutter speed that will freeze the splash’s motion – including all the drops, waves, and ripples that come with a splash.

There is so much light in the summer, making it the perfect time to photograph a splash.  You won’t even need a flash.

On such sunny days, natural light can be enough to freeze a splash.  You can start trying with 1/125 and adjust from there.

If you’re not handy with the manual mode – you can set the camera to shutter priority mode.

Summer Photography

2. Travel Photography

The summer is a popular season for traveling.  If you are one of the many people who take a break to travel during this time of the year, your trip might be the perfect opportunity for a photo shoot.

For more interesting photos, skip the usual tourist spots.  If this isn’t possible because you’re traveling on a tour, challenge yourself to find new ways to photograph these landmarks.

Whenever possible, do some research in advance.  That way, you will know all the best spots, the best time of day to visit them, the weather conditions, etc.

It’s also very important to treat the locals with respect.  Always ask for permission before you take a photo, and be friendly.

If it’s within your means, bring a tripod.  This will give you much more flexibility regarding lighting conditions, framing, and composition and allow you to experiment with shutter speed.

Last but not least, try to tell the story of the place you’re visiting.  Instead of having a bunch of disconnected snaps, storytelling can take your images to a new level.

Photoshoot Summer Ideas

3. Using Summer-Themed Color Palettes

Color is one of the most powerful aesthetic elements you can use to create harmonic photos and communicate a specific mood.

An excellent tool to create color schemes is Adobe Color.  It’s completely free, and you don’t need an account to use it.

Use the color wheel to choose a color that represents summer to you, and create a palette from there.  Otherwise, use the Explore section and type in “summer” as a keyword – then browse the results until you find a color scheme that inspires you!

Summer Photography Color Palettes

4. Sports Photography

Summer is a season full of activities, from a beach volleyball match between friends to your child’s baseball game and even the Summer Olympics (every four years, of course).

This also makes summer the perfect time to grab your camera and practice sports photography.

You will need to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action and a good frame rate to use your camera in burst mode.

It’s also helpful if you have a good telephoto lens.  It doesn’t have to be super long, but at least mid-range.  This is because you may not be able to get very close to the field or the athletes to take a photograph.  Depending on the sport and the timing, you could also compromise the activity and put everyone at risk.

So, find a good spot where there aren’t too many obstacles in front of you and start shooting.  The key word here is PRACTICE.  Action photos are complex and involve lots of trial and error, so be patient.

Summer Photos Ideas

5. Seasonal Still Life Food Photography

There are always two ways to approach food photography – with or without people.  Summer is no exception.  So, depending on your preferences, choose a style that you like.

Try photographing a still-life using fresh seasonal produce or dishes specific to summertime.  Focus only on the food since still-life, by definition, doesn’t include people.

Since it’s an arrangement of food, flowers, and objects, the creative tools you can use to create your summer still life are colors, lighting, and composition.

Experiment with these three elements to find your style and create the most summery pictures.

Ideas for Summer Pictures

6. Lifestyle Food Photography

Unlike the still life, there is a human presence in lifestyle photography.  It doesn’t have to show the face or the entire person – it can be just a hand preparing the food or the mouth tasting something delicious.

Some ideas that go well with the summer theme include a backyard barbecue or a picnic in the park.  It’s up to you to find something that inspires your lifestyle food images!

Summer Picture Ideas

7. Summer Festivals

Thanks to the nice weather and long days, the summer is full of events and festivals that you can attend and practice your documentary skills or event photography.

This, of course, will be different according to where you live – but I’m sure you can find something in your area.  Otherwise – if it’s within your means – you can travel to some famous festivals around the world.

I’ll mention a few popular festivals for inspiration, but you can also research what’s happening in a specific place that you’ve always wanted to visit or that you’re visiting for a different reason.

In northern Europe, there are multiple celebrations for the summer solstice.  Norway, for instance, is famous for its large summer solstice bonfires.

You can practice firework photography at the Sumidagawa Festival in Tokyo, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, or pretty much anywhere on the Fourth of July in the United States.

Burning Man is one of the biggest summer festivals in the US and is visited by people from all over the world.

And in combination with the food photography idea, you can also photograph the La Tomatina festival in Spain, where people throw tomatoes at each other in the street.  Make sure you protect your camera for this event!

Summer Photoshoot

8. Landscape Photography

Landscape photography can be challenging in the summer.  So, here are a few tips to help you out.

Since the sunlight can be so harsh, you might find very contrasting scenes between the lights and shadows.  To solve this, you can use a graduated ND filter.

A polarizing filter is another must for summer photography.  This will help you deal with haze and intense reflections on the water.

Try to shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon.  This will help you to avoid the hard light from the summer sun.

Keep up to date on the weather conditions.  While everyone knows the summer can be VERY hot, it’s also a time when there can be severe storms.

Summer Photo Shoot Ideas

9. Rain Street Photography

As I mentioned in the previous tip (and as you probably know by experience), there can be a lot of rain in the summer.  Sometimes it can be unexpected and intense, depending on where you live.

Try combining street and rain photography during the summer months and allow yourself to shoot from an entirely new perspective.  You can photograph puddles reflecting street lights, children jumping and splashing, and even a colorful rainbow when the conditions are just right!

If you plan on shooting in the rain, for safety, you may want to consider investing in some protection for your camera gear.

Photo Ideas for Summer

10. Bonfires

Let me start with the most important thing – you must keep SAFETY at the top of the priority list when photographing fire.

Remember that starting a bonfire in a dry area can be VERY RISKY and often illegal due to the high temperatures!  Make sure you are informed before setting one up.

The beach can be an excellent location for a bonfire as long as it’s allowed and safety measures are followed.  Summer bonfires are actually a big tradition on many beaches – in California, for example.

After considering safety and regulations, you need to consider your photographic techniques.

    • You will find it easiest to shoot a bonfire during the golden hour.
    • If the bonfire is late in the evening, your images will have a very high contrast because the flames will be very bright compared to the rest of the scene.
    • If you shoot when it’s dark out, embrace the high contrast and use it to create a specific mood or an interesting composition.  The camera’s auto mode won’t work very well under these conditions.  I suggest you use your camera in manual or semi-automatic mode.

Summer Themed Photos

11. Lightning Photography

Lightning is another type of weather condition that is encountered quite often during the summer months. Lightning images can be quite spectacular if you know what you’re doing and how to capture them, but it’s also another type of photography that CAN BE DANGEROUS!  So, safety first!

Whenever possible, photograph lightning from inside your house or vehicle.  Or, if the storm is still in the distance, monitor how close it is to you and which way it is heading.  A weather radar app is also advisable.

For the photograph, you’ll need to use a tripod and remote shutter – you can also set the timer if you don’t have a remote.

Now, set the aperture to f/16, ISO 100, and a very slow shutter speed.  You can start on the traditional 30 sec, which is the maximum that most cameras offer.  Then, take a trial shot and tweak the exposure accordingly.

Summer Photo Ideas

12. Astrophotography

The summer is also the perfect time to try astrophotography.  The pleasant night weather and dark skies offer an ideal opportunity to capture summertime meteor showers and the Milky Way, with its bright and colorful nebulae.  Both are excellent subjects for astrophotography.

For best results, you will need a tripod and a remote shutter.  An intervalometer is also useful if you are interested in shooting star trail sequences.

Focus your camera manually, set it to 100 ISO, a wide aperture such as f/2.8, and set the shutter speed using the 500 rule (500/focal length).

Many apps can help you to plan your astrophotography shoots.  With them, you can see what the night sky will look like at a specific place and time.  An app to monitor the weather and cloud coverage will come in handy too.  Once you have captured the perfect shot, learn how to edit your astrophotography images in Photoshop.

Photoshoot Summer

13. Silhouettes

Silhouette shots are some of the most iconic summer images.  They look fantastic and are easy to do!

The critical factor is placement.  For a good silhouette photo, place the subject between the light source and the camera.  Then, make sure you correctly expose the background.  Since the light is coming from behind, this will cause the subject to be underexposed and create a silhouette.

You will need to take your camera off auto mode to achieve this type of exposure.  Otherwise, it will try to compensate for the difference between the bright background and the dark subject, and in the end, none of the shots will be exposed correctly.

So, use the camera in manual or one of the semi-automatic modes.  Then, measure the light from the background and set the exposure values.  Now you can frame and compose the photo the way you like.  Once you have your perfect shot, you can enhance the silhouette in Lightroom.

Photography Ideas for Summer

14. Wildlife Photography

Nature is guided by the seasons, and summer brings some of the most amazing and unique opportunities for wildlife photographers.

If you like insects, you can often find and photograph dragonflies near bodies of water during the day.  At dusk, fireflies can appear – they are fun to include in photos, especially in fairy photoshoots.

If you prefer to visit the beach and open water destinations, what about dolphins?  In Chanonry Point, Scotland, dolphin watching is popular from May through September.

It’s also the time when baby turtles hatch and make their way to the sea.  There are multiple places around the world where you can catch this incredible spectacle.

Summer is also when you can see foxes and similar mammals tending to their cubs.  It’s usually easier to spot them in the early evening or just before the sun rises – which is also perfect timing for natural light.

There are endless choices depending on where you live or can travel to.  Depending on the type of wildlife you photograph, you may need different equipment, so be prepared!

Summer Themed Photoshoot

15. Playing with Shadows

As you probably know, sunlight in the summer can be very harsh and result in strong shadows.  Most photographers avoid shooting in harsh light, but you can also use this opportunity to challenge your creativity to make some beautiful shadow photography.

To achieve different effects, try changing your perspective, shoot at different times of day, noting how the shadows move, and experiment with composition.

Cool Summer Pictures

16. Portrait Photography

Days are very long during the summer.  Take advantage, as this allows you to work with natural light for longer.

Many portrait photographers may not like this time of the year for outdoor sessions because of the strong light and intense heat.  However, you can always work early in the morning and late in the afternoon to take advantage of the golden hour.

You can also take advantage of specific beautiful landscape locations only available during this summer season, such as blooming sunflower fields.

If the sun is still too harsh, you can always use props – like umbrellas or modifiers such as diffusers to soften the light on your model.

Are you still not convinced about the outdoors?  Don’t worry; with the intense sunlight outside, you can use any inside location utilizing windows and beautiful natural light.

Summer Portrait


As you can see, there are so many opportunities to practice your photography during the summer that it’s hard to choose.  So go ahead and try several.

I hope these ideas inspire you to have many new and unique photoshoots this summer!

Do you have any questions or comments for us about our Best Summer Photoshoot Ideas?  Leave us a comment below – we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

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