29 Hot Summer Photoshoot Ideas to Try This Year

If you want to capture special summer moments and save them for many years, you should definitely grab your camera and start shooting. This season is a perfect time to visit new places, try new dishes, and partake in enjoyable activities. Give this list of summer photoshoot ideas a thorough study and you are sure to take terrific, emotion-filled images.

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1. Take Your Camera and Enjoy Diving

underwater summer photoshoot idea

Underwater photography may seem a real challenge, but by devoting some time to preparation, you are bound to take fantastic photos. The underwater world is replete with amazing creatures, plants, and color mixes that can imbue your pictures with a special mood. Of course, taking pictures in such an environment, you need to buy purpose-built equipment – a decent macro lens and a wide-angle lens, strobes, underwater housing, and ports.

underwater summer photography idea

There are no limitations concerning summer photography ideas you can realize underwater. Just feel the moment and click the release button whenever you want.

2. Photograph Summer Storms

photograph summer storms

Summer pouring rains with lighting crossing the sky look truly majestic, so capturing such episodes is worth trying. However, the main trick here is to take many photos of lightning strikes by activating the burst mode in camera settings. Keeping tabs on fast strikes with the naked eye isn’t that simple, but a modern camera can perfectly cope with the task.

Pro tip: Nowadays, there are many apps that allow keeping tabs on the weather. The most popular is Weather Channel. Install it on your mobile phone and take advantage of live Doppler radar maps, storm watch, and rain tracker. Thus, you can better organize your shooting adventures and get awe-inspiring pictures.

3. Play with Soap Bubbles

summer photoshoot idea with bubble

Using soap bubbles, you can not only have a fun time with your friends but also take interesting macro images. One of the best macro photography ideas is to catch the reflection of a model’s face or any picturesque spot inside a swirling ball of colors. Or, you can try to bring to life summer portrait ideas by focusing on a model blowing soap bubbles.

Pro tip: Using a special reflector or finding the natural one on the shooting location is a must for this type of photo session. Such an item bounces light onto a model, so a face will be perfectly lit. The most popular samples of natural reflectors are marble or white walls.

4. Add Fire to the Frame

summer photoshoot idea with fire

Fire requires very accurate handling, but the atmosphere it adds to images is worth all your effort. You can use lighter fluid and different types of wood to create an interesting scene.

summer themed photoshoot with fire

Pro tip: If you lack skills to control the fire and other elements of the composition, you can just photograph a specific location and then add fire to an image during editing. Download a pack of Real Fire Photoshop Overlays designed by experts and spice up your images. They are suitable for landscape, portrait, and fashion photos.

5. Combine Objects That Don’t Typically Match Up

creative summer photoshoot idea

While realizing summertime photoshoot ideas, you need to think out of the box. For example, you can use objects, which aren’t typically combined in real life, in a single composition and tell a specific story this way. These can be animals and air balloons, or anything other that pops into your mind.

To make the scene easy to perceive, you should keep the background uncluttered. To better grasp this concept, you can check out the works of Olivia Harris, Caleb Stein, and Lauren Withrow.

6. Experiment with a Polarizer

summer photoshoot idea with polarizer

If you aspire to capture the pristine beauty of summer landscapes and seascapes, you should definitely use a polarizer. It gently boosts color saturation and can make different shades deeper and more vibrant, which works particularly great if you want to highlight blues of skies or greens of a meadow. While selecting a polarizer filter, consider the diameter of a camera lens, filter type, thickness, brand, and cost.

summer themed photoshoot with polarizer

I use Circular Polarizing Filters, which differ from Square counterparts in their ability to measure the desired polarizing effects on a picture. You only need to attach a filter to your camera lens and rotate based on the effect you need.

7. Choose a GND Filter for Summer Pictures

summer photoshoot idea with gnd filter

Using a GND filter in summer is a really cool idea considering the richness of colors you have around. A GND (graduated neutral density) filter does wonders if you need to take photos where the sky requires one exposure and the ground the other.

gnd filter for summer photography idea

You can use such a filter if you organize a summer themed photoshoot at the sunset, which means the horizon will be brighter and the foreground will be darker. With the help of a GND filter, you can manage to preserve details in the sky and expose for light in the foreground.

8. Shoot in Summer with Long Exposure

summer long exposure photoshoot idea

Taking images at long exposure can bring very interesting results. Typically, photographers use such settings when there is a water body in the frame, e.g., a waterfall, a river, or an ocean. Besides, it is a common trick to blur the motion of clouds or even a field of wheat rippling in the wind with the help of a slow shutter speed.

summer photography with long exposure

Pro tip: Memorize the 500 rule. It allows calculating the minimum amount of time needed to capture motion blur. The rule is regularly used by those professionally engaged in long exposure photography. You need to divide the focal length of your lens by 500 to learn the max number of seconds for which you can expose an image before capturing light trails or other types of motion blur.

9. Look Up to Find New Objects

amazing summer photoshoot idea

The variety of beautiful sceneries we have in summer is truly amazing. So, you get endless possibilities to capture genuine summer spirit without going the extra mile. You only need to look at ordinary objects from a new angle or use regular items, e.g., tree branches, as frames.

find new angles for summer photoshoot

Pro tip: While selecting a shooting angle, keep photography composition in mind. It is also advisable to seek symmetry in the surrounding scenes. Talking about symmetry, we actually imply clean, balanced, and proportional lines and structures that result in neat, tidy, and eye-pleasing pictures.

10. Try Some Unique Food Typography

summer photoshoot idea with food

Summer amazes with an abundance of berries, fruit, and flowers, so incorporating them in a summer themed photoshoot is a rewarding thing to do. If you travel to a specific location, you can bump into many endemic berries or flowers that can become a wonderful decoration for the background or serve as colorful props.

food typography in summer photoshoot

You can write words with berries, create patterns by arranging flower petals, embellishing a shooting spot, and more.

11. Highlight Summer Vibrant Colors and Contrast

summer photoshoot idea with vibrant colors and contrast

Not only landscapes abound with colors but regular summer clothes are also designed in bright shades, so you can create really fascinating compositions. For example, your friends can put on bright T-shirts, shorts, dresses, or swimming suits and pose on the coast or against a forest background.

colorful summer photography idea

If you want to focus on contrast, you need to involve just 2 colors – something red against the backdrop of the blue sky, etc. Photographers also like experimenting with cold (green, blue, and purple) and warm (red, orange, and yellow) color mixes.

12. Show Flower Power in the Frame

summer photoshoot idea with flowers

Whether you are taking photos in your local town or are visiting far-flung corners of our planet, you are likely to see lots of beautiful flowers in summer. It would be a pity to pass them by without capturing the beauty. You can encourage your friends to pose against such a colorful background if you want to experiment with summer portrait ideas or take a macro photo of a flower.

flower summer photography

Pro tip: If you have a white bed sheet at hand, ask an assistant to hold it over a model to diffuse the light. When working in the middle of the day, you have to tackle harsh sunlight that creates strong shadows and makes skin wrinkles very defined. Using a regular white sheet, you can prevent such problems.

13. Capture Fireworks and Convey the Holiday Atmosphere

summer photoshoot idea with fireworks

If you are going to attend any party and expect to see fireworks at night, don’t miss a chance to take some spectacular photos. Besides, if you want to capture fireworks at a distance while keeping the foreground equally showy, you can ask a friend to hold a sparkler and start shooting.

summer fireworks photography idea

Several tips for photographing fireworks:

  • Bring a tripod.
  • Use a cable release or wireless remote to trigger the shutter.
  • Turn on Long Exposure Noise Reduction.
  • Opt for a low ISO, such as 200.
  • A good starting point for aperture is f/11.
  • Turn off the autofocus, otherwise, you may experience difficulties while locking onto focus.

14. Play with Colorful Summer Food

summer photoshoot idea with colorful food

Summer is very generous when it comes to an abundance of fruit and vegetables. You get total freedom when using such goodies to realize summer photoshoot ideas. You can photograph raw fruit to show their natural beauty or cook dishes and use them as a part of a composition. Remember to place a camera on a tripod, examine a color wheel, choose complementary colors, and then start taking images.

summer themed photoshoot with food

Pro tip: Choosing complementary colors is actually very easy. You need to look at the color wheel, select the color you like and direct your gaze to the opposite side, where the complementary color is located. The most popular pairs are red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.16. Go to the Mountains

15. Organize a Summer Photoshoot near the Water

summer photoshoot ideas near the water

Magnificent summer colors perfectly pop against blue sky and water bodies, so incorporating them into a frame is always a good summer picture idea. I recommend purchasing a disposable camera rain sleeve or a water-resistant rain cover to get the most out of such a photo session.

water summer photoshoot idea

Besides, modern cameras and lenses are supplied with onboard weather sealing, which means the equipment is protected from water splashes and raindrops. If you want to take images near water, you can use such cameras as Olympus OM-D E-M1X, Panasonic’s Lumix S5, or Canon EOS R6.

16. Go to the Mountains

summer photoshoot idea in mountains

If you are an adrenaline junkie photographer and can’t imagine your life without long mountain hikes, you definitely know places where you can capture imposing summer views. While going up in the mountains, you never know what animals or plans you’ll see along the way, so this is a perfect adventure that can bring lots of valuable memories.

summer photography idea in mountains

Pro tip: Chances are high you’ll be taking photos in bright sunlight. For such cases, it is better to keep ISO as low as possible. Stick to 100 or lover if your camera allows. The same applies to the aperture.

17. Spend a Summer Day on the Beach

summer photoshoot idea on the beach

It is a real shame not to go to the beach if there is a good one nearby. There you can take lots of cool photos, experiment with silhouettes, shadows, add specific props, etc. Keep in mind, that most beach photo ideas don’t require spending much money on preparation, and rely solely on the marvel of a summer beach.

summer themed beach photoshoot idea

Pro tip: Before planning any photoshoot, you need to check whether forecast and tide times. Thus, you can choose the day to convey the desired mood be it something romantic, joyous, nostalgic, etc.

18. Bring a Camera to a Summer Picnic

summer picnic photoshoot

A picnic offers endless possibilities to play with summertime photoshoot ideas. You can concentrate on colorful dishes and beverages if you are more interested in food photoshoots, or capture people’s emotions and facial expressions if you specialize in portraiture.

summer photoshoot idea on a picnic

Pro tip: No matter what picnic photoshoot ideas you’ve chosen for the shooting, you need to bring several non-food objects for a balanced composition. For example, you can use flowers, trays, baskets, napkins, and white dishes. If you try to recreate a specific atmosphere, you may use vintage lamps, color fabric, paper lanterns, or floral bits and bobs. Just visualize what picture you want to get and prepare everything needed for achieving the desired outcome.

19. Go Wild

summer photoshoot idea in wild nature

Regardless of where you live, there should be insects, animals, and birds in local forests, parks, meadows, ponds, etc. You can improve your knowledge of landscape photography to capture these creatures in their natural habitat, grab a camera, and embark on a creative photography path. You can also encourage a model to interact with animals, keeping safety precautions in mind.

summer wild themed photoshoot

Pro tip: Those fond of wildlife photography recommend using a faster shutter speed in order to freeze the motion of fast animals. You can use 1/250, 1/500, or faster for crisp images.

I also advise you to switch on the aperture priority mode, which means you can manually select the aperture and let a camera be responsible for the shutter speed. Thus, your pictures will be properly exposed no matter how quickly an animal moves.

20. Choose an Unusual Shooting Location

summer photoshoot location

If you get itchy feet, summer is undeniably the best time to satisfy your thirst for visiting new places. There are lots of beautiful photography locations that are worth traveling to. The list of the most popular US attractions includes The Grand Canyon, AZ; Niagara Falls, NY; Yosemite National Park, CA; Zion National Park, UT; and Kauai, HI.

21. Take Several Summer Sunset Photos

summer sunset photoshoot idea

Organizing a summer themed photoshoot at sunset, you can get very arresting images filled with warm light. However, working during this period of the day, you should choose between low and mid-range ISO settings such as 200, 400, or 800.

take sunset summer photoshoot

Besides, opt for a high aperture – f/11, f/16 or higher. While adjusting the shutter speed, monitor the light meter. When it gets to the “0” point, you can be sure the exposure is correct.

22. Capture Summer Atmosphere During Golden Hours

summer photoshoot idea during golden hours

If you aren’t very experienced in manipulating lighting, you’d better take photos during the golden hour, which is the first hour after the sunrise and the last hour before the sunset. At this time, lighting is the most flattering and you can avoid lots of common lighting issues. Besides, during this period you can better understand how to create silhouettes, control shadows, and add a sky scene to a frame.

summer photography idea during golden hours

Pro tip: No matter how hard you try to take a flawless photo, there is usually something that requires additional corrections. You can use photo editing software for PC or Mac for removing defects and adjusting basic parameters. I use Photoshop for complicated manipulations (sky replacement or object removal) and Lightroom for color correction.

23. Take Photos of Early Morning Sunrises

summer photoshoot idea during sunrise

If you like getting up early in the morning, you have a great chance to capture the transient movement of mist and “show” tranquility in images. You can photograph in different places for a more spectacular result.

summer sunrise photoshoot idea

Another great summer picture idea is to capture silhouettes. You need to place an object or ask a person to stay behind something that partially blocks the sun. Then, direct your lens towards the brightest part of a scene and press the shutter halfway down. Next, you need to relocate your camera to frame a shot and press the shutter. Thus, a camera will perceive the bright part as mid-tones, and expose the darker areas, mainly the subject, as shadows.

24. Photograph Night City Life in Summer

summer photoshoot idea at night

Nightlife photography allures many enthusiasts, and if you want to try this genre, you should definitely do this in summer. Most cafes, restaurants, bars, the Ferris wheel, and other places are crowded at night and you will see many bright lights penetrating the sky. Your task is to set a slow shutter speed to capture nighttime lights.

nightlife summer photoshoot idea

Pro tip: While photographing at night, you need to be very attentive with shutter speeds. Values of 10 seconds work just fine but you can increase them even more for collecting as much light from the environment as possible. Of course, you should use a durable tripod as the shooting will take some time.

25. Try Your Hand at Summer Portrait Photoshoots

simple summer photoshoot idea

If you specialize in portrait photography, you can spruce up your images with mind-blowing colors and shades, photographing a person against a stormy ocean, in a blooming arboretum, or in a field. Sometimes, to tell a story, you need to use props - hats, party glasses, balloons, a pen, a flower or a musical instrument.

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26. Show Your Favorite Summer Sports

summer photoshoot idea doing sports

More and more people take to doing sports, which is a wonderful tendency that you can use to your advantage while realizing summer photoshoot ideas. For instance, you can photograph a surfer on a wave, a climber in the mountains, or a friend conquering new horizons on a bike.

summer sport photoshoot ideasummer sport photoshoot idea

Pro tip: When the sun is behind a model in the frame, there will appear the halo effects around a person. Such an approach is specifically popular among portrait photographers. However, you need to take images in manual mode, otherwise, a camera will read too much bright light.

27. Play with Shadows

summer photoshoot idea with shadows

Keeping tabs on the sun and its movement is a long yet rewarding process. At some point, it starts creating winsome ornaments on buildings, pavements, and a person’s face, so make sure to photograph such whimsical trails.

summer shadows photoshoot idea

Pro tip: You should seek objects with distinctive silhouettes. This can be anything, including trees, bicycles, columns as long as they’re easy to identify.

28. Create Beautiful Summer Sunbursts

summer photoshoot idea with sunbursts

Sunburst images are true eye candy but you need to work hard to achieve the desired result. I recommend taking photos at different spots and at different times of the day to understand when and where you can capture the best sunburst.

sunbursts summer photoshoot idea

Pro tip: If the weather was changeable during your summer themed photoshoot, don’t get upset. You can apply sun rays to your photos by using a sun flare overlay in Photoshop.

29. Take a Yummy Photo with Ice Cream

summer photoshoot idea with ice cream

Ice cream is a traditional attribute of summer. Many people compensate surrounding heat with cold and delicious sweets. Taking a portrait image of a person eating ice cream is the easiest food photography idea that perfectly suits summertime.

yummy summer photography idea

Besides, instead of photographing a traditional ice cream, you can take a waffle cone and fill it with other delicious stuff.

Free Tools for Summer Photos

free tools for summer photos

You can enhance your summer beach shots, mountain vacation photos, and vibrant portraits with little effort. Download a collection of over 300 free actions and apply them to images. With these tools, you can make your pictures brighter and ravishing. These tools are compatible with Photoshop CS 4-6, and Photoshop CC.