Summer is the perfect season for embracing the lifestyle photography genre. In most Australian states it stays lighter for longer in the evening, there’s more activity in the community with outdoor festivals and events, the weather conditions flip between sunny days and sudden storms, and there’s a lot of ice cream involved.
Life is happening everywhere and the best part is, you can take photographs using a “fly on that wall” approach while enjoying your own summer break.
You can also practise new techniques that you may have been wanting to try, or test out your new flash or lens. There are no set rules, the point is to photograph candid moments in an artful way.
Here a list of ideas for capturing the quintessential Australian summer:
Beach activities showcase a wide range of people and their personalities. You get a really great mixture of adults lazing about, kids with boundless amounts of energy, surfers, surf lifesavers, fishermen and the odd dog splashing in the water.
You can even use a waterproof camera such as a GoPro while underwater to capture fish or people’s feet, or a more unique perspective looking up from under the water into into the sky.
Pools and water play parks are another great place to find people but you can experiment with interesting techniques such as capturing reflections, freezing the motion of swimmers doing laps or surfacing from the water, and children zipping down waterslides.
If you’re at an outdoor rockpool attached to a beach you can play with long exposure techniques to capture foamy, soft water.
Nightlife in summer is usually buzzing and you the bustle of people at music festivals, outdoor cinemas and street markets can either be snapped as motion blur or shot using flash incorporating interesting light trails from street lights. Remember to take your tripod for when the sun goes down.
Food is heavily associated with summer, whether it’s people barbecuing, picnicking or lining up to order fish and chips. It’s also the season of fresh fruit and gelato. Play with colour and try to snap the details with a human element, like in the photo below.
Summer weather is temperamental and can switch from full sun to an afternoon shower in minutes.
Taking the time to hang around to photograph the transition from blue to stormy skies on a day when the weather forecast is for rain, can produce amazing shots, and the flurry of people to move indoors when it happens can also be really interesting to watch.
Use macro techniques and play with aperture to photograph the symbols of summer such as thongs, seagulls, eskies, sunglasses, shells in a bucket, towels blowing in the breeze, bright beach umbrellas and snorkel masks.
Summer Shooting Tips
The constant presence of the sun can make it harder to capture photos that aren’t high in contrast in summer. Try to use it to your advantage to capture lens flare such as starbursts and haze, especially in the early evening as the sun is setting.