How to Take Memorable Summer Photos: 6 Tips

Four pairs of flip flops in a row on beach

Professional photographers view summer as being the most challenging time of the year for photography.

But there are ways to take memorable summer photos. So let’s start with the technical stuff. Since most of us use our phones for shooting, that’s what we’ll focus on first, followed by our favorite subjects to photograph.

Remember the mantra: quality over quantity!

Burst Photos

Burst mode is a powerful tool, and great for capturing summer photos. Think of action shots, like diving into a pool. In Burst Mode, your phone’s camera will take multiple images per second (iPhone will shoot 10 frames per second). Therefore, you’ll get a lot of similar shots unless there is a big difference between each frame. Burst is great for activities, but not so much for other shots like landscapes or portraits. The other issue: be sure to edit your burst photos when done, keeping only the shots you want. You don’t need 30 similars when a few will tell the story.

When taking a one-off still photo, focus on one shot at a time. No need to take dozens! It will also be easier to edit later. Mindful photography will result in better images and improve your eye.


Editing photos is something we are all constantly trying to catch up on. Most people view this as a chore – but editing is really about storytelling. A quick iPhone editing tip: click on the Heart icon which automatically identifies them as a Favorite and moves a virtual copy to an album in Apple Photos for quick access when looking for these photos later on.

If you are shooting with a DLSR or another camera phone, there are quite a few apps and photo catalogs that have similar rating systems. We use Lightroom’s star system. The most crucial aspect of editing is timing. Mark them as soon as you can while the photo and memory are still fresh. Your ability to choose the best images will be a much easier. Plus, you will have started a great editing practice.

Botanical Beauties

Seasonal flowers and gardens reach their pinnacle during the summer months, making for beautiful summer photos. From suburban yards to urban window boxes and parks to the countryside, greenery and colors abound. Take advantage of nature’s glorious display by using different techniques. Use your zoom or macro lens for a focused close-up. Experiment with a shallow depth of field for beautifully blurred out backgrounds. Or try your wide angle for a swath of color.

The Golden Hour

Summer’s harsh daylight and stark shadows can make photography difficult when trying to shoot family and friends in a flattering light. Instead, opt for an overcast day for your summer photo portraits, or seek shade. The best light, however, is during the golden hour – the time frame is just before sunrise and right around sunset. The sun’s rays are longer, warmer and gentler and create a softer light. Objects and landscapes look better as well – infused with a romance and magic that only summer can produce.

Weather or Not

Of course it’s not all sun and fun in summer – thunderstorms, showers and hazy, hot and humid days are also part of the season. If you are a storm chaser, a darkened sky can offer some dramatic summer photo opportunities: think bolts of lightning, moody cloud formations, or steel grey skies and white capped water. Experiment with long exposures – but you’ll need a tripod for that. If you prefer to keep cool and play indoors, museums, historical sites, and churches all offer interesting and often architecturally significant subjects to focus on.

If you need help with your photo collection, schedule a complimentary consult before another summer slips away.