Hints and tips for summer photography

National Trust Ranger

With its longer days and warmer weather, the summer season is a perfect time to explore the great outdoors and discover hidden places and secret corners you never knew existed. To help you capture your experiences, we’ve asked National Trust ranger and expert shutterbug Josh Day for his top hints and tips to prepare you for taking great photos.

" The places we look after burst into life during the summer months, with vivid colours and fascinating wildlife around nearly every corner. So whenever you’re heading out, remember to grab your camera – you never know what you might see!"
- Josh Day, Ranger
Sea shells at Barricane Beach, Devon

Tip one: Have fun with the sun

Photography is all about light. While the midday summer sun can be too intense to capture landscapes at their best, it gives you lots of options for interesting close-ups. Focus on an object like the texture of pebbles on a beach or a flower in bloom. Then see what it looks like in different lights – for example backlit to create an artistic silhouette or directly lit to pick out every last detail.

A summer sunset looking out towards Lundy Island

Tip two: Add a flash of colour

When you’re choosing what to shoot, think about making colour the hero of your photograph. You can create lots of different moods by combining colours. For example, poppies look very different framed against green foliage or a grey, cloudy sky. Have fun and see what colour combinations give you the strongest feeling of the summer.

Redstart in flight at Shute Barton

Tip three: Capture the action

Whether it’s waves crashing onto the beach or your family rolling down a hill, there are loads of interesting ways to capture moving subjects. In bright light, try increasing the shutter speed to capture sharp, still photos. Alternatively, when the light’s a bit dimmer, try a slow shutter speed. This will blur any moving objects, emphasising their energy and speed.

Woolacombe Beach at sunset

Tip four: Stay a little later

As the sun dips below the horizon, it treats us photographers to a final gift of the day. The last few rays bounce off the clouds and the world around us glows, casting a rich soft light that’s perfect for capturing truly inspirational photos. But be prepared – this magic moment doesn’t last long.

Young boy jumping over rocks at Prawle Point in South Devon

2019 National Trust photography competition 

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