The clocks have finally changed in this part of the world, and with them, the light has too. This can only mean one thing; summer is on its way! And having done a post on winter mobile photography, I thought I would do the same for summer.
1. How I use a selfie stick (not for selfies)
You know those lunches that go on for hours as you just enjoy sharing food with friends, a glass of wine in your hand? I often take photos of our meals, at restaurants and at home, and I have been known to stand on chairs to take overhead images. But for the last 18 months, I’ve been using a selfie stick instead, so I can remain in my chair while taking an overhead shot. Turn up the volume on your phone so that you can hear the shutter-release sound, and snap away, then straighten your perspective with SKRWT or the VSCO app before posting. This way, I get to appear in the picture! Well, one of my hands does, at least.
2. My rule of thumb for summer composition
Summer is the time for going on holiday and visiting new places. I take my cameras — and a simple rule of thumb for composition. And it’s not the usual rule of thirds. Instead, when I’m in a city I look for symmetry and details.
And when I’m out of town, in the country or by the sea, I go for a more minimal look and a wider perspective, showing the scale of the landscape with an artfully placed person or so. Check out #tinypeopleinbigplaces to see what I mean. This rule means I know what kind of picture I’m looking for, wherever I am.
3. Frame-filling fruit
Nothing says summer like the smell of fresh fruit. (Alas, cameras cannot capture smell yet!) This is the time of year to visit farmers’ markets with delicious ripe fruit at every turn. I can’t resist filling a frame with their juicy colours. My tip to get the fruit (or vegetables) looking its best is not to go too close, but to shoot from further away and crop afterwards to make it really fill the frame. This tip can also work for fish and other food too. But remember—when you are in a crowded market you have to be quick!
4. Dealing with harsh light
In winter the problem is a lack of light. In summer, it’s the reverse, where the problem is often having too much! In the middle of the day when the sun is high, the light can be harsh and unflattering. No wonder we’re told to stick to the early morning and late evening for those “golden hour” and “blue hour” colours. But don’t give up on the harsh light of midday. Expose on the lighter part of the image so you don’t blow everything out, and when you process your images, play with contrast and temperature of the image to set the mood. You can make harsh light your friend. It’s a challenge!
5. Silhouettes and sunsets
I am a total sucker for silhouettes, as I’ve mentioned many times before. In the summer you get to enjoy long evenings with drawn out sunsets, as the light fades slowly but surely. As well as shooting sunsets as sunsets, you can also use them as backdrops for silhouettes. To adjust the black of the silhouette without affecting the rest of the image, use Snapseed’s “selective adjust” tool. Unlike most photo-editing apps, which make changes to the whole image at the same time, this lets you apply changes to a selected area, just like you can in Photoshop and Lightroom. It can be a lifesaver in this and many other situations.
Now grab your bike, pull on your headphones, put on some summery music, and enjoy!