How to Make the Most of your Summer

How to Make the Most of your Summer

Photographically-speaking, there are some things you can do to make the most of your Summer. Here are some things to think about:

1. Magic can happen Anywhere

Bring your camera not just to the big events, but to the small innocuous ones too. You never know when a beautiful scene or magical moment will occur. A rainbow in the sky during sunset, your baby messily eating his first ice cream cone, your partner’s impromptu dancing to music on the street.

Sometimes they are the “small” events in life that are the most magical. You’ll want to be ready with your camera.

2. Be Kind to your Camera

It’s strange how we get seduced by Summer because so many of us protect our cameras in thickly padded, weather-proof cases, but once Summer rolls around, we set our cameras on wobbly glass tables next to the pool or wear them around our necks while sipping overflowing margaritas. No wonder Summer is a common time people damage their gear!

I admit, there was a time camera storage during my backpacking travels was a mere sarong that tripled as a bikini cover and blanket! Never again. It’s like with anything in life: If you love it, take care of it!

Here are some suggestions:

  • Consider investing in a smaller camera bag to take on vacation or small trips, so you can save on space while still protecting your gear.
  • Keep your camera away from water.
  • Protect it from the sand when at the beach. Sand can scratch lenses and cause focus problems and other less than perfect things.

3. You’re on Vacation, not Moving

Don’t bring every piece of equipment you own. Select a few key pieces of gear that you think you’ll use most often and stick to it.

Of course, how much you bring is up to what you’re comfortable with, where you’re going, how much space you have, and what you intend to do with your photos!

I just know that keeping things simple is always a good rule.

4. Don’t forget the Little Guys: Batteries and Memory Cards

It may not be easy or affordable to buy photography accessories when you’re out, so don’t forget your battery charger and charge your camera on a regular basis. Don’t wait until the display sends out a low battery alert or you may end up missing some great shots.

You may also want to buy a larger memory card or extra memory cards, so you can take all the photos your heart desires without worrying about space. If you choose to bring a laptop, you can upload your images to your computer instead.

5. Shoot like it’s Hunting Season

In this digital age, you’ll never regret taking too many photos while on vacation. You’ll only regret if you didn’t get a shot of something or you forgot to bring your camera somewhere.

If you’ve prepared for your trip (see point #4), then you should be able to shoot freely.

6. Pass on the Cheese

When you are taking photos of people, try to avoid asking them to say “Cheese!” or any other cheese-y word.

There is nothing wrong with preferring to have photos of people who are looking directly at you. Just try a different approach. Engage your subjects instead.

Here are a few things I like to do: Ask a question that will make them look at you — preferably a fun question that leads to a smile. Give them a task, so you can get an action shot. If it’s a group, ask a question that will make them look at each other or an object in your frame that is interesting. You will get a much different result in your images!

7. Share the Experience

Even if everyone had a camera, my bet is that everyone took different photos! So share them with each other. Email them, post them onto Facebook, add them to your preferred online photo viewing site. The choice is yours.

Have a great Summer, happy shooting, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Annie Tao is a Professional Lifestyle Photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area who is best known for capturing genuine smiles, emotions and stories of her subjects. You can visit Annie Tao Photography for more tips or inspiration. Stay connected with her on her Facebook page

Some Older Comments

  • Dan Gladwin July 8, 2012 12:05 am

    Again Thanks for sharing.

  • Annie July 4, 2012 02:17 pm

    Tony: I agree that you should shoot with a purpose, not "diarrhea" style! And you shouldn't live behind the lens. Shooting freely and being ready for the shot (by being prepared) were the main points I was trying to make. By all means, enjoy your vacation!!!

    When I think back, for most of my favorite sites while on vacation -- I'm talking the ones that MOVE me and take my breath away -- I actually put down my camera and just soak it in. :)

  • Tony July 4, 2012 12:38 am

    In this digital age, you’ll never regret taking too many photos while on vacation. You’ll only regret if you didn’t get a shot of something or you forgot to bring your camera somewhere.

    Absolutely, positively not!

    I used to shoot like that, an explosive diarrhea of the camera, taking snaps of every damn thing that happened to drift in front of my lens. You know what I wound up doing with most of those shots? Once I got home, I wound up ignoring most of them.

    One of the things I've learned when shooting film is to make every shot count. The limited resources of that roll of film mandates that I think before every shot. :Why am I shooting this? What is the story I'm trying to tell. Is this picture good enough for me to expend a frame upon?" Once I started asking myself that, my keepers, the shots that I was actually proud of went WAY up.

    Also, if you do nothing but live through the camera lens, are you actually there? When I was in the Louvre a couple of years ago, like everyone else, I went to the Mona Lisa. In the gallery, off to one side, I watched the crowd for a while and noticed something. Almost to the man, everyone would scurry up, take a picture, chimp the shot, snap another one and then rush off. Here's the most famous work of art in the history of mankind, and almost nobody actually LOOKED at the painting.

    Seriously, put the camera down occasionally. Experience actually being there instead of trying to remember being there with a computer file.

  • Ralph Hightower July 3, 2012 07:33 am

    1. Magic can happen Anywhere
    On the weekends, I've packed my camera; I've photographed some old cars and trucks; I photographed a 1955 International pickup.

    2. Be Kind to your Camera
    Last year at a post launch celebration party of Space Shuttle Atlantis, I was walking ablong the edge of the pool and I was thinking, please don't let me fall in! One woman asked me "You shotting film?" "Yes" "Cool!" and we exchanged fist bumps.

    3. You’re on Vacation, not Moving
    I wasn't on vacation. I was on a mission, a "bucket list".

    4. Don’t forget the Little Guys: Batteries and Memory Cards
    I put a fresh battery in my camera and had rolls of Kodak Ektar for the launch and Kodak BW400Cn for the landing.

    5. Shoot like it’s Hunting Season
    This is where DSLR differes from FSLR. Shooting machine-gun great for DSLR; I've used the motor drive at Talladega NASCAR race.

    The next time that I'm at an air show, I'll will use either low-speed or high-speed film advance., I used 6 rolls of film in May for an air show.

  • raghavendra July 2, 2012 11:13 pm

    few signs of summer

  • Sonia July 2, 2012 02:23 pm

    Good tips and an article! I am liking all the points and couldn't agree more! :)

  • EnergizedAV July 2, 2012 09:30 am

    Oops you got me so excited I forgot the link....

  • EnergizedAV July 2, 2012 09:29 am

    Always nice to be reminded of the basics. I keep my camera in a small "ready" bag (nicely padded with a shoulder strap). That bag fits into a bigger kit with more accessories. My super portable monopod fits into a custom made holder connected to my belt. It's vacation time!!!!!
    Thanks, Annie

  • Mridula July 1, 2012 09:02 pm

    Lovely tips particularly about sand and water not mixing well with the camera.

  • Steve July 1, 2012 07:36 pm

    Certainly always have the camera with you as you never know when you will come across something unusual:

  • MikeC366 July 1, 2012 05:53 pm

    I've shot a couple of Olympic flame events recently. The most recent I even got a press pass for, which was fantastic. It's so much better than standing in the crowds. So I'm going to spend my summer attempting to get press passes and learning as much as I can about event photography. Here is the first of the olympic torch events I shot.

    Have a great summer everyone.

  • Scottc July 1, 2012 07:38 am

    Interesting tips! #7 is invaluable for the family vacations and get togethers, the different perspectives are always enjoyable.