Do you find yourself carrying your camera more during the summer? Mine comes out more often with the activities and abundant light. It’s the perfect time of the year to sharpen your photo skills.
How do you go about sharpening your skills without investing in a class or taking time away from your family? Easy. Look for things.
When I launched CaptureYour365 two years ago, I began writing daily prompt lists. The intent of those lists was to get people looking. Not for daily subjects, but for photographic opportunities. Through finding things that photograph well, you begin to improve your eye for composition, tell better stories, and learn to work the angles and the light.
You can grab a prompt list (I have many) or you can turn your camera toward the 1o things I find most photographically interesting. Focus on finding them all or focus on finding one of them over and over. Either way will help to develop your photographer’s eye.
I love to find reflections in mirrors, windows, and on still body’s of water.
You can find repetition in brick walls, rows in the garden or in fields you pass from the roadside. You can create repetition with produce in the kitchen or crayons from your child’s collection.
In the bright light of summer days, backlit situations seem to pop up everywhere. They are a great way to practice your technical skills while creating interesting photos. You can create them with people, buildings, or objects.
Pick one that you focus on all summer. When you find it, photograph it. Or select a color combination to look for. Want a really big challenge? Find a color you don’t normally photograph and try to find it.
Ahh, beautiful light. Photography is light, so what better subject?! Look for indirect light. Look for the color of light. If this is THE ONE item from the list to look for this summer, your photography will improve!
Look for shadows in bright midday light. This is a great time to avoid taking photos of faces in unflattering, harsh light.
Try photographing your own shadow, or creating a fun photo with several people’s shadows together. Even non-human subjects can work!
Oh sweet texture. It is the reach out and try to touch it part of photographs I love. I love to find texture in brick walls, fences, the leaves of squash plants, sidewalks, tables, and walls. Think about filling your frame with texture to really emphasize the details. Go wider when you want to capture texture and pattern.
I love how the sky changes through summer. I love the big blue sky with fake looking clouds or the stark cloudless skies that seem to happen in August at my house. The sky at night with beautiful oranges and pinks can be a great contrast to the midday sky or the morning tones in the opposite direction. Try capturing your sky with nothing else in the frame or positioning a tree or post to provide a focal point. Notice how using the sky can help you create a correct exposure for an added technical challenge.
If your sky will include fireworks, read how to capture them on a budget!
Lines create movement and order in photographs. They can lead the viewer’s eye through a frame. They can be used powerfully to help tell a story.
Following the red rule has never failed me. The idea? If you see red, photograph it. It’s a beautiful color that provides great contrast.
A few of my favorite reds to photograph:
- Stop signs
- Tomatoes (of course)
Bonus #11 – Something You Love
This category of seeing can be just about anything. One summer I photographed every beer I drank. Your love might be human or of the four legged variety. Combine your love with one of the other ten ideas and you’ll have a photo you can treasure.
Photography is about seeing. The more you practice looking for interesting photographic subjects, the more you will begin to find them in your everyday photos.