Summer is so much more than beach, sun hats, big inflatables, bright colours and exotic locations. It is about new experiences and those that we already know and love. It is about being together and indulging in the fresh air, delicious food and late rise-ups of the ordinary days. During the last few summers I have made it a mission to photograph those days, the everyday summer mornings and afternoons when we stay home and enjoy the simple moments.
I have compiled my 5 top tips to slow down, notice and document these moments in a meaningful way. Have a read and try them to capture your own unique summer!
TIP 1 | OBSERVE
Take a day or as much as you need to just observe. Make a mental note to slow down and notice the everyday moments, the moments that you want to remember. There is a story in them, even in the most mundane ones. Find it and capture it. Forget perfection and shoot for documenting memories and not cheesy smiles or pretty outfits, no one would remember those. What will be remembered will be moments of joy and excitement, smells, colours and tastes. Document your family as it is this summer and create your own #perfectlyimperfectsummer gallery. One day you will go back and flip through those memories and smile.
TIP 2 | MAKE A LIST
Note down the activities that are important to you and your kids this summer. Capture them as they happen in a documentary style or create opportunities to photograph them. I don't mind facilitating a moment in order to capture it. Let the kids do what they love and stay close to be able to photograph it. Place them in good light or background and wait for the scene to unfold.
Playing cards is the big hit this summer with the girls, so I made sure I documented it. Trampoline jumping and reading nestled on a tree are oldies but goldies. They are big part of our summer days and I find myself taking these photos on daily basis. Chances are that you are in the same situation and see the same activities repeat in the same location daily. Embrace it and use it to challenge and boost your creativity to make it look different every single time.
TIP 3 | GO WITH THE FLOW
Don't get discouraged if you don't get the images you wanted from the first time. Just keep shooting and work for them. I would usually start as a fly on the wall and try to stay unnoticed. When I see something interested happening, I would run for my camera. Sometimes it works, sometimes the kids would spot me and the initial genuine moment would be gone. Then I would just start interacting with them, asking questions or taking part in what they are doing. The best moments happen when we least expect them, so don't put the camera down.
TIP 4 | WATCH YOUR FRAME
This is simple but paramount. Pay attention to what you are photographing and what is in your frame. This is much easier to do when you shoot with a phone and watch the screen or use the live view mode on a camera. If there is something or someone who is not supposed to be in the frame, remove them by changing your position, moving around, stepping to the side or getting higher or lower. Notice how this would change your frame and if none of these steps is working, simply come very close and fill the frame with your subject, leaving the unnecessary objects out. It takes time to master this skill, but once you start paying attention to what you allow in the frame, your photos will take a step up.
TIP 5 | TELL A STORY
Shoot a sequence of actions to document the whole scene unfolding or try to incorporate the cinematic approach to storytelling by using different shots to establish the scene, show what's happening and draw the attention to the details. Start with a wide shot to introduce the location and subject, then move closer and then even closer to focus on the most important detail in your story. Collect those stories.
I hope you found these 5 tips useful and they have inspired you to pick your camera or phone more often and with more intention to capture the moments that matter. Try them, have fun and get the most of your everyday summer days!