Warm Weather Shooting Tips

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Although you wouldn’t know it by looking out my office window, in most parts of the country warmer weather is on the way. It’s is a great time to dust off your camera and make some fun, family photographs. Here are four tips for improving your summer photographs:

Watch the background. Too often snapshots include unwanted objects that you didn’t originally notice. Have you ever made a photo of a friend with a telephone pole sticking up behind their head? Instead of asking, “where did that come from?” take one last look at the background before clicking the shutter.

Turn on the built-in flash. Nothing ruins photographs of family and friends more than perfectly exposed photographs of the background with the subjects appearing as silhouettes. Turning on the built-in flash should balance the flash with the existing light and result in more pleasing photographs. And I know Olympus make this a chore with many of their cameras, so you going to have to open the User;’s Guide.



The left-hand portrait of my wife (above) was made using only available light. The improved photo at right was made by simply popping up the built-in flash.


Sometimes you want a silhouette because it tells a better story than a snapshot.

Get closer. Most snapshots are ruined because you’ve included too much background detail and the subject is small in the frame. Try this: Frame your subject in the viewfinder or LCD, then take one step closer and see how it improves the photograph. Try it both ways and see which you like best.



Avoid “Bulls-eye” syndrome. Don’t place your subject dead center in the frame. If you’re shooting a horizontal picture; place them in the left or right one-third of the picture but be sure to fill up the other two-thirds with something interesting. Or turn your camera to a vertical position and place the subject’s head near the top of the frame but not in the middle. For more about photographic composition, please read my post “I Don’t Do Composition.”


This is an uncropped panoramic image shot in the 16×9 format and while Mom might prefer her child to be dead center in the frame, I think this is a better storytelling image of a “day at the beach.”

Taking better warm weather pictures isn’t difficult if you remember to move in close, don’t place the subject in the dead center in the photo, and don’t forget to turn on that flash! 51BbZjJPCIL._SX394_BO1,204,203,200_


For another approach to visualizing your photographs, pick up a copy of my friend Rick Sammon’s book Creative Visualization for Photographers , which is available from Amazon and all of the usual suspects.