Your Summer Story Photo Challenge – Week Three

Welcome to Week 3 of Your Summer Story Photo Challenge! If you’re just joining us, thanks so much for signing up! You can catch up on Week 1 and 2 by clicking below.

Week One
Week Two

Last week we talked about how to tell a story with your images and I asked you to capture your 4th of July. How did you do? Care to share some images? I posted a few of my favorites on Instagram. You should too. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #mysummerstoryinphotos. OK let’s move on to week 3 – capturing a summer portrait.

A portrait is typically a head and shoulders photo of someone, but it can also tell a story and give you an idea or a feeling about the person in the photo.

I bet when you want to take a portrait of someone you’ll ask them to stop what they’re doing and look at you. But what does that really get you? A 100 photos that all look the same. I want to challenge you to think differently about portraits. There are so many ways you can create a more interesting photo and capture the essence of summer at the same time. Here are a few tips. 

1) Think About Your Background

Look for something that will add interest to your photo. Bright colors and patterns are an easy way to do this. In this photo of my daughter, all I did was drape a beach towel over the boring patio chair she was sitting in. The bright yellow matched her bathing suit and I loved the stripes.Look for opportunities in your home too. It can be a colorful quilt, patterned bed sheets, a colored wall. I’ve even taken pretty wrapping paper and taped it up to a wall for a fun background. 

2) Have Your Subject Do Something

Your kiddos don’t always need to be looking at the camera to create a beautiful portrait. I wanted to capture Olivia’s unofficial first 4th of July (she was only 4 months old the first time around) so I picked up a small flag and asked her to shake it. She thought it was so funny, but didn’t look up the whole time. She was busy doing her own thing and that’s ok. I still love this portrait because of what it represents to me. My favorite photos are of people doing something–talking to each other, laughing, hugging, holding hands, whispering in each other’s ears, etc. Encourage your kids to engage in an activity. Use the list of prop ideas below and get them playing. 

3) Include a Prop

Summer is the best time to add super simple props to a photo. Nothing overly staged, just a little something to add to the summer story and create interesting contrast in a photo. Props are great because they allow your subject to interact naturally rather than just looking at the camera. Here’s a list of 10 ideas for fun summer props. Pick one and have some fun. 

ice cream cone or popsicle 
sunglasses (as you can tell I have a slight sunglass obsession!)
a sun hat
a piece of fruit 
a coffee cup
water balloons

4) Perspective and Angles

You don’t have to take photos of people straight on, and they don’t have to be looking at the camera. Experiment with profiles and play around with taking photos from different angles. One of my favorite perspectives is overhead. 

I am hoping to record a video of me photographing Olivia this week for you too! I’m going to do a little shoot with her and some fruit since that has been her favorite snack this summer. Good luck and as always, please feel free to leave a comment and ask questions or just say hi!