Kate Farrell Photography

Williston, VT

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Summer Photo Tips

Two kids playing on the playground.

There is nothing like a summer photo to cheer you up on a grey November day. Summer is in full swing and as we all know “Summer is the best weekend in Vermont.” Okay, it does last longer than one weekend, but summer is arguably our shortest season and certainly one we all savor.

Here are four of my favorite tips for summer 2022.

Summer Photo Tip #1: Crank up the shutter speed!

Bright sunny summer days are filled with action begging to be photographed. Embrace the bright light! Crank the shutter speed to 1/800s or faster to freeze summer action.

Dog playing with a rope toy in summer

One of my perennial favorite images is a splash sequence. Who doesn’t love looking back on their kids (and/or pup!) enjoying summer? Plus, aren’t the patterns the water makes so cool? For these, I use burst mode which I explained in my Dog Photo Tips and Favorite Camera Features for Family Photography post.

Summer Photo Tip #2: Take some test images

Play is a great way to learn, even for adults. Play with your camera! Call them “test images” if you must, but take some images just to see what happens. Crank up the shutter speed and notice how the image gets dark. Hint: count the clicks. You’ll need to compensate with ISO or aperture by the same number of clicks to achieve the same exposure.

6 year old girl walking on a wooden bridge in the woods.
I took a few test images before I asked my very muddy daughter to walk across this bridge at the end of a hike.

Summer Photo Tip #3: Use spot metering

Be sure to meter for the light falling on your subject. If your subject will be moving, meter for something like a rock or tree branch near where you expect them.

Chocolate lab resting near white peonies.
I metered the rock behind Willow before getting her into position for this image.

If you leave your camera in an automated mode, it will likely use a center weighted average to estimate how much light to let in. This is a great starting point, but for the best image, you’ll want to adjust that with intention. I use spot metering in all of my work.

Summer Photo Tip #4: Sigma 70-200 Sport for the Win!

What’s your favorite lens?

My answer is, “It depends.” I know that’s not really answering the question, but each situation does best with a specific lens. I wrote a whole post about Lens Selection last summer.

My favorite lens for a summer photo is usually the Sigma 70-200 Sport. I can be a safe distance from my moving subjects, yet get some nice compression that makes it feel like I was right there. Zoom lenses are great in dynamic situations where kids are playing, swimming, jumping or biking.

10 year old boy mountain biking.

I’ve used my 70-200mm lens to photograph some mountain biking races and expect it will get lots of use this fall at the Vermont Youth Cycling races where I’ll be the official race photographer.

Looking for Family Photos?

I help busy and energetic families relax and connect (really!) while I capture fun and emotive images. With four children of my own, I’m no stranger to cranky toddlers (or tweens!). I love including the Vermont landscape in my work — all my sessions are outdoors. All families bound by love and respect are welcome behind my lens!

Click the “Let’s get started” button to let me know you’re interested in scheduling a session. I’ll be in touch about setting up a 15 minute video chat. I want to hear all about your photo session hopes and dreams, as well as worries and questions.

Most sessions are scheduled at least four weeks in advance.

Young couple sitting in the grass with their beloved dog.
Don’t be surprised when I flop down in the grass to get a fun perspective during your family session!

  1. […] discussed action photography in bright light in an earlier blog post called Summer Photo Tips. I was certainly using all those ideas at the Vermont Youth Cycling race at […]

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Kate farrell photography

© Images by Kate Farrell
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Kate Farrell is a professional lifestyle family photographer based in Williston, Vermont, serving the greater Chittenden County area.