How To Edit Your Summer Photos Like A Pro

Image of people being photographed in Summer

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August”  -- Jenny Han 

Honestly, I couldn't agree more.

I love summer, and always have. I can remember growing up and excitedly awaiting what felt like all year for the ice and snow to begin melting so that the flowers would start blooming. 

And now, as a photographer and a mother of two children myself - not much has changed. I understand on a completely new and enlightened level the unique type of beauty that the summertime has to offer.

But here’s the thing about summer -  no matter what the setting, it can be so tricky to edit properly.  The shining sunlight, the bright and bold colors, the light sand, the greens - it can be a serious challenge to get your summer photos looking just how you imagine them to be.

I’ve put together a list of my top 5 photo editing tips for this time of year for all my fellow summertime fanatics out there.

Use presets that are designed for summer...

It's obviously no surprise that I’m a big fan of using Presets for Lightroom.  Who wouldn’t want stunning photos in a simple tap?

Of course, they are never just a one click trick - but the magic that Presets bring to a whole collection of images in that one easy move is still pretty incredible.

There are many presets out there designed specifically for summer or travel sessions which help add warmth to your images, brighten the colorful skies, and enhance those sandy beaches - almost instantly. 

In fact, my newest preset Honey Dew was created with summertime in mind and will help make your portfolio glow brighter than the sun.  Honey Dew contains 17 presets designed for enhancing warmth, intensifying golden hour images, and achieving that beautiful sun-kissed glow that looks like something right out of a travel magazine.

Don’t be afraid to play around with the exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights and shadows. 

Add Light Leaks to your edits...

If you are looking for a unique addition to your summertime images- try adding something like Light Leaks to your edits.

Back in the day of using cameras with actual film, sometimes a hole would develop in the film chamber, allowing a small amount of light in.  This occasionally would cause discoloration streaks within the photos, which in many cases, looked awesome. 

Today - there are apps available that allow you to recreate this look on your own shots. 

Check out my Embrace Light Leaks here.  

Adjust the White Balance 

Be sure to adjust the temperature of your image to match the environment you shot it in.  Was your day on the beach warm and sunny?  Moody and gloomy?  Tweaking accordingly by warming or cooling your image depending on the actual light and weather you experienced will tell a more authentic story about your summertime adventures. Your goal should be to neutralize the overall tone of your images. 

Since the season tends to have a lot of blues and greens, you may want to try decreasing the highlights in your images to help distinguish the variance between similar colors.   You can do this by simply diluting the highlights until you see the detail you want in the one color, then augment the exposure or white balance within your editing app to bring the brightness up of your main subject.

Tweak your greens

Depending on where you live or do most of your work, green might be a color you see a lot more of during the summer months compared to other times of the year. Between the budding leaves in the trees and the growing grass on the ground, you may find a lot more green hues within your images than you’re used to. 

Green can be such a stunning, bold, beautiful color for summertime photography but it can also be a huge challenge to edit properly when dealing with a lot of it all at once.

I’ve had countless questions about editing this color over the years that I finally decided to make an entire Youtube video dedicated entirely to tweaking your greens properly to get the right hue that you want.

Find the video here!

They say timing is everything, and I don’t disagree.

Always, ALWAYS be sure to consider the best time of day when shooting outdoors during the summer months. 

If you have not yet perfected light - know that your photography has the capability of improving drastically by mastering this one crucial element. 

Understanding when and where the sun rises and sets, and how the light illuminates various places depending on different times of the day will teach you to become a professional at properly timing your photoshoots. 

There are actually a variety of websites and apps that can help you when you’re travelling or shooting in an unfamiliar area, to show exactly where the sun will be given at any given location.   But as long as you know which direction you are facing when the sun is directly above you - you’ll be able to judge the best time of day to photograph any interesting scenes or subjects you discover.

I made this guide for you to show you how I work with natural light outdoors.  A little inspiration for your summertime sessions.

Wishing you all a safe and happy summer.  


Jasmin Jade

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