Four Tips to Help Your Photography Shine in July

Four Tips to Help Your Photography Shine in July

July is all about explosions of colour. The bright sunshine beating down on glinting buildings, the wild flowers standing proud in fields and pavement cracks alike, the summer fetes with garishly painted stalls with ripe, vibrant fruit and cakes displayed for judging in boiling hot marquees. 

You don’t want to leave your camera behind when you venture out in July because there is so much to capture wherever you are, from the depths of the countryside to the heart of the city. Whether it is nature exploding with abundance or people picking out the most vivid and eye-catching clothes from their wardrobes, you won’t be short of subjects. 

To help you narrow down the possibilities, here are four ideas to help provide inspiration for photography at this time of year. 


If you have a garden of your own, you can get creative without even leaving your home. If you do not, or if you fancy a change, you will find many towns and villages host open garden weekends in July where residents allow visitors to enjoy the fruits of their labour. 

Study how the light impacts the scene and the subjects of your photography. What happens to your shot if you move or take it from the opposite angle? Play with the light by capturing some backlit images, giving you a sense of the power of the July sun. 

To help create more varied photography, develop some narratives and turn it into a project. You could see how your garden changes from dawn to dusk as the sun moves across it during the day. Go out at regular intervals to tell the story of a day in the life of the garden. Another option, if your garden produces food, is to document the journey your vegetables make from ground to fork. 

  • My Close-Up Photography Workshop at RHS Harlow Carr near Harrogate on 13th July is the perfect opportunity to acquire new skills for capturing all aspects of gardens in style. Book your place now


Without our friendly pollinators we would have no gardens, so why not celebrate them during July by making them the stars of your photography? Seek out the bees and butterflies, but also highlight some of those creatures who don’t tend to get the credit they deserve, such as moths and flies. Did you know that moths make up a third of the pollinator visits to plants in urban areas? This was reported last year by scientists at Sheffield University!

The temptation when trying to photograph these tiny creatures is to get as close as you can and really focus on a single insect. But why not think differently and see if you can capture pollinators as part of the wider landscape? Think carefully about what you want to show and compose a shot that shows multiple bees and insects, hard at work, helping our plant life thrive. 

  • We will see plenty of pollinators doing their thing around RHS Harlow Carr near Harrogate on 13th July, so come along and learn some skills to help you photograph them and show them in their true majesty. Book your place now.

City Heat

Many of us might like to escape to the countryside when the mercury rises, but that is not practical for everyone. The cities are still full of life during the summer, with everyone finding their own way to deal with the heat in the urban landscape. From those hoping to discover an oasis of cool in the blazing sun to those seeking out some rays in their lunch break or trying to eke out the last minutes of light in the day. And all this makes for some wonderful photo opportunities. 

One of the early projects I worked on that gained some traction was documenting how people positioned themselves in the light and shadows of the impressive Tate Modern building on London’s Bankside. If you stop and observe for long enough, you will start to see interesting patterns that can inform your photography. 

An effective way to approach this is to set up your shot in advance and then wait for the right subject or person to arrive within the frame. Take time to understand the way people use the space and then be patient as you anticipate them walking into your shot. 

  • To try this out, join my Whitby Secrets Photo Walk on 20th July, where we will be looking at all aspects of travel photography, including how to capture people and the way they interact with the environment. Book your place now.

Cloud Busting

As much as blue skies suggest a beautiful day ahead, they can be a nightmare for a photographer because they just don’t give you much to play with. However, summer’s climate can be fertile ground (or air) for staging some spectacular weather events you can really work with to create stunning images.

I’ve always been drawn to dark, dramatic skies over a landscape. It gives the picture more depth and intrigue. I love seeing beams of light breaking through heavy clouds, the majesty of in-coming storm clouds and some of the other weather events you witness at this time of year. 

Dramatic skies and weather scenes can often look even better when slightly under-exposed (exposure compensation -1 often does the trick). But you do need to take care because lightening up underexposed photos often produces noise in the shadows. Bracketing, working through the exposure compensation from +1 to -1 (or more more for scenes with more contrast) will give you more flexibility when editing. 

  • Hone your cloud photography skills with my Malham Summer Photo Walk on 14th July, where the stunning views and vistas often offer a chance to include some dramatic skies! Book your place now

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