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Pack these 10 essentials to make sure all your summer photos are amazing!

10 Summer Photography Essentials

Is your photography gear summer ready?

The sun, the sand, the water, the wind, the people – a camera’s got a lot to do during summer. Hopefully you’ll get the chance to take some rad photos. Maybe some high-shutter speed actions shots? Maybe some macro shots of all the cool bugs that come out during the summer.

You heard me, bugs are cool, bro. If only for photography’s sake. I’m not a huge fan of spiders, but I’ve gone way closer than I’ve been comfortable with just to get some sweet photos of those creepy little dudes.

Summer Photo Equipment

"Leave and don't return until you have stories to tell" Pack these 10 essentials to make sure all your summer photos are amazing!

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Photography during summer presents some unique challenges though, not the least being THE SUN. *horror-movie-scream*It buurrrrrrns! 

Me and the sun have a difficult relationship: On one hand, it powers… the Earth. So, go sun. On the other hand, I have the complexion of Casper, and I don’t always appreciate looking like I’ve been boiled alive. But I digress…

This isn’t about MY issues with the sun, it’s about my camera’s issues with the sun. My camera, Stan – such a diva.

It’s also about YOUR camera’s issues with the summer sun, and all the other challenges photographers face during beach season. So, to help combat some of those roadblocks, and hopefully help get you prepared before you jet off on some summer vacay, I’ve created this little list of summer photography essentials.

To take care of you and your camera. Enjoy!

1. Sunscreen

Go outside, take lots of beautiful pictures of nature, go explore the wilderness or lounge on a beach, Instagram the hell outta all of it – but get some sunscreen on yoself first. I worry about you.

2. Diffuser

Get a flash diffuser for summertime shots.

You might be saying um, no, I won’t need a flash because it’s SUNNY. Duh, Hannah. Not so fast my photogenius, friend. Yes, it’s sunny, and so yes you won’t need a flash to light things up, BUT what if you have a bunch of weird harsh shadows because it’s so sunny? I’ll tell you what, you could use your flash to help even out the shadows on someone’s face, but your pretty photo will get WAY blown out if you don’t have a diffuser.

You’ll also want to set your ISO as low as it will go (100) while still being able to prevent camera shake. You might even need to use a neutral density filter to make the scene darker so the flash doesn’t blow all your highlights up.

3. Circular polarizer

A circular polarizer should be one of your everyday photography items. You should pack it with you everywhere your camera goes, and you’ll be using it every time you take your camera out, unless you have a good reason not to – like night shots.

Check ’em out on Amazon

4. Neutral density filter

This kind of filter attaches to your lens with a fancy adapter and holder set. The point is that you can use them to make to sky really dark without effecting the ground.

Ex: Have you ever seen (maybe taken) a photograph where the sky is so light that it’s practically white? A filter would change that so you’d get a pretty blue and maybe some dramatic clouds.

Surprise snow storm at sunrise!

See more examples of filter effects in this post

You can even layer these types of filters to make it darker and darker.

TIP: Get hard filters (this means the line between light and dark doesn’t blend – it’s pretty definite) to trick your camera into giving you the right white balance.

Pack these 10 essentials to make sure all your summer photos are amazing!

They pretty much look like this

Check ’em out on Amazon

5. Extra batteries

ALWAYS. Always bring extra batteries! But especially in the summer when you’re outside, hiking around, miles from the nearest outlet.

I’ve lost some beautiful would-be photos to a dying battery.

Check ’em out on Amazon

6. Water bottle

For you, not the camera. Stay hydrated you 70%-water creature you. So you can live to shoot another day!

7. Viewfinder Hood

This little guy will save you so much time and frustration. I can’t truly express through the internet how much of a summer photography essential this thing is. IT’S ESSENTIAL, GUYS. There. I tried.

Use it to get an accurate look at your photos after you take them instead of dealing with sunlight and glare that make the screen hard to see. Now you’ll know for sure if you nailed the photo, or if you need to retake it with some adjustments.

8. Lightweight tripod

Another piece of equipment you don’t want to be caught without: the tripod.

Maybe you use it, maybe you don’t, but you will almost always definitely totally come across an awesome future photo that requires a tripod right when you decided to leave it at home. Like say… when you need to make the sky darker with one of those handy filters and that means your shutter speed slows down.

I know several people who are happy with this guy:

9. Lightweight camera backpack

Hey you wanna go hiking with your $800 camera hanging around your neck like a sign that says “Here, rock, trip me!” then you do you. But if not then invest a little bit of money in a good lightweight camera backpack to keep your very expensive friend safe.

Personally I’m a fan of Tamrac.

Check ’em out on Amazon

10. Cleaning cloths

Dust, water, mud… the occasional bird dropping… I dont’ wanna talk about it… Bring a little lens cloth just in case you get something on your lens during your awesome photography adventures.


This is a really cool bundle with an extra thing that totally deserves a spot on the list – lens cap keeper! They make sure your lens cap doesn’t end up somewhere in the middle of the Pacific.

Think that probably won’t happen anyway? I personally know one particular seagull who would beg to differ.

Again. I don’t wanna talk about it. 

Me and birds, man…

But you should totally take a look at this set because it’s pretty sweet:

Anything you’d add to the list? Clue me in!

Now go, be free, and take cool photos.

P.S. If anyone is interested maybe I’ll do a roundup of awesome photos at the end of the summer – are you up for the challenge? Let me know!

Affiliate link found in its natural habitat: If you decide to buy something through some of the links here I may get a commission – at no extra cost to you, of course! Thanks!

Pack these 10 essentials to make sure all your summer photos are amazing!

I’ve had gelato in Italy, pizza in Egypt, crepes in Paris, and gruyere in Gruyere.
I’ve rafted rivers, climbed canyons, been lost in foreign cities – and foreign museums :P – and road trip whenever I get the chance.
I bring my camera and dog wherever I can, always looking for the next adventure, then I write about it here.
Follow along and say hi!

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