It is steaming up in Charlotte, and we’re ready for summer. Time to take a step back from the hustle of our everyday lives, and enjoy the longer days and a little more leisure after quitting time. Documenting these moments is important, after all, summer is when we spend more time together taking special vacations or just lazily enjoying the days go by.

Celebrate your everyday moments with these tips and tricks for taking that perfect shot from some of Charlotte’s top photographers.

Get to Know Your Camera

The very first thing you want to do before heading out for any photo shoot is to get to know your camera. Practice, practice, practice. Have fun trying different settings, different compositions, and subjects. Play around with lighting. The more you experiement the better you will perfect the art of photography.

Seek the Light

Lighting is such an important player in the composition of a photo. Dubbed the golden hour because of its ability to add a golden hue to your photos, the hour just before sunrise or just after sunset is the perfect time to capture photos that wow.

“My tips would be to head out there early in the morning (8-9am) to avoid a crowd or 1-2 hours before sunset for the most beautiful lighting.  There may be a little bit of a crowd in the evening but honestly, that’s what’s summer is all about.  Getting out and having a good time.  Have fun… be silly… take lots of pics!”- CharMarie Photography

But Stay in the Shade

“Find shade… Here in Charlotte we are known for our Carolina blue skies and abundant sunshine. When you are taking photos in the middle of the day, the sun is high in the sky and can be quite harsh. Harsh light is not always flattering light. Find a patch of shade right in front of a fun background to capture your midday summer fun! Location: Carowinds”- Faye Sevel Photography

Seek Color

Denise Benson Photography suggests adding a little color to your life. The colorful morals found in the NoDa district are a prime example of creating a unique backdrop for special photos. “It’s perfect for creatives, bloggers and senior sessions,” she says.


Summer Fun = Water Fun

“Kids who love the water tend to *really* love the water.  For so many kids, Summer = Water, whether that means heading to Lake Norman’s Ramsey Creek Beach, your favorite neighborhood pool, Carowind’s Carolina Harbor, or the front yard sprinklers for your family, it is a huge part of summer that we all love to capture!  And with the heat and humidity of Charlotte just around the corner, we will all be seeking relief in the water in just a few weeks!!”- Renee Stengel Photography

Avoid the Crowds

“Shoot early in the morning to avoid the summer heat as well as crowded streets.”- Denise Benson Photography

“Take a stroll around NoDa before shooting so you know what to wear and how your wardrobe will play against the colorful walls.” Denise Benson Photography

Cool Off

“Summertime in Charlotte gets HOT. Cool off with some ice cream and capture that!!! Don’t forget the sprinkles. Location: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Southend”- Faye Sevel Photography

Capture Joy

“When you get children in such a happy place, and then tell them to jump in and have fun, well, they do!  And then I get to capture that joy. To capture those free spirited, care-free, summer loving expressions that make children’s underwater photos so dang FUN!” – Renee Stengel Photography


Get Close

“The closer the better in Underwater Photography!  I use as wide of a lens as I can so I can get very close and still capture everything I want to capture.  The further away you are the more your photos will lose color, detail, and clarity.”- Renee Stengel Photography

“My tips would be to head out there early in the morning (8-9am) to avoid a crowd or 1-2 hours before sunset for the most beautiful lighting.  There may be a little bit of a crowd in the evening but honestly, that’s what’s summer is all about.  Getting out and having a good time.  Have fun… be silly… take lots of pics!”- CharMarie Photography

Be Mindful of Your Subject

“Tip 1: If shooting on the patio make sure your subject has the sun behind or beside them so they aren’t squinting when looking into the camera.”- Denise Benson Photography

“Tip 2: Incorporate some of Amelie’s famous treats, like their macarons, into your session for a little fun and whimsy.” Denise Benson Photography

Capture the Skyline

“Capture the skyline at sunset. Once the sun heads down, grab your besties and head for a parking garage to marvel at the beauty of the sun setting behind our city’s beautiful skyline. Document sharing that experience! Location: The Metropolitan”- Faye Sevel Photography

Night Action

“Don’t stop shooting at night. At night, the city is alive with light. Have your subject stand under a street light and capture the essence of nighttime city lights in the background. Location: Center City Charlotte” Faye Sevel Photography

Don’t forget yourself

Being the photographer is a tireless job, but don’t forget to get in your own photos. You don’t want a slew of family vacation photos with you nowhere to be found. Try shooting with a timer and a tripod or at the very least training someone in your family where to point and click.

Have Fun

If there is one thing summer brings us it is joy. Joy to celebrate longer days, enjoy drinks poolside, or engage in more meaningful time with our friends and family. When taking photos to remember to capture the moments as you see them so that when you look back you reminisce about those long summer days spent with those you love the most.