featured image water

48 Creative Ways to Capture Water Fun this Summer

One toe in the shallow end of summer, one dive into my favorite photo book this season and one scroll through the Instagram feeds I follow and it’s clear: summer is photogenic. The vibrant hues of this season pop against blue sky, and water backdrops transform everyday scenes into paintings. Turquoise pools, rippled ponds and clouds of mist catching sunlight at the local water park all make my heart skip a beat. But sometimes capturing it in photos isn’t easy–our creativity hits a rut.

 photo collage 1_zpsoawka0hy.jpg

The above photos all present the same perspective: people in water, smiling at the camera, same angle, same story. Lovely, yes…but there are so many other ways to tell a summer story with photos–to capture color and childhood, freedom and fun, relaxation and warmth. Change it up:

 photo collage 2_zpscu2ajdmt.jpg


Basking in that dreamy feeling, I dug through some photo archives this week to pull out tips for taking creative water photographs this summer. Whether it’s in the pool, off the lake or spraying the hose from the front lawn, there are a number of ways to dive into the challenge of taking water photos. Here are 48:


1. Shoot from Above.
Pool photos take on a whole new look when you get high enough (or have a lens with a wide enough angle) to surround your subject completely with water.

 photo 1 from above_zpsngjcuwpe.jpg

2. Looking In the Water
Capture that half in-half out exploration mode (think snorkeling) by getting as level with the water as you can.

 photo 6 looking down_zpsuxr2rdhj.jpg

3. Looking Out the Water
You don’t have to have an underwater camera housing to get underwater photos. In still, clear water you can shoot down at a subject just under the surface. My kids open their eyes underwater, but this would be just as cute with goggles.

 photo 7 looking up_zpsnny0atpj.jpg

4. Add Bubbles
Bring bubbles in the pool or to the beach–your kids will love it–and capture soapy rainbows against water–it’s gorgeous!

 photo 2 add bubbles_zpscsj4jzba.jpg

5. Include Pool Tiles in Photos
So many beautiful patterns and colors that add interesting lines to photos like these blue-green beauties.

 photo 3 pool tiles_zpsbuizr9sh.jpg

6. Jumping In
The proverbial summer photo. Off a dock, from a diving board, into a wave, a pool, a lake, the ocean. Nothing says summer like arms-in-the-air and clouds-in-the-sky.

 photo 4 jumping in_zpsmdqvn1jp.jpg

7. Coming Up for Air

 photo 5 coming up_zps9xqxxebm.jpg

8. Pool Caps
This is one of my favorite summer photos. Wearing some retro beach wear not only keeps your hair dry, but it adds some colorful summer style.

 photo 16 with a swimcap_zps1iivtjax.jpg

Our favorite swim caps: flower swim cap (like above), another flower swim cap, comfy reversible swimcap from Hanna Andersson (made from bathing suit material), stripe ruched bathing cap

9. Just the Feet
Baby feet in water. Enough said.

 photo 12 just the feet_zpsjl5tyxcj.jpg

10. Funky Angles
Go ahead and get a crooked horizon. Get in the water, bend and stretch and play around with perspective. You might just capture summer in a way that brings smiles for years.

 photo 40 switch up angle_zpsdkfyxdmo.jpg

11. Baby Got Back…float

 photo 23 backfloat_zps8vkmjvpp.jpg

12. Get Level with the Pool and take a Profile Shot.

 photo 22 level with the pool_zpsm7enwaym.jpg

13. Under the Boardwalk
Piers and boardwalks are one of my camera’s muses. And this photo will always be one of my favorite summer shots.

 photo 31 under the boardwalk_zpsd0u4jlj8.jpg

14. Esther Williamseque: Synchronized Swimming Legs

 photo 25 synchronized swimming_zpsqyqg2nwr.jpg

15. From Where I Lie…in the water

 photo 14 from the feet 2_zps19nnosiq.jpg

16. Bright Pool Floats.
Since water can’t wear jewelry, we bring it accessories in the form of happy pool floats, the brighter the better.

 photo 5 with colorful tubes_zpskr9yiqij.jpg

Want to see some awesome pool floats that make your photographs drip with color and summer style?

Our faves: donut pool float, watermelon pool float, pretzel pool float, giant swan, rainbow pool float (love this one!)

17. Through the Fountain

 photo 20 in the fountain_zpsvx5tgidp.jpg

18. How Low Can You Go?
Squat down, lie down, get low, low, low to see the beach in a whole new way. Think of it this way. If you were a crab with a camera, what would you see?

 photo 24 how low can you go 2_zpst4svji3m.jpg

 photo 34 how low can you go_zpsm2rswmza.jpg

19. Zoom In!
Ten points for capturing drippy eyelashes, five for drippy cheeks, three for wet hair.

 photo 13 Zoom in drops_zpsyoazj7ll.jpg

20. Reflection of…
Capture pool/lake/ocean in the opposite direction–the reflection of it in a window, a sliding glass door or reflective sunglass lenses.

 photo 15 reflection_zpsfkg7nntu.jpg

21. From the Pool Steps
Switch it up from taking photos from outside the pool into the pool.

 photo 21 from the pool_zpscu1kjisn.jpg

22. Water Ripple Circles…like tree bark rings

 photo 42 capture the rings_zps5u9wqkyp.jpg

23. Wedgie in the Water
Baby’s gonna sport one some time this summer. Grab your camera.

 photo 39 wedgie in the water_zps7umnwvdi.jpg

24. Depth of Field
Focus on something different than the subject’s face in the water–feet sticking up, a pail and shovel in the sand, a starfish–but still get people in the background scene. It tells a different kind of story.

 photo 18 depth of field_zpsvzdcaihw.jpg

 photo 18 depth of field 2_zpsljdmh31s.jpg

25. The Whole Scene
Back up, back up, back up. Use a wide angle lens (or phone camera) to survey the entire landscape. This is the cover of the summer coffee table that lives in your head.

 photo 26 back up the whole scene_zps7kinpbll.jpg

26. Get Goggle-eyed
Keep the goggles on for the pictures. Goggles equal childhood summer.

 photo 33 goggles_zpsaxefmizt.jpg

27. Feet in Shoreline
This is a great way to capture a baby + mama photo if you’re holding the camera.

 photo 28 feet at shoreline_zps7s1cmgag.jpg

28. The Big Splash

 photo 29 the big splash_zpscohkrcbz.jpg

29. From Below
Bottom of the dock, in the boat, under the diving board. Shoot upwards from the water for an entirely different look at summer.

 photo 17 from the boat_zpsiv5431i2.jpg

30. Outdoor Shower (rig your hose and do it in your own backyard!)

 photo 20 outside shower_zps886iqhsu.jpg

31. Add Flowers
Float some wildflowers in the water and swim in them, wear flower crowns when you swim.

 photo 37 with flowers_zpsg41uri5b.jpg

32. Water Toys
Don’t forget to photograph the little toys–the boats, the mermaids, the Nemos, the colorful pails and shovels.

 photo 41 toys in the water_zpsb5uk5sok.jpg

33. Blankets in the Sand

 photo 25 where you lie_zpsfcxpvvta.jpg

34. Hair Flinging
Fun photos to take! My kids do this, ask to see the camera, laugh at the product, and want to do it all over again.

 photo 24 hair flinging_zpstx26xx18.jpg

35. Hot Tub Bubbles
Love the white foam that shows up in our hot tub photos.

 photo 38 hot tub bubbles_zpsh2vahwts.jpg

36. Through the Window
I love the juxtaposition of an inside watching/outside swimming story.

 photo 37 through the window_zps6qbvetou.jpg

37. Out of Focus

 photo 19 out of focus_zpsgqwsrmsc.jpg

38. Shoreline Sunset Silhouettes

 photo 35 water silhouette 2 1_zpseetuythn.jpg

39. The Dad Throw
It’s a summer proper noun.

 photo print 8_zpstqdhik6i.jpg

No Pool? No Beach? No Lake? No Problem.

40. Kiddie Pool
Think a kiddie pool is too small to make splash? Lainey would beg to differ.

 photo 38 kiddie pool_zpssysc7txl.jpg

41. Pull Out the Hose

 photo 27 hose drinking_zpsbmt8udq8.jpg

42. Car Wash
In your own driveway…or hit the local quarter car wash–your kids will have a blast.

 photo 17 washing the car_zpsvnuvjerk.jpg

 photo 36 car wash 2_zps8sqtd8eq.jpg

 photo 36 car wash 1_zpsmvrxv3wk.jpg

43. Rain Droplets on Plants/Flowers

 photo 10 rain on a leaf_zpswto3y47m.jpg

44. Mud Puddles

 photo 9 mud puddle_zpsccmjsuv9.jpg

45. From the Hose’s Perspective

 photo 28 the hoses perspective_zpsia6hzdhv.jpg

46. Rainboots in Puddles

 photo 11 puddle jumping_zpsbd5cd1ar.jpg

47. Drinking Fountain

 photo 32 drinking foutain_zpsvfmakpve.jpg

48. Water Balloons

 photo 8 water balloons_zpsv2gzhhtw.jpg

 photo 8 water balloons 2_zpspiacazzo.jpg




Leave a Comment
  1. Beautiful photo’s. Great post. Nuff said. I especially love .38 Silhouette, simply a gorgeous stunning photo. Love it. Also love the rubber boot idea. Thanks for the reminders and all the new ideas for the summer.

  2. Oh My!! What fun! This is getting me really excited for summer. I think I may get a kiddy pool and set it up for my “kid” which is actually a dog, but envisioning the pictures now I think it’ll be super cute! Thanks for the ideas :)

  3. Agnes dyna says:

    Thank you! Great post, beautiful pictures and fabulous tips. I will try as many as I can! Thanks, Kelle!

  4. I could almost hear Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summertime” looking at these gorgeous photos.

  5. Just LOVE. I will definitely be using these! Your babes are so precious.

  6. Love this post! Your shots are always so creative.

  7. I usually don’t comment but I just LOVED this post today. You are a fabulous mom and photographer!

  8. Christine says:

    This post has been one of the most helpful I’ve ever read! Thank you for sharing your photography knowledge with us!!!! Happy Summer!!!!!

  9. These are so beautiful! I love this whole post and I’m so glad I came across your blog from Bloglovin this morning :)

  10. When you become jaded with the blogging-writing scene, you can always give photography lessons. Your incredible photographs draw me to your blog again and again…sometimes even more than the content. Great ideas for summertime pictures.

  11. Love this! so many fun ideas to get my inspired this summer!

  12. Very nice ideas. I hope that i will enjoy my summer and that I will capture all my memories in pictures like this!

  13. Kbubert says:

    Love this! I feel inspired now!

  14. Love these images so much!! Looks like your links to the swan and rainbow pool floats both link to the pretzel one… just wanted to let you know. The shot of your cutie in the donut float has always been one of my favorites of yours. :)

  15. You are an artist Kelle, all your photos are amazing! I’m in the middle of compiling pictures of my family too. They’re growing up so fast, and I feel like I should start capturing every moment. What I have here are nice quality photos that I got from my regular point and shoot and camera phone.

    I actually bookmarked this article so I can review it for the summer. But I feel like my camera is getting a little out of date. I’ve been looking at mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. But if it’s okay to ask, what camera would you recommend for a beginner but quick enough to snap running/playing kiddos. I admire those out of focus, depth of field and sunset photos …

  16. I just found your blog, and it’s amazing. Thank you for the incredible ideas I’d never have considered for summer photos! My grandchildren (two toddlers and a newborn) will be a good age to begin doing this next year. They live in another country, so creating memories for them is critical to us. I really appreciate your sharing your ideas this way. Thank you. ♡

  17. Gotta try some of these water photos – thanks for sharing :)

    Nat Lewis
    Rocky Mountain Decals – Cute Wall Decals kids, home & office!

  18. I just found your blog and saw this post about summer water photos. I was really surprised how original your ideas and tips are. I love taking photos but I’ve never considered of taking photos with water and people. These photos look so simple and the same time so original and professional. I wonder what kind of camera you used. I believe that it is impossible to capture shots like that with simple camera or phone camera. While watching these photos I started to want to go to beach and take some photos! Thank you for inspiring me! And I think the best photos are where you can’t see clear people’s faces and, of course, photos where only legs and water are seen. These looks like taken by professional.

  19. Mary Wallis says:

    These are absolutely beautiful! I have loved looking at your photos for years. Each one tells a story. Each one is lovely.

  20. Kaylene says:

    I accept this challenge! Now if Utah would warm up so I could start! Thank you for the inpiration! I totally am in a rut!

  21. Hi,
    Just go through your article “48 Creative Ways to Capture Water Fun this Summer” really love and like it because the babes are so cute.when I found your blog and saw summer water pictures and really surprised how original your thoughts and implements. That is why feel inspired as well feel a great beautiful moment right now. Special thanks for this great sharing, please keep it up.

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