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Five Things that Will Take Your Summer Photos to the Next Level
By The Team @ Explorest

Five Things that Will Take Your Summer Photos to the Next Level

How, and what you’ll need, to take the best photos this summer season.

One of the greatest tools the Explorest app provides is the ability to browse photo locations by season. Traveling in the winter? We've got snow-covered mountains and festively decorated cities. In the fall, we can lead you to striking foliage in unexpected places. Spring provides the perfect time to grab your camera and photograph the flowers beginning to bloom—especially when they're in such a breathtaking setting, like Borrego Springs, California. And although each season lends its own unique qualities, there's nothing quite like exploring new places during the summer. The combination of warmer temperatures, a laissez-faire attitude, and endless locations to choose from on the Explorest app make for an incredible season of sightseeing.

How do you take your photos to the next level, though? Below, we're rounding up five things that will elevate your images and unleash your inner photographer so that every shot is guaranteed to have a "wow" factor. Trust us, you don't want to miss out on stepping up your photo game!

Sparkling Waters

As the weather begins to warm up, there are few things that are as irresistible as jumping into a refreshing body of water—and if you've browsed through the Explorest app, you'll know our expert contributors (aka Explorests) are no strangers to photographing oceans, pools, ponds, lakes and waterfalls around the globe. The bodies of water are photogenic during any month of the year, but in the summer, the hot, glimmering sun shining on the ripples of turquoise waves will take your photo to the next level. You'll visit these places and your troubles will melt away while you spend the day wading in the pristine pools. From the beaches of San Diego to the glass-like lakes in Italy, the aquamarine hue of the water will instantly boost your mood and give you one of the first signs that summer is officially here.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore view of Lake Superior & Lover's Leap

credit: @snaphappymichigan — discover Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore view of Lake Superior & Lover's Leap on the Explorest app

Deep Water Bay

credit: @derryainsworth — discover Deep Water Bay on the Explorest app

Lake Eibsee

credit: @mareikeann — discover Lake Eibsee on the Explorest app

Outdoor Dining

I think it's safe to say that most of us are eager to spend the summer enjoying our meals al fresco after more than a year of spending so much time inside our houses. Not only for the #foodporn, but also for the fresh air, flower façades and company of close friends. As you photograph people dining outside, you'll be able to breathe life into the shot and capture locals and tourists alike as they soak up the sun and devour delicious dishes. And if a crowded restaurant or pub is too busy, may we suggest a picturesque picnic (don't forget the rosé and fresh baguettes!) in front of a fairytale castle. I mean, can you think of anything more photogenic?

Lively, like The Churchill Arms, or quiet, like the Château de L'Islette, outdoor dining gives you the opportunity to take your photos to the next level this summer.

Pro tip: Since we've done our fair share of visiting global eateries, we highly recommend making a reservation ahead of time so you're able to photograph the exterior, interior and the food.

The Churchill Arms

credit: @a_ontheroaddiscover The Churchill Arms on the Explorest app

Château de L'Islette

credit: @a_ontheroaddiscover Château de L'Islette on the Explorest app

credit: @a_ontheroaddiscover Au vieux Paris d'Accord on the Explorest app

Blooming Landscapes

Although spring is known as the season where everything begins to bloom (like the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers), summer still offers a plethora of chances to shoot lush landscapes of vibrant florals.

Take the Johnston Ridge Observatory in Washington, for example. The eye-catching red and purple flowers create dimension and depth in the foreground of this stand-out shot of Mount St Helens. Without the flowers, it would still be a terrific image of the active volcano, but with the inclusion of the plants, it takes your photo to the next level.

Flowers are one of the easiest ways to add an element of summer to your photos and the best thing about them is that they can be found almost anywhere! If you can't make it to Washington, or other destinations that are featured in the app, take a walk around your neighborhood and see what you can find. We bet there are flowers hiding in plain sight, just waiting to be photographed this summer season.

Johnston Ridge Observatory view of Mount St Helens

credit: @ross_schramdiscover Johnston Ridge Observatory view of Mount St Helens on the Explorest app

Bastia from Rue Saint-Michel

credit: @a_ontheroad discover Bastia from Rue Saint-Michel on the Explorest app

Robert Irwin's Hornbeam Gardens at Dia:Beacon

credit: @ilitchpeters discover Robert Irwin's Hornbeam at Dia:Beacon on the Explorest app

Hiking Trails

If outdoor dining isn't adventurous enough for you, we recommend venturing out and exploring hiking trails to step up your photography game this summer. Along various paths, like Crouching Lion Hike in Hawaii or Watkins Glen Gorge in Upstate New York, seasonal hues of the grass, moss and trees will be viridescent as they're illuminated by the intense sun.

The best part about these trails is that in addition to getting active and breaking a sweat, you also get to take your images to the next level and photograph some of the most pristine landscapes in the world—just remember to keep The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace in mind. You always want to leave the location better than you found it so people can enjoy these spots for years to come.

Crouching Lion Hike

credit: @mattaleongdiscover Crouching Lion Hike on the Explorest App

Watkins Glen Gorge Trail

credit: @dane.isaacdiscover Watkins Glen Gorge Trail on the Explorest app

Waimoku Falls

credit: @kelsealohadiscover Waimoku Falls on the Explorest App

Aerial Views

One of the easiest ways to take your summer photos to the next level is to get some height! A drone will oftentimes do the trick, but you can also hike, ride in a helicopter, take the elevator to the top floor, or enjoy a gondola lift, depending on the place. From an aerial perspective, you can see key seasonal elements (e.g. turquoise waters, abundant greenery, bustling streets) that you wouldn't be able to capture from the ground floor.

It's hard to believe that @gmp3's tree-covered photo (see the second image below) was taken in New York City, but because the drone is able to fly so high, you get to have a clear view of the amazing juxtaposition of Central Park against the towering skyscrapers—a true concrete jungle that could only be seen from the sky.

Pro tip: If you decide to shoot with a drone, we always suggest checking the rules and regulations in the area. Don't fly the drone until you're clear on what's allowed and what isn't.

Honk Kong Island & Victoria Harbour from Jardine's Lookout

credit: @derryainsworthdiscover Hong Kong Island & Victoria Harbour from Jardine's Lookout on the Explorest App

Central Park & Upper East Side Skyline

credit: @gmp3discover Central Park & Upper East Side Skyline on the Explorest App

Secret Beach Cove

credit: @bdortsdiscover Secret Beach Cove on the Explorest App

If you're looking to step up your snaps, download the Explorest app today. We provide insider recommendations to help you capture your travels, near and far.