20 Summer Photo Prompts to Capture Your Best Summer Yet

If you’re anything like me, you may sometimes look through your camera roll to see, well, hardly anything to show for all you and your family have been up to.

I get it. It takes a lot to get your bags packed and out the door with all the kiddos, let alone capture pictures of the kids running in all directions! So, to help you not let this summer go by without some beautiful nostalgia-inducing images, I’ve cultivated a list of summer photo prompts that will help you capture summer in a nutshell and help you remember some of the fun things you’ve done as a family!

Share some of the pictures you take on social media using our prompts below and the tag #ccmphotochallenge and we’ll share some of the images you’ve captured in our stories!

Also! We don’t want you to leave this post and forget all the incredible images you are going to take so we have a special surprise for you at the end, so don’t leave without scrolling through to see it!

Now, without further ado, here are the summer photo prompts to help you capture your best summer yet.

20 Images to Capture This Summer

1. Wheels

Whether your kids have been riding a bike or scooter for years, or this is the summer they try it out for the first time, look for the reactions of your kiddos as they zoom about. TIP: Get down low and take a picture looking up to capture the immensity of the moment or grab a GoPro and turn it around to capture the look on your kid’s face as they ride!

toddlers in helmets on back of bicycle, summer photo prompts

2. Tan Lines

Need I say more? Right before they hop into the bathtub, have your little one turn around so you can capture the lines on their upper torso created from the swimsuit they wore non-stop this summer. Other fun tan line ideas: focus on their face after swimming with goggles or their feet after a day wearing sandals.

3. Best Friends

Sure, summer is about sun, water, and freedom, but it is also about building relationships. Make sure to capture your little one with his/her friends to help them remember who their playmates were this summer.

3 little girls smiling in pool, summer photo prompts

4. The Mess/Meltdown

While sweet, smiling faces may be what makes up the majority of our camera roll, they aren’t an accurate picture of what life is always like at home. So, the next time one of your kiddos throw a tantrum or make a humongous mess, I want you to pause and take a picture before putting on your cape and rescuing the day because honestly, those “less-than-perfect” moments are necessary for us not to take ourselves seriously. TIP: Big messy pictures with the culprit or of a toddler in meltdown make GREAT blackmail later in life!

5. Splash

Whether you take this image in the bathroom, at the pool, your favorite splash pad, a rain puddle, or with water balloon, don’t be afraid to get close up to the action. TIP: You can always use a Ziplock bag over your phone to keep it dry while in the splash zone.

6. Fun at the Local Library

Whether taken between the shelves at the library, peeking over books, playing in the toy section, or while reading at home, there are a variety of ways you can show you had fun at the library this summer. TIP: Stretch those paparazzi muscles and try taking pictures from around the corner, or from less obvious places, to capture your child in the moment.

7. Look Up

Some of my favorite pictures of my kids on the playground are the ones in which I went in after them and caught some pictures of them looking down at me. This photo prompt doesn’t just apply to the playground though; you can, at any point, get down low and point your camera upwards to see a little more of your child’s view of the world (in the kitchen, your backyard, at church, etc.).

8. Naptime

Do your kids fall asleep in the car? On the couch or splayed out across the bed? Either way, this image of your little one fully relaxed will help you to remember how hard they crashed at the end of a successful activity. TIP: Try to take a bird’s eye view of your little one sleeping to get the full effect of their outstretched limbs.

9. Cold Treats

What says summer fun more than a cold treat on a hot day? For this photo I love to line up my kiddos side-by-side and capture them enjoying all that sweet goodness at once. TIP: Zoom in and focus on the sweet, sticky melted treat running down their hand or faces.

2 little girls smiling eating popsicles, summer photo prompts

10. Farmer’s Market

If you haven’t been yet, you are in for a treat! There is so much for your kids to see, smell, hear, and touch, they won’t know where to begin. TIP: Focus on their reactions, take a picture from their point of view, or capture their interaction with the stand owner. Either way this will be a moment you won’t want to miss capturing. Check out our roundup of Collin County Farmers Markets here.

11. Golden Hour/Silhouettes

This is the hour after the sun rises and the hour right before it sets, during which the sky is awash in pink. At this time, daylight is at its softest and most magical. TIP: Keep your children between you and the sun to have some incredible back-lit images to share.

12. Watermelon or Corn on the Cob

One of the most beloved fruits (and vegetables) of summer! Treat your child to a larger- than-life slice and focus in on the juicy reactions as they eat this summer delight. TIP: Take pictures from the side as well as the front as the dig in. If your watermelon has seeds, all the better for fun and silly photos.

13. Bedhead

Some of our kids have bedhead not just in the morning but all day long. It’s one of the simple joys of a kid not having to worry about doing their hair first thing in the morning during the summer. TIP: My favorite angle is eye-level for these. I especially love to capture those cooky curls and silly strands while my kids are just sitting down to a bowl of cereal.

14. Jump

At the pool, on the sidewalk, or coming off the swings, our kids LOVE to jump! Capture this impressive movement mid-air and your kids will be super impressed with your photography skills!

child being launched by dad in pool, summer photo prompts

15. Bare Feet or Flip Flops

The main reason for this one is because tiny toes are ridiculously cute! In all seriousness, a picture of a barefoot kid in the grass, mud, or sand instantly brings us back to those textural sensations when we were kids. TIP: Get down. Focus on the feet and have the rest of their body cropped out of the image. Feet in motion are always fun, but if you have more than one kiddo, having them all come together and make a symmetrical shape with their feet is fun, too (circle, triangle, parallel lines).

16. Tiny Treasures

If you have a child who likes to collect things when you’re out and about, you’re probably used to finding their pockets brimming with little treasures. If you don’t want to bring all of that nature home, next time try offering to take a picture of all the things they’ve collected in their outstretched hands, then leave those items for someone else to find. Win-win! This idea can also be applied to summer artwork, bugs, or flowers and produce from the garden. TIP: Get up close and capture just the treasure in their hands or have them bring the item up by their face so you can see their proud expression in the photo along with the items.

17. Bubbles

This is one of my favorite activities with my little ones; their faces always light up when we do this together. TIP: To help make this image one to keep forever, try to focus on the reaction of your little ones while the bubbles are being blown. Keep the focus on their face but keep the bubbles in the frame to make it truly magical.

child in highchair reaching for bubbles, summer photo prompts

18. The Fair/Outdoor Concert

Capture how their faces light up as they walk up to a ride or their dancing figures to the music. TIP: I love a profile shot when there are fun bright lights shining about. Taking a picture of their profile will create a halo effect around them, without the distraction of a bunch of colors running across their face.

19. Underwater

You can purchase a disposable underwater camera at Walmart for less than $15. These waterproof phone bags are even cheaper. If you haven’t done it before, I definitely recommend taking a chance and capturing some of the fun of playing at the pool under the surface! TIP: You will get the best images if you use it only on really bright and sunny days. Also, make sure to have extra adults watching your kids or pass the camera to your kiddos as it’s difficult to take pictures while also keeping an eye on them.

20. Mom

Don’t let the summer go by without capturing a full image of yourself. Hand the phone over to your husband, a friend, or even one of your kids to capture a photo of you doing one, or if you’re feeling ambitious, ALL of the prompts above. REMEMBER: These pictures aren’t just for you or social media, they’re for your family to look back on and they will WANT to see you how you spent this summer too.

mom and kids smiling on the shore

Now for the surprise you’ve been waiting for! Below you’ll see I’ve included an easy infographic that you can save to your phone to help you remember all the different types of images to capture this summer. You’ll notice a special hashtag on the infographic, too: #ccmphotochallenge. Share this image on social media, along with your own interpretation of these prompts and the tags #ccmphotochallenge & #thecollincountymoms to have your images featured in our Instagram Stories!

About the Author:

Sarah Mae is the owner of Photography of Sarah Mae and a local Collin County mom. Sarah Mae got her start in professional photography shooting weddings in Southern Indiana. Originally from Mesa, Arizona, Sarah has lived in Florida, Utah, Indiana, and now Texas. Sarah’s motto is: “A photo shoot is more than just taking pictures; it’s about having fun and creating memories.” Her one claim to fame is winning a dance video contest on Instagram with hundreds of submissions. Her winning dance video had over 10k views back in the day before #reels.

Need fun places to take some of these photos? Check out our Collin County Guide to Summer for tons of inspo!