Take all the lighting tips, all the posing tips, all the retouching tips, all the business tips and put them away in a file folder in your brain. It’s summertime. Just go have some fun, and maybe even make a picture while you do it.

No directing!

Have you ever been to one of those “team-building” meetings where all the activities are planned and scheduled? It’s like they’ve put ‘fun’ on the schedule, and this is when you will have it. That doesn’t work — it’s the in-between times that are the most fun, the unscheduled, undirected stuff.

“Oh, no! I cut off her feet! The picture is worthless and I can never share it with anyone or enjoy it for the fun moment it was!” Put this kind of thought out of your mind and go have fun.

When you’re out with friends and family, don’t direct the play. Don’t direct the poses. Just be there, having fun, and if there’s a good opportunity, make a picture. Resist the urge to tell kids what to do. If you miss the shot, tough luck, wait for the next one.

Be creative and be present

With so many activities in the summer, there will be lots of opportunities to make creative pictures. But it’s more important to be present. I use my Spider Holster so my camera is always on-hand and that lets me capture a moment in the moment and not have to stop the play to go get my camera. If you’ve got your camera handy you’ll be able to grab those creative moments and still be involved with the fun.

Don’t deliver

You’re having fun, not working for a client. Don’t deliver pictures. Heck, don’t even look at them until you’re ready. Share them if you like, maybe on Facebook. The best way to share these pictures, though, is to make some prints and give them out. When you hand a kid a photo of themselves, they are really surprised and treasure it. They see pictures all the time on phones, but a tangible picture is very novel and valuable. If you can’t deliver in person, have it drop shipped. Costco will ship a picture for free. It cost less than $1 to send a 5×7, but it’s worth a million bucks to surprise a friend with a printed photograph.

Just go summer

‘Summer’ should be a verb. It should mean taking time to have fun and be present. Put your camera on your hip and go summer with friends and family. Share a picture when the whimsy hits you, but just be present and make a photo.

Portrait Tips come out each week, and you can see them all right here.