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How to Deal with Hot Summer Photoshoots

With the heat of the summer in full sway, it’s easy to forget about safety. Photoshoots can be a hot and sweaty affair, and forgetting to take care of yourself – and your clients – can only make it worse. Don’t let the heat get to you: use our tips to ensure that you are still bright, refreshed, and shooting well even after a day in the hot sun!

Before the Shoot

Before you even start shooting, take these tips into account. There’s nothing more important than planning ahead of time!

  • Plan carefully – Do you really need to shoot in the heat of the sun? Talk to your clients about the possibility of shooting indoors, or even delaying their shoot until the weather gets a little cooler. It could be that you will get better results this way.
  • Choose your time – If you must shoot in the summer, the best time to do it is first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Not only is the lighting spectacular, but it’s also the coolest time. Don’t risk overheating by shooting at midday.
  • Stock up – Make sure that you take along a full hot-weather kit. This should include everything that you or your clients may need during the shoot (we’ll get to the details in a minute).
  • Drink up – Drink a bottle of water before you even go out. When you get thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Prevent things coming to that point by taking a good drink before you set off, and you’re in a good position to start with.
  • Dress accordingly – If you like to have a professional look when shooting, this may be time to relax your dress code a little. No one expects you to be wearing a full suit when shooting in the heat of summer – go for a shirt with the sleeves rolled up at the very least. Lighter colours will also help you to feel cooler, and choose fabrics like linen.
  • Change your hair – Male photographers should consider getting a haircut before summer shoots, to keep hair short and off the neck. For female photographers with long hair, consider putting it up and away from your neck as much as possible. This will help hugely.
  • Leave the pets – While a pet may be part of the family, they should be left at home during summer shoots. It’s just not fair to make them suffer through the heat, especially if you have a long-haired breed which will get hot even faster. Pets should only be included in a shoot if you are absolutely sure you can keep their body temperature at a sensible level.

During the Shoot

Even if you have done all your pre-shoot planning carefully, you still need to be very careful about what you do when you arrive to shoot. Don’t forget to make sure you are looking after yourself and your clients regularly.

  • Have a drink – And then another! Take several bottles of water with you so that you can hand them out, and try putting them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you leave to keep them as cool as possible.
  • Take a snack – You should also grab some snacks which you can use to keep yourself going, which can be all the more important on a hot and sweaty day. Fresh fruit are a good choice for refreshing you, and be sure to avoid salty snacks.
  • Cool yourself – Use your cool water bottles or icepacks to cool yourself down during the shoot. Press them against your wrist or neck for up to 30 seconds at a time to help your whole body feel a little better.
  • Use fans – While a small, battery-operated fan may not seem like much, they will definitely help when there’s hardly a breeze around. Ask your assistant to hold one up for you when you don’t need their help with anything else.
  • Get shade – Between shots, you should definitely be seeking out shade. If you have a picturesque area that offers shade, try this for your shots – it’s easier to get the exposure right when you aren’t in direct sunlight anyway, so the final images will look great.
  • Protect yourself – Make sure to put on sun cream regularly. The last thing that you want is to get a burn – or to have your clients getting increasingly more red in the face as the images progress. Also consider wearing a hat to protect your scalp, which is particularly vulnerable at the point where your hair parts.
  • Turn off the lights – You shouldn’t need to use lighting during a hot summer shoot, as the sun will give you all of the cover that you need. But if you normally would bring them anyway, try not to use them. Lighting can really turn up the heat for your clients or models, as they stand or sit in the direct glare of the lights. You don’t want that when the temperature is already uncomfortable!

After the Shoot

Finally, don’t think that you can go away from the shoot and not think about it anymore! You need to make sure that your body recovers from the stress of the heat and that you do not suffer any lingering effects.

  • Hydrate, again – Yes, we know, it’s boring, but you have to keep drinking water. If you get too dehydrated you could be at risk of all kinds of horrible side effects.
  • Use aftersun – Particularly if you think you might have caught the sun a little, use aftersun cream or moisturiser to keep your skin in good shape. This can prevent burns from leaving your skin dry and peeling.
  • Get cool – It’s a good idea to cool yourself down as soon as possible. If you have air conditioning in your car, turn it on for the drive home. When you get back, consider changing into cooler clothes, going for a cold shower, or turning the AC on there too. Make sure that your body is not still stressed out from the heat.

Have you ever suffered because you didn’t prepare well for a hot shoot? Let us know in the comments below.

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