outdoor summer shoot ideas

Summertime is the perfect time to mix up your online video marketing strategy by venturing into the great outdoors! Whether you are making a video just to “check in” with your audience, offering a special summer deal to your customers, or taking advantage of a beautiful outdoor backdrop, occasionally filming outdoors is a great way to introduce a little fun into your brand!

Earlier in the year, we went over several outdoor filming considerations. So, review that post, make sure you packed everything you will need to shoot, and head straight to any of these outdoor locations!

Backyard

You might not even have to go far to get some great outdoor summer footage. Your backyard could be just the place for macro shots of flowers or leaves, or backyard barbecue scenes.

The big advantage is you have a lot of control over the goings-on in your own backyard. You can easily bring props outside, set the stage, and even control lighting. Not to mention, you probably have a readily available power source, so running out of battery juice is less of a concern.

Don’t have a big backyard? Find a friend that does!

Beach

The sun, sand, and surf are classic summer scenes sure to captivate your audience. Film seabirds in flight, families picnicking or playing in the waves (with permission), and other classic beach-y activities.

Sunrise and sunset are particularly captivating times to be on the ocean. Something about the dramatic colors and clouds on the horizon inspires a range of emotions.

For even more drama, try filming underwater (with waterproof gear of course!) on a day when the surf is clear. The view of the waves from below, and the light dappling through the water, can make for some marvelous footage.

Lake

Lakes are perfect for boating, kayaking, and playing on rafts. Lake beaches are often crowded in the summer, so pack your bug repellent and hike around the water until you find a more secluded spot.

The calm surface is also an excellent place to capture reflections, ripples, and other soothing scenes.

Porch

Again, you don’t have to go far to capture great footage outdoors in the summertime. Think of cold, icy beverages sweating in the heat, a fan pushing humid air around, and kids riding by on bicycles.

Your front porch might be the perfect place to film a sunny neighborhood in motion.

Park

Public parks are idyllic spaces for all sorts of activities. If you’re in a city, they might be your best bet for an outdoor summer shoot. Just make sure you have the proper permissions before setting up your shoot, as regulations vary for each locale!

The mix of nature and people having fun outside, especially in contrast with an urban environment, can provide powerful b-roll for a variety of projects.

Barn

Does anyone else think of rustic weddings when they think of summer? Pretty dresses and a charming rural backdrop make barnyards great spaces for film projects.

Chase chickens around the yard, film a lazy barn cat in a sunny spot, or feed some carrots to horses for classic rustic footage.

Sports Field

School might be out of session, but you can bet your bottom dollar that sports are still underway! Head to a local park or athletic field to capture the action. Bonus points if you are able to do so during the golden hour, when everything takes on a more dramatic hue.

On a Boat

Is it even summer if you don’t set foot on a boat? Naturally, you’ll have to take extra steps to safeguard your gear over the water. But, boats are great for capturing footage of waves, birds on the water, or just drifting around to different spots.

Pool

Grab your waterproof camera and cannonball! It almost feels refreshing to watch footage of a person diving into a clear blue pool.

Pools are also perfect for playing games, pushing people in (safely, of course), and other classic summer activities.

Waterfall

You might have to take a hike, but waterfalls are just beautiful in the sun. Capture misty air floating through a sunbeam, or the drama of water crashing down from above. Get a brave soul to take a refreshing dip under the waterfall on camera, if you can.

Garden

Manicured lawns, perfect roses, and statues or water fountains all come to mind when thinking of stately gardens. Cute benches are perfect places for dialogue, and unexpected birds or insects can make for great b-roll.

Use plants to frame your shots to add extra dimension to your visuals.

Playground

You’ll likely need special permissions to film at a playground, or, bring your own kids! The peals of laughter, sports, and other sounds will help transport your audience to their own fond childhood memories.

Railroad Tracks

Safety first! It’s best to film on abandoned tracks, since trains pose a clear danger to you or your subjects when filming. Use extreme caution if attempting to film on or near an active railway.

Still, train tracks evoke drama, and can symbolize transitions for characters. They can be powerful imagery to use in a film.

Trail

Hiking is one of the top summer activities, and no wonder. You can hit the trail, spot different animals and birds, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise to boot.

Pick a hike to a renowned vantage point, and film the journey to the peak. Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy up!

Abandoned Factory

Just like the train tracks, be very cautious when investigating this type of location. Structures might be unstable, and there’s probably a rusty nail or two. Even if it looks abandoned, it might be private property, so do your homework thoroughly.

It could be worthwhile, however, since derelict industrial sites can be inspirational places to film. Light streaming in through dusty windows, empty, overgrown lots, and other scenes of broken promises can jolt the emotions of your audience.

Boardwalk

On a much more fun note, the boardwalk is packed with great scenes to film. From teenagers screaming on carnival rides, to fluffy cotton candy and twinkling lights, boardwalks are alive day and night.

Being in the midst of the action is a great way to get some interesting footage. Take a few steps back to capture the whole scene to help provide context and show the scale of the boardwalk.

Town Square

Depending on where you live, the center of town can have a pleasant hustle and bustle in the summer. Farmer’s markets, playgrounds, outdoor dining, and courthouse weddings are all events that might catch your camera’s eye.

Festival

Music festivals are the soundtrack of summer. And for good reason! Everyone puts on their chicest outfits, and heads out to party day and night.

Find a fun festival, and capture people dancing, sipping beverages, and having a great time. Depending on the type of production you are undertaking, you may need permission from the organizers first!

Riverfront

The French Riviera comes immediately to mind. Think people picnicking, sharing wine, and idly watching the water drift by.

Look for dramatic reflections, stone bridges, and waterfront restaurants to heighten the interest in your shots.

Campsite

Naturally, summertime is a perfect time to go camping in the great outdoors. Think grilling, fire pits, toasting marshmallows, fishing, and other classic outdoor summer activities.

Camping is an excellent backdrop for a variety of films, although horror movies certainly come to mind!

Stadium

The roar of the crowds, the athletic triumph and loss, the vendors… Stadiums are packed with action.

Grab a lightweight camera to make it easier to mix with the crowds. Make sure you have permission to film if it’s a professional sporting event!

Abandoned Street

If you need a sense of drama, foreboding, or despair, abandoned streets are the perfect place to film. Boarded up houses, rusted fire hydrants, and overgrown lots can all contribute to the visuals in your film.


Where are your favorite places to film outdoors? Share them with us here, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted June 12, 2013

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