There's something about summer shadows I love. I think it has to do with the heat of the season and the way that a shadow hints at shade, so it evokes the entire spectrum of summertime emotions. Plus, there's a certain color to a shadow in the summer that lets you know it's not an autumn or a winter shadow.
Here are a few summer-shadow photos mixed with a few tips for photographing shadows:
Look for shapes that relate the season. Here, the shadow of a soccer goal post screams "summer" to me:
Develop the story in your photo by paying attention to what's in the background. In this picture, the shadow the net makes is interesting, but the water in the background lets you know it's not a typical basketball hoop:
Watch the direction you shoot from. You can photograph a shadow so that the sun is behind you (try to keep your own shadow out of the picture in that case!), in front of you, or from the side. Each angle gives a different result.
Pay attention to where your focal point is. You can focus on the object or on the shadow itself—each one gives a unique feel to your photo.
Consider exactly what to include in the photo—just the shadow itself, or part (or all) of the object casting the shadow?
Up the contrast when you process your pictures. This helps enhance the lines of the shadows.
Time of day will change the feel of your shadows. The light is a different color in the morning versus the evening, and shadows are longer at those times. in the middle of the day, shadows are short.
Get an "action" shot by focusing on a shadow while the subject is moving. This might take some practice shots; change your camera settings to "Action" or "Sports" mode, take a fast series, then pick the best one.
Try taking a self-portrait of your own shadow (this is about the only way I'll allow a photo of me in a swimsuit to be taken!) Or hand your camera off to your kids and challenge them to take some shadow portraits. Watch for items that cast interesting shapes. And have fun! I think you'll enjoy this challenge, no matter the season!