Summer Sprinkler Photos- My Favorite!

Learn how to take photos of your kids in the sprinkler

Summertime photos are some of my favorite pictures– sunlight, water, and fun are the essence of a great summer break and childhood! As the summer season is in full gear, I wanted to share a quick tutorial on how to get super cute photos of your kiddos playing in the sprinkler. This is a photo of my little man, Colin, having a great time in the water.

Learn how to take photos of your kids in the sprinkler with a DSLR camera, Krista Lee teaches you how to set your camera settings.


1- Sprinkler

1- Kiddo (or hey, no one is stopping you from frolicking through the water… just saying…;-))

1- Sunlit yard / safe area to play

1- DSLR camera, see settings below

Camera Settings:

  • Turn wheel on top of your camera to “M” for Manual mode.
  • File type either RAW or Large Jpeg (use RAW if you’re familiar with how to process a RAW file in Photoshop or Lightroom. If not, choose Large Jpeg 😉 )
  • ISO- let’s start with ISO 250 – Hit the ISO button, choose 250. If it’s cloudy out or you’re in the shade, try ISO 400. Consult your specific camera manual on how to dial this in if you do not have an ISO button.
  • Turn your aperture to as low of a number as your lens can go. For this photo I was at 2.8. Consult your specific camera manual if you don’t know how to dial your aperture to the correct setting.
  • Shutter speed – You will have to play around with this setting depending on how bright or cloudy it is out or how shady your lawn is. Try to be in the brightest part of your lawn in the sun- shade won’t photograph as well. Start with 1/800th of a second. Take a test shot. If your subject looks too dark, try 1/500th. Still too dark? Try 1/250th. Just don’t go below 1/250th as you will start to get blur. If it’s still too dark at 1/250th, change your ISO to 400. STILL too dark? Up your ISO to 800.

Notes about placement of the sprinkler:

These photos turn out the best when the sun is shining. Position yourself and the sprinkler so that you are facing slightly into the sunshine (for instance, in the photo of Colin above, the sun was about to go down behind the trees in the background and Colin’s back was to the sun.) Your kiddo, or subject, will face you, with the sun hitting their back 🙂 Back-lighting water always makes it super sparkly and pretty in photos! Just be sure that the sun is up in the sky a little or off to the side a bit, as you never want to look directly INTO the sun through your camera lens (looking into your lens directly at the sun – much like using a magnifying glass with the sun- could burn your retinas… So be careful!)

Now have fun! Have your subject run through the sprinkler and snap away (or if that is too hard to focus, try having them jump up and down in place!) You can also do this same thing using a slip and slide, etc.

photos of summer slip and slide

If you’d like to hear me talk through all of this in more detail, hop on the RLC youtube page here:

Krista Lee teaches camera settings and how to photograph a child in a sprinkler for fun summer photos.

Leave me a comment and show me how your photos turned out! You can hashtag #RealLifeCapturedSprinkler on Instagram, or show off your photos in our Facebook group!

water photos with DSLR canon camera, kiddos playing in the slip and slide

Don’t have a professional grade camera? There are many super affordable options out there – check out my post on buying a new or used camera here! 

🙂 Krista

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