Summer Instagram Picture Ideas + Tips

I once took a quiz to find out what Starbucks drink I was (#basic) and one of the questions asked if I ate my food right when I got it or if I proceeded to take 20 minutes to take an Instagram picture of it……..

…….I’ll let you decide which answer I selected.

summer instagram picture ideas, tumblr inspired

It’s no secret that I love Instagram. I love taking pictures, I love editing them all to match each other, and I love meeting new gal pals on the app.

Around summer time I get really pumped for summer Instagram themes and bright, colorful pictures because – hello – don’t have to take pictures of me studying anymore! It’s a time to channel your inner Tumblr girl and make your pictures as fun as Instagram’s new logo.

Not sure what to post or how to get amazing photos that will boost engagement? Let’s chat.

Oh and a quick note – Not all photos in this post are mine, but a few of my favorite Instagram gals gave me permission to use their summer snaps! Be sure to check them out. 

summer instagram photo ideas

Love this gorgeous picture from @toriparmer ! (And you can visit her blog here.)

Give in to the summer antics

If the swan pool float is on sale then why not do it for the gram? I’m not saying you need to go on a shopping spree for 3 Triangl bikinis and pineapple print everything, but if it’s in your budget to go grab something from Michael’s that’s cutesy and serves a great summer purpose (a pool float, beach towel, drink koozie, etc.) then it’s a win-win situation. Your summer Instagram feed will be on point and you’ll have a total treat yourself moment.

summer instagram picture, tumblr inspired summer instagram pictures

Grab inspiration and use it as a guide

There are tons of posts out there on how to create a beautiful Instagram feed, and most of them will advise you to peruse Pinterest and Tumblr for inspiration. This totally helps me get photo ideas, but I think what really pushes me to capture the right shot is when I save the images on my phone so I can refer to them as I take a photo. The cute summer sandals in the air shot is harder than it looks! I had to stare at a Tumblr image while sprawled out on the floor to direct me just how to angle it.

Sounds like a lot of work, but hey, do it for the – ok….I really need to stop saying “do it for the gram.” I’m embarrassing.


image via @cathslagle (visit her blog here!)

Curate the perfect summer Instagram caption

I’m not one to sit on my phone for 15 minutes thinking of the perfect Instagram caption, but I’ve definitely seen a few friends of mine do this. It’s so funny how a little app makes us second guess every exclamation point and emoji use!

My advice, especially with Instagram’s new algorithm, is to create a caption that yields engagement. You don’t want to just say “this dress is so comfy!” beneath a picture of your favorite new maxi because what can people really say to that? You’ve created a “.” where a “?” should be. Ask your audience – “What’s your go-to summer outfit?” or “Have you tried out the maxi dress trend? What are your thoughts?”

Of course, you don’t have to do this on every photo. A clever Drake lyric or witty quote about mimosas will always get a double tap and a smile.


image via @cathslagle

Stage your photos like you’re Joanna Gaines and this Fixer Upper is about to be revealed

If I’ve learned anything through my time of actively using Instagram to build my brand and gain a following it’s that cute Instagram pictures do not just happen.

The papers and coffee cup on my desk do not magically arrange themselves photogenically in the perfect natural light. That #ootd was not just “snapped” as you were running out the door to run some errands. It takes a few minutes, several angles, and possibly even a groan or two from your #instagramboyfriend or #instagramhusband.

Scenario: I’m unpacking all my boxes of crap from college and I realize that it’s a total photo op. My mess of stuff is not Instagram-worthy until I give it a bit of tweaking. I turn off the overhead lights, open my window for optimal lighting, move a few boxes, snap a few pics, and then try out a whole other arrangement until I like what I’ve captured. It only takes a few minutes – don’t be afraid to devote time to your pics!

Keep your eyes peeled

My favorite times to snap Instagram pictures in the summer are while I’m running errands or already 10 minutes late to walk out the door, haha.

The grocery store always has the cutest flower arrangements and I also find it fun to snap an up-close and personal picture of colorful fruit.

As I’m getting ready to head out for a date night or a movie with my mom, I’ll sometimes lay out my outfit and accessories and get in a good shot.

Moral of the story: always keep your phone charged and your eyes open. You never know when a great photogenic meal will be placed in front of you. The best pictures don’t always just happen, but if you are on the lookout for them, you can make them happen.

summer instagram pictures, tumblr summer pictures

Have fun with it

Pool water. Perfectly manicured fingers that look like little seashells. Smores by a campfire. A great, floppy sunhat. Summer is the optimal time for those cheeky photos that will brighten people’s day when they pop up on their Instagram feed.

Feeling inspired now? Great! I’d love to check out your summer Instagram pictures, so leave your username in the comments below! 



  • This is great, because I’m not going to lie, I get all of my inspiration from other pictures. Great round up!

    Sara Kate Styling

  • I really fell in love with Instagram lately! Not that I have an amazing feed or anything haha, but I’m really enjoying taking pictures & sharing little squares of my life at the moment 🙂 This was a great inspiration & I can’t wait for fun & colorful summer pictures now! x

    Sara / AboutLittleThiings

  • Amy

    These are great tips! I have to work on my captions on Instagram, I have always have a brain fart when it comes to that! Love the tip on asking a question. Definitly going to give these a try this summer! (:
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  • This is so great! I definitely need to up my instagram game, so I’ll make sure to follow your tips! Your pictures are gorgeous!

    Amelie |

  • Olivia

    Great tips! I’m always so jealous of bloggers who catch pics like this. Half the time I forget to have my phone out!
    Miss Olivia Says

  • These are such great tips! The nice weather provides lots of fun ideas 🙂

  • Great tips!! Thanks for sharing!! Xo, Alex

  • Tamara

    Lovely post!


    Tamara –

  • Love the hand with sand! So cute!

    Laura B. |

  • But really…..don’t we all do it for the gram?! Haha
    Kayla || Keynotes from Kay

  • I read this post this morning when you published it and loved it! I shared it today in my newsletter. Keep up the great work gf!

    Kayla |

  • I feel like my IG game could use new inspiration lately so this post was definitely much needed!

    xoxo A

  • Ashley

    This is a fabulous round-up of instagram ideas!! Thank you so much for sharing these! I feel like I have some ideas for this summer!

    xo Ashley

  • Such a fun idea for a post! I’m glad to know I’m not the only weirdo out there who researches Instagram content ideas before traveling, events, etc.! Haha

  • Such an amazing post! I will definitely be using some of them!

  • Elana

    Love this! I really like taking pictures by a pool 🙂

  • So many fun ideas! I have a running list of photos I want to try to get over the summer.

  • I love this! I am TOTALLY that person who loses her mind over every single exclamation point and emoji when it comes to Instagram. These are so great ideas, totally going to put these to good use.

  • Definitely feeling inspired! I’ll have to work on my caption game and think of what theme I’d like to start using this summer!

  • Love all the tips and tricks. I’m definitely looking forward to some great instragram pics this summer.

  • This is great!! Thank you so much for the inspiration 🙂


  • I’m always saying “do it for the Insta!” So no need to stop saying it. I always find it funny. If you want to check out my Instagram me username is: @CattyElizabeth5

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