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Temperatures are soaring in the western US. Californians are dealing with heat over 103 degrees in the south. Last weekend’s temperatures soared to over 90 in normally cool Seattle. Except for the southern hemisphere it’s Hot! Hot! in many places. Articles and posts on how to stay cool or protection from the sun proliferate, as do adverts for air conditioning, water parks and beach gear.

The goal of ‘it’s REALLY hot’ images is to show either the misery that heat can bring or how to seek relief from the weather. Heat is like our previous topics of wind and noise: an invisible element that it is your challenge to make visible. It might be boiling outside while you are shooting but unless heat is evident in your image, the viewer won’t understand why you picked the keywords “heat” or ‘hot” for the image. (The only exception might be a cool day in the desert. After all a desert looks hot even when its not). It’s a must to have a blazing sun the image if your goal is to depict a blazing hot day in a landscape.

Your models need to display hot weather actions such as fanning or wiping their brow. Models that are too hot need to have expressions of exhaustion or look like they will collapse from the heat. Spray models with a thin film of water to give sheen to the skin or use oil. I looked for an image of someone with his or her bare feet in a tub of ice or other use of ice to cool off, as that is easy to prep. Only found one. I also looked for a water gun fight but found none. (That is a sure way to get cool and to have fun at the same time).

Electric fans don’t look like they are cooling anything unless they are on. And better yet, put a person in front of the fan. I used the image here from Stockbroker once before but it is just the best image in the collection to show the cooling effects of an electric fan on a person. The expression is one of relief and the added effect of the model’s hair adds the illusion of reality to the image.

Suburban kids run through the garden sprinkler and their city cousins open fire hydrants. Everyone should be putting on sun screen and drinking lots of water. If shooting a water park, avoid signage that identifies the park. Expressions and body language need to be exaggerated when showing relief from the heat as in the image of the girl in the sprinkler.

Keyword tips: don’t use “hot’ or heat unless the image relays that feeling even if it was hotter than blazes while you were shooting. And although some may use winter scenes when they are speaking of respite from hot weather, do not use ‘hot’ on snowy scenes. Never use opposites in keywording.


Kids running through an open fire hydrant

Kids and adults in garden sprinklers

Water gun fights

Water balloon fights

Belly flop into home swimming pool.

Blazing sun in shot with model in swim suit, big hat, sunglasses and drinking an iced drink

Model against blue sky against a colorful building. Spray with a water bottle to give sheen to the skin

Sweat! We have few images of sweat stains except on runners. It may be a nasty idea but it certainly gets across the idea. Spray the model’s t-shirt with water around the neck and arms.


Very crowded beach

Everyone screams for ice cream

Adult in beach chair with feet in kiddy pool



Straw hat


Water bottle with labels removed

Spray bottle


Sunscreen cream (cream so that it will be visible)


Electric fan


Ice cream cone (bonus: you can eat the prop!)

Photo credits: , Aleksandr Avseyev, Monika Olszewska, Cheryl Casey, Edward J Bock 111, Simone Van Den Berg, Amy Walters, Raymond Kasprzak, Striver, Anton Ovcharenko.

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July 28, 2008


Great! Love the beach chair one especially.

July 28, 2008


My "hot" images approved!
 Summer vector 
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Thanks again. I have more that 600 images online and sometimes it's difficult finding new stock ideas!

July 11, 2008


I'm just uploaded some children on the beach... Thanks for the tip!
The red girl by pixelbrat: it's a great photo! How expressive!

July 03, 2008


I started a collection of "Wet Children" since we love to play in the water but I see I need to expand it somewhat!! Think I'll go jump in now------------

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