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12 Ways To Capture The Colors Of Fall

Fall is in nearing full force in the Northern Hemisphere. That means a beautiful display of reds, oranges and yellows is now sweeping across the globe and it’s time to grab your camera to capture the beauty!

Below are some suggestions for how to capture the magnificent colors that are popping out. While a shot of a tree has its place, think of these other ways you can show the autumnal spectacular in photos.

Get Close

Image: Copyright JustyCinMD

Copyright JustyCinMD

One leaf or two. Just a few. Is all it takes to show the beauty of the season. A treeful might be appealing to you, but show us a single leaf and the beauty of its shape all alone.

Go Wide

Image: Copyright emmett.hume

Copyright emmett.hume

Grab your 10mm or 16mm lens and head into the forest. No need to pick just one when you can pick them all! Be careful to try to avoid too much sky (if it is not a nicely contrasting blue) or fringing will happen.


Image: Copyright DannyBen

Copyright DannyBen

If you live in an area with great Fall colors you are more than familiar with the onslaught of “leaf peepers” that descend on your town this time of year. And with good reason! The idyllic towns, from New Hampshire hamlets to German villages are a quintessential partner to fall colors.


Image: Copyright Phil Roeder

Copyright Phil Roeder

Don’t forget to include some humans in your photos. Too often we concentrate on the leaves and colors and don’t places people in the frame. They’re part of the story too!


Image: Copyright h.koppdelaney

Copyright h.koppdelaney

Before the advent of leaf-blowers, there was a time honored tradition of raking leaves into a pile. They would then be scooped up or burned or otherwise disposed off.


Image: Copyright thesullys

Copyright thesullys

It’s what leaves do this time of year but is is often hard to catch in action. In this example a willing participant was quite helpful in providing the altitude for some leaf falling. Be creative. Look for a branch ready to unleash its load and give it a nudge with a camera on a tripod and see what comes of it.

Back Lit

Image: Copyright Zach Dischner

Copyright Zach Dischner

Show the colors of the leaf as only the sun can do. Spot metering helps in this case to ensure the image is not too far blown out.


Image: Copyright Pink Sherbet Photography

Copyright Pink Sherbet Photography

Kids love leaves and playing in them. You just about don’t have to do anything buy sit back and let them do their thing. It works best if you have them also rake the leaves. 🙂


Image: Copyright . Andrew Dunn .

Copyright . Andrew Dunn .

Depending on the year, cold snaps can leave interesting patterns on the leaves that already have interesting patterns. Get up a little early on a few morning to see what frost can do for your Autumn images.


Image: Copyright Ian Muttoo

Copyright Ian Muttoo

I look at this picture and I just want to melt into it. A path, a trail, a road (as in the example below). Any thing with direction to help the viewer meander through the image and soak it all in.

Winding Road

Image: Copyright joiseyshowaa

Copyright joiseyshowaa


Image: Copyright Peter Rivera

Copyright Peter Rivera

Lastly; countryside. It’s all around but often hard to find an image where all the leaves are turning at the same time. Look for confined areas or areas with the same type of tree. And go out after the “season is done” to find those leaves scattered on rocks, lake shores and down a trail. They all tell a story of the endless march of time.

Your Turn

Let’s see your leaf pictures! Post a link in the comments section below, please.

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Peter West Carey
Peter West Carey

leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

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