Autumn is a great time to get out with your camera. This magical season brings an array of attractive photography conditions including wonderful morning mist, dramatic light and a palette of changing colors. Capturing the colors of autumn is high on the bucket list of many landscape photographers and it is the favourite season for nature photographers in pursuit of the perfect fall photo. To help you get the best photos possible during this popular season read on to consider some fundamental points:
1. Find a suitable subject
With the right approach, you can achieve some of your best scenic autumn shots.
The first thing to think about is what subject you are going to shoot. There are a number of great subjects that vie for your attention including scenes of vibrant landscapes, a tree, leaves or water and the landscape. These subjects are suitable because they show the true spirit of autumn and the best of the season when the leaves change color and become more intense.
Other ideas for subjects include capturing a building, landmark, footpath or bridge within a colorful landscape. Combining these elements with fall foliage illustrate the season beautifully.
Don’t limit yourself to shooting on bright and sunny days. Overcast conditions are also great for recording subtle, even tones as the light is soft with less contrast. Rivers are particularly enticing to shoot when there is cloud cover, particularly when adding warmth with autumn colors.
Location is everything when it comes to achieving your best autumn pictures. You could focus a photography vacation around the colors of autumn, or spend a day or two chasing the season’s hues.
Some of the best regions in the world include New England and the Colorado Rockies. Whilst some countries such as the UK are not renowned for their autumn splendor, there are many parks, woodlands, and areas of outstanding natural beauty that you can visit for a shoot.
4. Shoot a wide view
One great way to document the autumn colors is to capture a wider field of view. Photographing trees as part of a larger landscape, using colorful leaves in the background or to frame your subject works really well. This approach gives a more visually interesting image than a picture of a building or landmark on its own. It also helps tell the viewer the time of year the photo was created.
5. Isolate patterns of color
Another technique is to shoot the colors of autumn in isolation. Beautiful shades of red, yellow, brown and orange can look great. Look out for patterns amongst leaves which could include single and complementary colors or interesting shapes. By focussing your lens towards a particular section of a forest canopy or an attractive collection of leaves, you can add order and impact to your images whilst creating some visually pleasing results.
6. Use backlight
A great technique to use when shooting fall foliage is to shoot directly towards the sun. Shooting into the light can result in stunning images as the backlit leaves of autumn glow and reflect the vibrant colors. Be aware of flare when using backlight and shooting into the sun. By partially shielding the sun behind a tree it can help to reduce any unwanted flare.
7. Shoot with sidelight
Another way to shoot autumn is to use sidelight to your advantage. Capture the canopy of colors side-on to the angle of the sun. The complementary colors of oranges and yellows combined with a blue sky can work very well together. The warmer tones from the foliage offset the coolness of a blue sky perfectly.
8. Look down
When exploring wonderful scenes of autumn color, it is easy to forget to look down. Don’t be disheartened if the trees are bare and the leaves have all fallen; you can still capture the colors of autumn on the ground. This is evident in late autumn when the forest floor is as colorful as the treetops. Depending on the type of tree, there are often varying elements of fall color from these leaves, which are definitely worth photographing.
9. Fog and mist
Finally, incorporate any signs of fog and mist into your autumn photos. These dramatic conditions can lift a picture by adding a touch of mood, atmosphere, and mystery to a colorful scene. Capture the morning mist rising from a lake, a forest cloaked in fog or subtle mist over a city or landscape for a visually stunning element that will improve any autumnal scene.
How to capture the colors of autumn in your photography: conclusion
Autumn is an awesome time of the year to be out with your camera capturing beautiful photos, particularly when exploring locations in search of color. So grab your camera and get out to your nearest park or woodland. Enjoy the autumn and see what you can create.
What other tips do you have to photograph the colors of autumn? Share with us in the comments and share your autumn images too!