With autumn almost here (where, exactly, did summer go?) I thought it would be a great time to offer up some tips for grabbing the best fall photos. So, when you venture out this season to grab some brightly colored autumn imagery, keep this in mind:
1. Shoot during good light — we’ve been talking about his for the last couple weeks, so I’m not going to get too detailed. Suffice to say that the warm colors of sunrise / sunset really enhance the already “warm” colors of the leaves. Plus, you can’t beat sunrise light on a frosty fall morning.
2. Get a polarizer — Consider purchasing a polarizer lens filter if you shoot with a camera. This filter removes reflections from shiny surfaces (like eaves).
See, although they don’t look it, leaves always seem to have a bit of a shine to them. This shine masks the color. When you slap on a polarizer, it eliminates a lot of this reflection and allows the true color of the leaves to dazzle your CMOS sensor (not to mention it produces ridiculously blue skies).
3. Keep an eye on the color — This is really the biggest factor. Keep an eye on how the color is coming along in your area—you want to shoot during peak color and that generally only lasts for a few days. Try to keep a flexible schedule when you know it’s getting close so you’ll have time to go out and grab some of that great color for yourself.
4. Include interesting subjects – A lot of folks just shoot colorful trees this time of year. I like to try and find an interesting subject and include it in the photograph. You know, a waterfall, barn, deer, the ranger from the park telling you not to drive your truck through that protected field—whatever. Try using the fall color to enhance what’s already an interesting composition.
5. Single out color – If a colorful tree (or group of trees) is your main subject, try to single it out in the composition. Try to crop and compose in such a way that it’s obvious to your viewer what the subject is. I see far too many fall photos of trees off in the distance. The better you can see the leaves, the better the picture. Heck, even a photo of a single leaf can be impressive if done right.
6. Keep a camera in the car — If you use a separate camera instead of a phone for photography, make sure to keep it in the car with you. This time of year, a great photo can be found anywhere.