Autumn Photography Tips

autumn photography - trees reflecting off water

Autumn (fall) Photography

Autumn has arrived! For photographers, it’s one of the most colorful and photogenic seasons of the year. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner photographer, or a seasoned professional, almost anyone can capture the season’s rich warm colors and tones.

If you’re fortunate to live in New England or the Northeast, you’re probably enjoying some of the best fall foliage in the United States. Regardless of where your live, autumn photography offers ample opportunities to capture the seasons changing colors.

10 Autumn Photography Tips

We put together a list of 10 tips to help you get the most of your autumn photography experience.

1. Planning

Before you load up your camera gear and head out on a road trip in search of the perfect shooting location, you probably want to have a good idea where you’re going to capture all those spectacular fall colors. If you don’t have specific destinations in mind, do a little research in advance so you can spend more time capturing images instead of location scouting. One idea is to search by location in Flickr or Google for ideas and inspiration.

Autumn photography - Red covered bridge and autumn leaves.

2. White Balance

Be sure to set the white balance before you shoot using a color temperature meter. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on an expensive hand-held light and color temperature meter, try a smartphone app.

Smartphone white balance apps are surprisingly accurate and VERY affordable. Check out White Balance Meter By Jonathan Zdziarski (for iOS) or White Balance Color Temp Meter (for Android).

3. Composition

Remember the rule of thirds in photography and be sure the horizon does not run through the center of your image. To create a sense of perspective, include an object of interest in the foreground like a log, large stone, or a plant.

Keep an eye out for barns, bridges, churches, hillsides, tree-lined streets and roads, rivers and streams. Use the lines and curves of roads, paths, rivers and streams  in the foreground to lead the viewer to the subject in the background.

4. Reflections

Add a little creative flair to autumn photography by using reflections from water. Creeks, lakes, rivers, and ponds offer opportunities to reflect fall colors. Still waters from a tranquil lake can produce a stunning mirror like reflection.

Don’t limit yourself to perfectly still water. Running waters can also reflect autumn colors by creating abstract patterns.

5. Close-ups

Use your marco setting or a telephoto lens to capture stunning details of the trees and leaves.

autumn photography - close up of colorful leaves.

6. Depth of Field

Selecting the optimal aperture in landscape photography depends largely upon your lens and the composition of your shot. For most landscape shots, aim to get the entire scene in focus by using a smaller aperture like f11 or f16. These apertures will give you the greatest depth of field.

TIP: Avoid using the maximum setting (like f22) because most lenses are not at their maximum sharpness when using minimum or maximum apertures (1.4 to f22).

7. ISO Setting

To capture those stunning autumn colors and minimize noise, shoot at the lowest ISO range possible (100-400).

8. RAW files

Shoot using RAW so you can correct or fine-tune your images using the camera manufacturers photo editing software, or third party applications like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. RAW files take up a lot of space, so be sure to bring sufficient memory cards.

9. Tripod

Use a tripod or monopod to stabilize your camera and eliminate camera shake.

10. Self-Timer Release

In low light situations, try using the Self-Timer Release mode to delay the shutter release for a couple of seconds after you press the shutter button. This will eliminate the possibility of camera movement and help you get tack-sharp images.


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