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Autumn Photography

by Brooke Tasovac (follow)
Blog (395)      Tutorials (61)     

Here are some great tips for taking photos during autumn:

1) Keep an eye on colour

You have to be on the lookout throughout all of autumn to capture foliage in the best state of colour - those rusty reds, warm oranges and bright yellows only last for a short while before the leaves turn brown and fall to the ground. The more rich and vibrant the colours, the more they will pop in the final image so try not to leave it too late (although there are tools such as filters and editing techniques you can use to help with this).

The best locations for autumn photography are open wooded areas with long rows of trees or well maintained botanic gardens where the colours of the leaves will contrast with green lawns.

2) Shoot wide and close up

Make sure you bring lenses that allow you to shoot wide landscapes as well as zooming in to capture details on leaves. Autumn photography can be used to capture really interesting symmetry and patterns, when there are a series of repetitive elements that are aesthetically striking.

It’s also great for macro style photos where you can concentrate on texture because there are so many different types of leaves (shiny, rough, cracked, translucent, curled up and speckled). You can get some really abstract and artistic photos by focusing on small elements.

3) Consider your viewpoint

Shooting from all different angles has a strong impact on autumn photography because leaves and trees can look completely different when they are captured from below or behind. Here are just some of the possible photos you can take if you’re willing to change your position:
- A view of a forest canopy (by lying down on your back and shooting straight up)
- Bokeh among hanging leaves that are backlit (by moving around and under branches)
- A reflection of overhead leaves in a puddle or pond (by lying down on your stomach on the bank or by stepping in the water and bending down)

You will probably get dirty clothes or hair if the ground is soggy but it could be worth it to get the perfect shot! Just be sure to keep your lens strap around your neck when shooting near water.

4) Include some people in the frame

Sometimes autumn photography is more dynamic when there are some human subjects in the frame. For example, people walking in a landscape photo can emphasise the scale and height of trees, or sometimes it can be something as simple as including a hand in the photo, like in the image below.

Lots of photographers like to shoot portraits in autumn, because the vivid colours provide a strong background against which to pose people, instead of them blending into the surroundings. Play around with the aperture to see the different effects of colours when they are are soft behind your subjects in a shallow depth of field, and sharper in a wider depth of field with the subjects and environment equally in focus.

5) Experiment with filters

Autumn photos can benefit from lens filters by helping to make colours appear more saturated, and stopping the sky from appearing overexposed and flat.

See how different filters can be used in different ways:
- A polarising filter can deepen colours and reduce glare with backlit photos
- A neutral density graduation filter can ensure reflections can be seen clearly on the surface of water
- Colour filters can help to add warmth to a photo, such as red filters, especially on days when the light isn’t very strong or when shooting in areas where the light is cool (such as shade).

You may have to venture out on several occasions and visit a few different locations during the season to be able to get the right combination of light and colour, but there’s almost no other time of year as beautiful and likely to boost your creativity as autumn, so enjoy it while it lasts.

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