Fall colors are a great subject for photography. Sure, there are tons of photos out there of Fall foliage but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy taking your own photos. So check out these Fall photo tips and go capture some great fall photo memories!
Plan for the Color Change
Leaves change color in the Fall at drastically different times in different parts of the country. Plan ahead by using online Fall foliage guides to plan when the best color will be available for your photos in your area. The Weather Channel also posts frequent Fall Foliage reports and your state’s park service most likely has a more local report as well. Before you head out, don’t forget to check the weather. For Fall color photos you’ll actually want the rain. Shooting right after the rain lets you take advantage of what the rain has done. The rain washes any pollution out of the air, brightens leaves, and adds contrast against rain-soaked and darkened tree trunks.
Set Your Clock
When it comes to shooting Fall foliage, be early or be late is the mantra. Set your clock to make sure you are awake and out the door early to capture the golden hour light. Bright and direct sunlight intensifies the color of the leaves. The early morning and late afternoon angled sunlight works like a spotlight to bring out highlights and contrast. This directional lighting is great for capturing the light shining through the leaves for a great golden glow as well.
There is a lot of light being reflected towards your camera with Fall foliage. That can create problems with blown-out highlights. Try setting your camera for a 1/2 stop underexposure to protect highlights and deepen colors.
Even with digital cameras, physical filters for your lens are a great tool, especially with Fall photos. Look for a color intensifier filter (yes, it really is called that) brings out the colors in a scene well. Also, a UV filter will help eliminate haze and pollution in the air if you can’t shoot right after the rain. Finally, a polarizing filter removes reflections from water surfaces when you are shooting leaves in water.
How you put it all together still matters, not matter how spectacular the subject. Remember your composition tools. Things like the rule of thirds, leading lines, orientation (vertical or horizontal), and even depth of field are all important to getting a great shot.