9 Handy Tips for Gorgeous Fall Foliage Photographs

One of the best things about fall is the gorgeous leaves that you can see when the trees change. If you  want to have some social media worthy pictures to boast of, then you want to know the best ways that you can take those gorgeous fall foliage pictures.

Below are nine handy tips that you can use when you are trying to take that amazing picture of the fall leaves. Whether you are planning to remember a special fall, or you are simply looking for something to post on Facebook, Instagram or your website, these will help you with capturing the pictures you want.

Select Your Location

When you’re living in an area that is full of colorful trees, it’s not necessary to go anywhere but your yard. Chances are good that you’ll see some spectacular trees which you can photograph there. If you are planning to take a trip to see the fall foliage, to the Poconos, for example, you want to know what the area’s best viewing times for that area. Weather will play a huge role in the autumn color’s intensity and timing, and this will change from year to year, so you want to check the area’s foliage forecast for that area. It’s also good to go online and see if you can speak with the local residents for the best times and routes for planning the trip.

Timing’s Everything

The autumn colors’ timing can greatly impact where and what you are going to shoot. Fall color’s peak is short, so you want to go and take your pictures before the cold storms for which autumn is known knocks your leaves down and your chance is lost. There’s a lot of great photo opportunities that you can find before the peak of the colors, with red and amber patches bursting among the green leaves. Of course, there’s also wonderful color after the peak season, since the yellow leaves coat the ground and the riverbeds.

The time of the day that you take your pictures can also drastically impact the colors’ vibrancy, based on the light’s direction and the day’s brightness. With a Time-lapse setting, you can often capture dramatic changes in your fixed location over the period of a few hours or even the entire day.

Use Available Lighting to Your Advantage

Taking pictures outside will present a challenge anytime, with unpredictable weather and shifting clouds which can sometimes hamper a gorgeous scene. During the autumn season, blue skies and midday sunlight can make your orange and red hues pop. This can create incredible fall landscapes. When you want to capture a hillside vista at a scenic overlook, you should plan for an overcast day and white sky to get the best pictures. It’s still possible to get incredible fall pictures when it’s cloudy. Simply reduce your sky that you can see in the composition.

A sunny day will crank up contrast and brightness, casting many shadows in the wooded areas. When you’re taking pictures in a forest or park, use those shadows and the back lit leaves to give your images a dramatic effect. Don’t forget to activate the flash of your camera when you are taking still-life photos or portraits so that your subject’s lit adequately by filling the deep shadows in. It’s best to use them at a right angle to where the sun is, but they also will play a huge role when reducing the reflections on days that are cloudy. This will ultimately increase the saturation of color for your image. Just turn your filter until you’re able to see what you want, then snap the picture.

Do Some Experiments with Framing

When you use a versatile multiple focal lens, you are going to have no trouble playing around with perspective and cropping. When you have a focal length that is longer, it will allow you to zoom on certain details in your landscape, such as one golden leaf on a stump or a cluster of trees. Get down low and shoot a roadway or path using a wider angle. This will exaggerate your perspective.

Isolate Subjects

A great picture needs a great subject. When you choose your focal point, such as a branch that’s filled with yellow leaves laying on a weathered, rough picnic table, you are going to boost the image’s visual interest. Use your camera’s AV mode or choose an aperture that’s wider, approximately f/2.8 or even f/5.6, so that your subject’s been isolated from the surroundings. This wider aperture is going to compress or soften your background to make the subject stand out.

Capture Action

There’s a lot of fun activities and events during autumn – apple picking, Halloween, pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving and even something like raking or jumping in leaves. These can all become photo opportunities when the leaves change. Kids love shuffling through leaves, so why not take a picture of this. Use a quicker shutter speed for freezing falling leaves when they’re in mid-air.

Unexposed by One Third

When you overexpose your image, it’s going to mute your bright colors. When you underexpose the picture, it’s going to bring them out more. You shouldn’t underexpose it too much. Otherwise you are going to have a picture that’s too dark. However, when you underexpose it by one third, it can capture a lot more saturated colors without your picture being too dark.

Don’t Fear the Weather

Those days that are really comfortable for being in nature many times won’t be the best ones for taking pictures. When there’s a storm coming, it can give you a really dramatic sky. One light shaft that’s coming through clouds is a great opportunity that can be missed if you are staying indoors. Make sure that you are considering the wind, however. This is going to create ripples on water and might cause blurring since the leaves are moving.

Don’t Forget Your Tripod

When you are shooting landscape pictures, having a tripod is often a good idea. This means that when you’re out taking pictures of your gorgeous fall foliage, you want to have one of these with you. To keep your scene shots looking sharp, it’s necessary for your aperture to be narrow. However, when you are using this, you also are going to need a shutter speed that is slower. To keep your shot from being blurred, keep your cameras steady using your tripod. It will also help to use your self-timer or a remote so you don’t introduce movement when you are pressing your shutter release. Tripods also are necessary for taking long exposure shots and smoothing out water in your autumn scene.

We hope that you have found this article to be helpful and that you are able to capture some amazing pictures this fall. Whether it’s pictures of the leaves, children playing in the leaves, sports or something else, there are a lot of fun things to capture this time of year.

Keep checking back on our website, because we are always adding new products and offering helpful tips. If you have any questions, please contact us. We’re always happy to hear from you.


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