Tips for Fall Photography

James Maynard - October 14, 2012 | Nature Photography, Photographers, Photography Tips, Technique, Tips

Fall photography is certainly on the minds of photographers everywhere, as Autumn colors begin to lighten the landscape, and the Sun rides lower in the sky, making for more longer, gentler shadows and warmer photographs. Fall can can one of the most beautiful times of all, especially in New England.

Anywhere you live, however, you’ll find that there are certain tips and tricks that you can use to make your fall photography look great.

The so-called magic hour is the hour just after sunrise or before sunset. At this time, the Sun is less than 15 degrees above the horizon, and the colors begin to have a warmer hue. This naturally brings out the reds and yellows that can be the hallmark of an Autumn woodland photograph. The Fall foliage brings out the best of the natural colors produced at this magical time of day, making a good idea even better.

One rule of thumb is that you should try to shoot photos in Autumn at a time of day when your shadow is longer than you. This will help produce a gentle edge on shadows, which blend more effortlessly into the background.

While you are out, if it has recently rained, try taking some Fall photographs in the short period of time just before sunrise and just after sunset. These are known as the blue hours, and with good reason. This time of day provides the best time to record blue and green images, which is not something you would normally gravitate to for photographs of Fall foliage. However, if it just rained, this time of day brings a glistening look to wet leaves that is unrivaled.

If you want to take really spooky Halloween photos, try taking shots when the Sun is as low on the horizon as possible. Stand with your back to the Sun, or off by just a few degrees, and see what sort of effects you produce. Of course, your shadow will also be quite pronounced as well, but no good thing ever comes easily. Autumn can also make surprising things happen, as overcast days provide some of the best conditions under which to shoot foliage. The hushed light reduces extreme shadows and blends highlights. This can help to bring out the brightness of the Autumn leaves and their strong tones and hues.

If you have an SLR camera, try putting a polarizing filter over the lens. This will help to increase the contrast and colors. Another way to do this is to slightly underexpose some pictures. When you download your photos, increase the contrast and play with your color saturation settings until you get the effect you like best.

Also, try to use a tripod, as the longer exposure times can bring out any shaking, leading to blurry photographs.

Of all the file types for photographs, RAW files provide the greatest amount of flexibility for editing colors. So, if given an option on your camera for default file type, choose RAW, especially for Autumn photos. Enjoy, experiment, and have fun. Fall is one of the best time sof the year for photography. Get out and take advantage of it!