Capital Photography Center | Photography Classes in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia

Tips For Exciting Fall Photos

October 10, 2019 by Marie Joabar

October rolls in and we find ourselves full swing in the most colorful season; autumn. It’s such a fun time to photograph and the opportunities are endless so have your camera ready.

On your way in to work or on your way home, even if you're running errands around town, you’re sure to pass many photos waiting to be captured along the way. Be prepared for any opportunity by carrying lenses that cover a range of 18mm to 200mm so that no matter what you encounter, you have the right focal length to capture it.

Here are a few tips to help you capture the best of the season.

  • When photographing the kiddos in their Halloween costumes in the evening, try not to use flash. Instead, have them facing a large light source. For example, position them outside so the porch light is lighting them well, or have them on the deck with the interior lights on, or consider a nearby street lamp that can shine on them. This allows a stronger story with the dark of night showing through yet the children lit well enough to show their faces and costumes.
  • When photographing fall scenes, try changing your camera’s White Balance setting to Cloudy. Even if it’s sunny, the Cloudy setting will warm up the scene giving you even warmer toned fall images. 
  • Find an accessible pumpkin patch and have fun framing up the colorful gourds in the fields. If there is a large patch, play with having some sharp and some blurry by adjusting the aperture and positioning the focus point on the ones you want sharp. Getting really close to your subject is one of the easiest ways to blur the background. Stepping back a bit will give you more sharpness throughout the scene.  

  • It’s a great time to gather friends or family so why not plan a group photo session? When photographing people together with the fall leaves, check that the warm tones of the leaves are not reflected on their skin making them appear a bit orange. If so, adjust the White Balance to Sunny or Auto to avoid this color cast.
  • Kids jumping in piles of just raked leaves or throwing the leaves overhead always makes a fun memory shot. Check that your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze their motion. 1/125 or 1/250 should work fine and use continuous shooting mode. If using an Auto mode, try the Sports mode.
  • The best time of day to shoot most fall scenes (if it’s sunny) is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is low in the sky and the light is warm and more colorful. The light of mid-day is harsh with a lot of contrast and deep dark shadows. Cloudy days can be perfect as they give us soft, even light to work with throughout the day.
  • Anticipate foggy mornings, get out early and make the most of the magical look you can frame. Fog occurs often in the fall when the air is cooler than water or the moist ground.  Choose a Cloudy White Balance setting and compose several different frames getting the wide forest shot partially obscured by fog to the close-up shots of a single tree emerging from the fog. So much mood to capture with these scenes.
  • Look for contrasting colors and frame the image to show just those. Orange leaves against a blue sky, yellow leaves with purple pansies in the background, red leaves framed next to bright evergreen branches. Colors opposite each other on the color wheel make for interesting images and nature provides plenty of these during autumn.

It’s the best time to be outdoors, and we finally have cool fall weather so get out there and enjoy capturing all that the season offers!