The autumn season is inarguably one of the most beautiful seasons to photograph. The brilliant colors of falling leaves and the deep blue skies provide the perfect backdrop for a phenomenal photographic moment, but even the grayer days of fall can prove to be delightfully photogenic, with the smoke of chimney fires curling into an overcast sky. However, as with any season, capturing these perfect moments often comes with a little bit of planning and preparation. Although shooting wonderful pictures of fall memories is certainly not difficult, the best pictures usually are a combination of artistic skill and chance opportunity. For anyone who is seeking to record this autumn season through digital imagery, here are a few scraps of advice on how to capture the perfect fall photograph.
1) Make use of fall’s lighting. The warmer lighting typically beaming down towards around late afternoon is the ideal lighting for capturing autumn’s coloring. You may even want to use the “sunset” mode on some point and shoot cameras, or be sure to shoot without a flash on other cameras.
2) Take advantage of the longer shadows. Towards the end of the day, longer shadows will be stretching out over the ground. Try to capture some of these moments by keeping your camera fairly low to the ground in order to stretch out the perspective of the shadows that you are shooting. Cottonwood trees are especially ideal for these types of shots, as their branchless lower trunks make impressive shadows on the earth.
3) Shoot on “brilliant colors” or “bright colors” mode if your camera allows for this. If not, try adjusting the “brightness/contrast” settings on your camera to get the brighter colors effect. Doing so will help you capture the brilliant colors of autumn’s characteristic leaves the best. Try to shoot pictures of either rows of bright fall trees or photographs of trees stretching into a blue sky. Again, fall is a wonderful season of rich colors; adjust your camera settings to shoot them in the most stunning manner.
4) Work with macro photography to get unique viewpoints on the leaf colors. When examined closely, the veins of the leaves will reveal strikingly unique color patterns that add depth to a macro work of an autumn leaf. Try to focus your photograph on the central vein of a leaf and allow the outlying veins to be included in a blurred background appearance. This will give you a photograph showing the varying color scheme in just one leaf-an artistic piece just as interesting as a photograph showing fall’s colors in many leaves.
5) For gray, cloudy autumn days, make sure that you have at least one contrasting subject or unique portion of each photograph. This could be as simple as a chimney’s smoke curling into the sky or a silhouette of a tree as the faint rays of the sun shine behind it. Such subjects will keep even your grayest of photographs looking appealing to the artistic eye. Another way to make these “gray day” pictures more interesting is to shoot them in black and white. In fact, gray days (with an increased “darkness/light” contrast on your camera settings) are often perfect for shooting interesting black and white photography.