Follow These Simple Tips for Beautiful Fall Photography
- Beautiful Fall Photography Ideas
- Beautiful Fall Photography Destinations
- HDR Fall Photography
- Panoramas Capture Great Views
- Polarizers are Essential Gear
- Protect Your Gear with the Right Bag and Straps
- Processing for Beautiful Fall Photography
- Other Recommended Photography Gear
- Essential Camera Accessories
- Best Time of Day for Outdoor Photography
- 4 Photography Accessories that Will Make Your Life Easier
- Hiking with Camera Gear? This Bag Is for You
- Camera Safety Tips for Your Next Trip
- How to Protect Your Camera Gear
Photo by Zane Chambers via iStock
It’s time for beautiful fall photography! Autumn photography is very enjoyable, both while taking the pictures and long after while displaying them. Capturing beautiful fall photography also has its own unique set of challenges.
I'll point out some helpful fall photography tips, from techniques and processes to gear and bags, allowing you to capture beautiful fall photography images with confidence.
Table of Contents:
Beautiful Fall Photography Ideas
Photo by Stephen Harker via iStock
We all have seen those iconic images of New England forests with bright oranges, yellows, reds, and still some greens virtually blanketing the hills of the rural countryside. Perhaps in a movie such as The Trouble With Harry or in magazines for general readership like Better Homes and Gardens or National Geographic.
The thing is, not all of us live in or near such picturesque areas for beautiful fall photography. In fact, some areas I’ve traveled to don’t really have a full fall season, sometimes for several years in a row. So, we either need to travel or think of ways to capture beautiful fall photography in our local area.
We’ll cover travel in the next point, but even right near our own home, we might find a way to create an opportunity for fun autumn photography. One method is to zero in on one small element of the fall photography season, such as the selectively focused changed leaves in the above image from a yard in Kansas City, Missouri.
A suprising fact for some of us is that many shopping centers or business parks have wonderfully maintained plants and trees that we can use for local images of beautiful fall photography. We simply need to use our skills of composition, exposure, or selective focus to highlight the beauty of autumn.
Beautiful Fall Photography Destinations
Photo by Stephen Harker via iStock
When traveling to a location for beautiful fall photography, it really pays off to do some research before planning our trip. For example, the bright golden yellows of Aspen trees don't last long, sometimes only for about a week. The colors in the above image, taken in the mountain town of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, were only available for a few days in early September, before fall had actually officially begun.
Mountain scenery during fall can change rapidly, so we should check sources, online or printed, that give ideas of the timing for best colors. Those sources give great general information for the areas we’re considering, but we may want an online real-time source to keep track of the variations in the current season.
The fall foliage prediction maps from American Forests are a great source for up-to-date information all over the US. There are similar resources for other destinations, including Japan, Europe, New Zealand, and elsewhere.
Check out the tips for beautiful fall photography in the video above - “10 fall foliage photography tips from Nikon Ambassador Deb Sandidge,” posted on the USA Today YouTube channel.
HDR Fall Photography
Photo by fotoMonkee via iStock
HDR photography, or the bracket and merge method, brings up many possibilities for beautiful fall photography.
This method works so well for autumn photography because it allows for a huge dynamic range to be captured. Meaning, you can include areas of deep shadow and bright highlights in the same image with all exposure values showing excellent detail.
The scene above from the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, exemplifies what is available in any scene when we are able to capture detail in all the light values present in the scene. Without HDR, bright parts fade into each other, and dark areas have little detail.
HDR photography requires a little more effort from us as photographers, but the results are worth it. We need a tripod, we take several RAW image files at different shutter speeds (leave lens aperture the same), and then we must process them to merge the files into one final image.
Panoramas Capture Great Views
Photo by 4nadia via iStock
A panoramic image can make an impressive wall display of our beautiful fall photography, such as the above scene of Mt. Shuksan in northern Washington. By the way, evergreens make beautiful fall photography, too, especially if your scene has any other trees with changing color to use for contrast.
Panoramas are created by means of capturing different parts of the scene by rotating the camera from a central position with overlap of the files and then merging them together into a final image. You can add HDR to the panoramic work for truly unique photography.
Essential gear includes a steady tripod, perhaps one with calibrated markings on the column or head for panos. A true panoramic head rotates along the optical center of the lens for an end product with very little distortion or registration errors.
Polarizers are Essential Gear
Photo by leekris via iStock
Polarizing filters are among the most important of camera gear for any season or style of landscape photography, and I consider them virtually essential for making beautiful fall photography images.
In the above New England scene, we see multiple reasons to use polarizing filters. Removing glare from leaves, removing glare from water, deepening blue skies while brightening white clouds, enhancing colors in general.
I like to use a filter holder system for landscape photography. With a filter holder system, I can combine a circular polarizer with a GND or ND filter for additional enhancement of exposure, color, or contrast.
Protect Your Gear with the Right Bag and Straps
Your beautiful fall photography images aren’t likely to be captured from indoors. In fact, your outdoor locations may be somewhat rugged and full of issues that could potentially harm your cameras and lenses. Thus, you will need a great bag and a really useful strap for protection and simplification of your workflow.
The Sightseer Backpack System from HoldFast Gear has an amazing amount of protection for our camera gear and is still easy to work out of rapidly, quite an accomplishment for a backpack-style bag. An added benefit is that everything from HoldFast looks great and just gets better with age and use.
This fantastic bag is made from waxed canvas and American Bison leather and is lined with Aztec flannel fleece. The waxed canvas and lined bag create nice waterproofing. Also, the entire camera compartment closes with a waterproof zipper that provides excellent weather protection.
A feature which makes this bag super useful for beautiful fall photography in the great outdoors is the built-in slider on the padded shoulder straps providing near-instant access to an attached camera with lens.
It’s similar to the MoneyMaker Camera Strap in how the camera is attached and used. By the way, for walking around town in search of autumn images, the MoneyMaker is an excellent way to keep your cameras both safe and ready.
Processing for Beautiful Fall Photography
Photo by DenisTangneyJr via iStock
So much of what we think about for capturing beautiful fall photography involves getting to the scene and capturing the scene. Post-processing is the step to move us up to the next level.
In the rural Vermont scenes above and at the start of this article, the scene is already gorgeous, proper post-processing can enhance all of those good elements we captured. Nothing needs to be changed radically, in fact, we don’t want to try to save a substandard image by means of post-processing.
Rather, using simple, small enhancements and tweaks are all that’s generally wanted. Pulling out some shadow detail, enhancing one color while diminishing another, cropping to an aspect ratio that’s more pleasing, eliminating a distracting element or two.
In this look at capturing beautiful fall photography, we’ve concentrated mostly on scenic landscape imagery. Remember that we can use many of these same fall photography tips for creating amazing portraits as well.
Try out these tips, you’ll enjoy capturing beautiful fall photography images and then showing them off.