Photo by Scott Bourne - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons
November 19, 2013

Ten Fall Color Photo Tips

Editor’s Note: This is an update of Scott’s advice for shooting Fall colors. Be sure to post some of your favorite images or links on our Google+ page.


I know that the leaves are changing around parts of the world. Because many of you have contacted me with questions about how to shoot the colorful leaves. Here are some quick tips.

  1. Wet leaves look best. Fall color looks better when it’s wet. Wait for a rain or bring some spray bottles full of water (and gelatin) and you can make the leaves look great.
  2. Use a polarizer. Shoot with a circular polarizer on your lens. The polarizer helps cut through the glare that reduces the contrast and color in the leaves.
  3. Underexpose by a half stop. If you underexpose, the colors in your image will be more saturated.
  4. Consider a slow shutter. Use slow shutter speeds to blur leaves moving through streams.
  5. Use HDR. Shoot backlit trees and tree branches using HDR techniques.
  6. Use a Wide Aperture. Shoot wide open to throw the background out of focus – bringing the viewer’s attention to the leaves.
  7. Use the Best Light. Keep the sun behind you and make your photos within 90 minutes of sunrise or sunset. This tip will keep you in the best light.
  8. Avoid the Wind. On windy days, move in for close ups. If there’s too much wind to get a wide shot, move in and shoot details.
  9. Use the Wind. You can also try panning with blowing leaves to introduce a different kind of motion in your images.
  10. Use themes. On one day just shoot red. On another, concentrate on close-ups. Day three try including interesting foreground or background objects. Day four try mixing water into the equation.

Whatever you do get off the couch and go shoot. This is a great time of the year to get your camera out of the bag and record some new memories.


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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. I like the tip about wetting leaves. I don’t normally think about that one! I’ll need to add a spray bottle to my usual gear…Don’t you love when solutions are inexpensive? :)

  2. Totally agree about avoiding the wind, it can be a nightmare capturing photos to combine in a HDR. Check a weather report before going to location, it can save you a lot of time!

  3. Gorgeous example and great tips as always! Thank you!

  4. Love the examples and great information,


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Landscape, Photography, Shooting


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