Fall Color Photo Tips; Part 1

A few tips and ideas to keep in mind.

Backlighting can be the most dramatic light for fall color.

• Back lighting can be the most dramatic light for fall color scenes and you can capture it all in one exposure most of the time as seen here. Backlit foliage can make some of the dullest pop. Next time you see a colorful tree take a walk around it and see how the vibrancy and glow of leaves change as you walk around the tree. In the image above I decided to angle the camera so I could pick up a hint of side lighting for the shadows on the trunks which added depth to the mostly backlit subject.

Singling out a set of trees against a contrasting backdrop can improve your composition.

• Singling out a set of trees against a contrasting backdrop can improve your composition. Look for patterns to lead your viewers into your scene. In the image above, the partially submerged rounded stones and the diagonal lines created by the moving water were used a two lead ins from both corners of the scene. These lead ins pull the viewer into the simplified middle ground and background.

You can simplify your composition by finding shapes and patterns

• The majority of landscape photography is shot in the golden hour and sunset sunrise light, but fall foliage photography is done all kinds of light. How many times have stood in the bottom of a canyon near the middelo fthe day and noticed one minute you were in shade and the next minute you were in full sun. You can point the camera straight up into the sky in the middle of the day. This image was photographed at noon, you can photograph autumn scenery all day long so make sure you have enough batteries to keep you out from twilight to twilight.

Autumn in Los Angeles

Don't knock your local fall color it can surprise even the best of photographers!

• Don’t knock your local fall color it can surprise even the best of photographers! I would be pretty upset if I missed out on this place that is only 15 minutes from my home. Try finding a creek full of trees close to your home and practice there before you make that long trip and spend all that money on airline tickets, car rentals and gasoline. A little knowledge might be worth more then cost of a trip.

Part II : Fall Color Photo Tips

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
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Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
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9 Responses to “Fall Color Photo Tips; Part 1”

  1. Jenny Wilson Says:

    I have shot some dramatically backlit aspens but the background always goes completely black when I under expose the photograph. I can’t get the detail in the first photograph. My favorite in the series is your “Canyon Cascade.”

  2. Sandy Steinman Says:

    Excellent photos and suggestions. I especially like that you remind us to look local. I have found lots of fall color in local botanic gardens and streets with deciduous trees. I have added your posting to my list of articles on tips for photographing fall foliage on the Natural History Wanderings
    http://naturalhistorywanderings.com blog

  3. Steve Sieren Says:

    Hi Jenny, thanks for taking the time to comment. You should be checking your histogram and bracketing around you best exposure. You can tone down highlights and lift shadows. The Canyon Cascade image was create while demonstrating how a tilt shift lens works.

    Sandy, I’m sure you know about all the fall color that can be found locally almost everywhere in one or another. Thanks for adding this post to your list.

  4. Sharon Van Lieu Says:

    The third shot is such a beauty. I like the rich colors and textures. I also enjoyed your aspen shot.


  5. Russ Bishop Says:

    Wonderful images and excellent tips, Steve. So true that sometimes the best scenes can be surprisingly close to home.

  6. Steve Sieren Says:

    Thank you Sharon.

    Russ, thanks. Following the color through different ecosystems and elevations really makes the season last. Oddly enough we can see fall color down here as late as January depending on mild winter is.

  7. Photo tips for Fall Foliage « Natural History Wanderings Says:

    […] Fall Color Photo Tips; Part 1 by Steve Siren https://stevesieren.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/fall-color-photo-tips-part-1/ […]

  8. More Fall Photo Tips « Natural History Wanderings Says:

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  9. Fall Foliage Photography Tips | Teknoid Dot Com Says:

    […] Fall Color Photo Tips; Part 1  and Part 2 by Steve Siren https://stevesieren.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/fall-color-photo-tips-part-1/ https://stevesieren.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/fall-color-photo-tips-part-ii/ […]

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