Nature Photography

5 Tips for Beautiful Fall Photography

For many photographers, fall is the best time of year to create stunning images. Use these tips to make sure you capture great images this autumn!

Autumn is almost upon us! For photographers, that means a season full of colorful foliage, harvest-themed photos and more. The problem with this season is that it’s fleeting – the wonderful sights are here one week and gone the next. I'll show you a few tips that will help you make the most of this beautiful time of the year.

1. Don't Fear the Clouds

For the photographer in search of colorful foliage photos, overcast days can be just as good – and sometimes even better – than sunny days. Since the lighting is neutral and even, it tends to make colors pop whereas, on sunny days, the golds, oranges, and reds tend to blend together. Just make sure that you keep large expanses of white sky out of your photos on cloudy days – focus more on the colors and other interesting sights that come with autumn.

2. Fall is More than Foliage

During the fall, the foliage takes center stage, but keep in mind that there are many other opportunities for gorgeous images. You could go with a harvest theme by photographing pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, and hay. The autumn wilderness is also filled with many interesting opportunities – chipmunks, wild mushrooms, pinecones, fruits and nuts, migrating birds and much more.

3. Look for Water

Water is a wonderful subject in any season, but during the fall, it really comes alive. A still lake makes a beautiful reflecting pool for fall foliage. In the mornings, look for mist rising from warm bodies of water. This will help you add a sense of mystery to your shots. Rivers come with even more opportunities, from leaves drifting in the lazy current to the wildlife that stops for a drink along the colorful riverbank.

4. Take Advantage of Contrasts

Landscapes that are full of yellow, orange and red are sometimes a little bland. Instead of focusing on these colors alone, look for ways to add striking contrast to your images. Focus on the one blazing red tree among a sea of yellow leaves, or photograph colorful leaves against a bright blue sky or green grass. The more you look, the more contrasts you'll find – gray rocks in a stream reflecting golden leaves, bright white mushrooms against earthen tones and more.

5. Experiment with Backlighting

If you do happen to go out on a bright, sunny day, use the sun to your advantage. Some of the most beautiful fall photos are those that show sunlight streaming through leaves or the petals of fall flowers. Seedpods and tall grasses also make excellent backlit subjects, particularly if they're covered in early morning dew or frost.

Autumn is a beautiful time of year, particularly for those of us who love to document God's creation in all its glory. Take the time to go out and shoot at the peak of the fall color – rain or shine! – and you'll quickly develop a well-rounded portfolio of breathtaking fall-themed images.

About the author

Will Moneymaker

Will has been creating photographs and exploring his surroundings through his lens since 2000. Follow along as he shares his thoughts and adventures in photography.