Fall photographs have a special magic. The colors are enchanting, rich and varied. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of this wonderful time of year:
(1) Shoot at sunrise and sunset for the best light and color.
Photograph during the first and last hours of the day; the times just around both sunrise and sunset give a quality to the light that will yield great photos. There’s something about the soft, golden light around this time which brings out the reds and gold’s in your photos which we all love.
(2) Use a tripod.
This is especially important when shooting around dusk, tripods really, really help. Turn off your flash, set your ISO to 100 to reduce noise (sharper detail!) and start shooting. Experiment with your shutter speed. Very slow speeds – between 1 and 3 second – are great, they serve still the foliage and the colors, while letting the rest of the world blur.
(3) Underexpose your shots slightly
You will be able to do this with most cameras, even point-and-shoots. This will deepen the saturation in your colors. You can then use your computer’s photo software (iPhoto, Picasa, or Photoshop) to increase the contrast and adjust the color saturation to warm things up slightly.
If it’s too windy to get great shots outdoors try bringing some leaves home. Use some clear tape to stick the stem to a large open window that has some natural light coming through it, so that the leaf lies flat against the window. Now set up your camera and start shooting. Hey Presto, brilliant leaf close-ups!
(5) Experiment with your white balance settings.
Don’t be afraid to take your camera off Auto mode and play with those settings. Increase the numbers manually, or change a white balance setting like “cloudy”.
As with everything in photography it’s a question of practice, practice and more practice. Most of all have fun and enjoy your fall photographs.