With fall comes a vibrant transition, providing us with beautifully unique photo opportunities. We have the best autumn photography tips, along with a few inspiring images to get your creative juices flowing.
Include water in your compositions
Landscapes reflected in water can make for some very moving, symmetrical compositions. Look for still water in lakes to capture these reflections, with the top half of the shot consisting of the landscape and the foreground consisting of the reflection. The vivid foliage of fall trees reflects well in water, especially moving water such as rivers and streams. Telephoto zoom lenses are effective for enhancing these striking color patterns.
A grey overcast sky or even a clear blue sky can appear boring and vacant. Clouds add depth and points of interest to the image, giving your eye something to focus on. A few clouds can liven up a landscape quite effectively and become interesting subjects themselves. They also can cast shadows on the landscape as they move past the sun.
Emphasize the sky
In general, the rule for capturing landscapes is 1/3 sky, 2/3 landscape. However, if the sky looks intriguing go ahead and reverse that rule to let it take priority as the main subject of your image. Use a long exposure to blur the movement of the clouds. On a windy day an exposure of 20-30 seconds will record lots of movement. To shoot at exposures this long, set your Sony a7R III Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera from Beachcamera.com to its lowest ISO, stop the lens down to its smallest aperture and mount a polarizer or ND filter to block out even more light.
Use a telephoto lens
A telephoto and telephoto zoom lens like the one in this Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera + EF 24-20mm & 100-400mm Lens Bundle from Beachcamera.com can really bring a particular subject to life. One of the key benefits of using these lenses is that they magnify your subject, making it larger in the frame. This helps you isolate the most interesting elements of a subject or scene and capture some of the finer details that often get missed with wider angles of view. If you want to isolate a subject against a blurred background, a telephoto lens set to its widest aperture, usually f/4-f/5.6, will do the job perfectly. If you prefer a wide depth of field with everything in focus, you’ll want to stop down to f/22 or f/32.
Capture the glow of autumn
Autumn trees come to life when backlit. Position yourself at an angle towards the light and use a tree trunk or branch to conceal the sun. You’ll also want to get a meter reading from the bright leaves and up your exposure just a bit. Start by adding +1/2 stop and refer to the histogram to see whether the highlights are being overexposed.
Capture fog and mist
Autumn landscapes become even more dynamic with mist and fog. A standard kit and tripod is all you need to capture this environment. Cool nights followed by warm days will bring about mist and fog. The tripod is necessary because the lack of sunlight during foggy and misty conditions brings about longer exposure times.
Think about what’s in the frame
There’s nothing wrong with doing a bit of tidying up to get your scene just right. You may want to toss some more colorful leaves in the foreground if the ones you find are a bit bland. Maybe you want to take out unpleasant looking twigs and leaves if they take away from the shot. A little re-organizing is completely acceptable.
Shoot sunrise and sunset
Capturing silhouettes against the sun and sky is easy. Simply set your camera to Aperture Priority mode and you’re good to go. If you’re looking to capture more foreground detail, try using a strong ND grad to provide more exposure to the foreground without burning out the sky.
Embrace bad weather
‘Bad’ weather typically creates the most dramatic conditions for Autumn landscape photography. Specifically, when there’s a stormy sky and the sun breaks through you’ll end up with a sunlit foreground under a layer of dark, gloomy clouds. Your images will be more stunning if you can capture these conditions close to sunrise or sunset, as the light will be a lovely gold color.
With the quickly changing scenery, colorful landscapes and shorter days, it’s not hard to understand why Autumn is the favorite season of so many photographers.