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Creative Ways To Photograph Trees and Leaves This Season

Creative Ways To Photograph Trees and Leaves This Season


Fall is the absolute best season for tree photography.  Not to take away from other seasons which also offers spectacular opportunities to photograph your favorite trees, such as the beginning of spring as the branches begin to blossom glistening from drops of rain or dew.  Or the crisp clean images from shooting pine tree photography in the winter, so green and strong, not even heavy snow that sits atop its branches and leaves can move it, reminiscent of holiday season and family.  Although these examples are perfect for creating brilliant and moving photos, no season can compare to the color, beauty, and emotion that Autumn trees brings to life.

The characteristics and story of Autumn also makes it the best time of year for leaf Photography.  There is something special about the changes in trees as they enter the fall and winter seasons.  Trees are an amazing representation of life.  Strongly rooted in the ground, long lived, and with the ability to appropriately shed their leaves as they lose their vitality. 

May we all live like trees and be strongly rooted in our beliefs while being able to let go of things when they lose their essence. 

Fall Leaves Photography

One of the most satisfying types of photography is leaves photography.  The detail, contrast, and colors that autumn leaves present within their natural environments creates one of the most immersive compositions.

Shooting photography of leaves can be done in many creative ways.  The shooting distances, and surrounding elements all will play a factor in your frame and composition.  Essentially, what do you envision for your shots?

There are a few core tips that can assist you in deciding vantage points and help you bring your vision to life.

  • Time of day or light environment
  • Natural elements (physical environment and weather, like rain or fog)
  • Field of Depth
  • Juxtaposition between color and texture

The time of day you choose for your Autumn tree and leaves photoshoot will have a crucial role in the result of your pictures.  Shooting trees during golden hour when the sun is hovering at the horizon will give you the most artistically enhanced photos.  Trees are generally tall with wide branches and leaves that serve as a filter to the sun’s rays, causing a glow effect that will surround the tree while beams of sunrays pierce through the spaces in between the leaves and branches. 

Golden hour is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset.  Shooting at sunrise can also offer you fog and moisture elements which can add quite a bit of character to your composition when shot in the correct focus and exposure.


Things like wind, water, and landscape should be incorporated and will bring your Fall tree photography to life.  Whether you’re shooting trees over waterfalls, or a close-up photo of morning dew as it beads onto the green, red, and gold foliage of the tree, you’re going to need to time your shots and use the right gear.  A quality camera and lens will enable you to adjust your exposure and get those wonderful rays of sunlight and water reflections while the lens will help you get your perfect focus and focal length.  There is only one way to get the perfect macro, micro and bokeh photographs and that is with a proper lens.

  • Capture your favorite tree moving in the wind by centering the focus on the tree while angling the frame so the tree branches and leaves engulf the outer borders of your frame. Similar to palm tree photography during a vacation on the beach, you may use this shot to capture the cool breeze as it sways the palm tree’s branches.
  • Get a bokeh image of a leaf as it falls and just hits the water of a puddle or pond causing ripples in the water around it.
  • Combine your lighting conditions with the elements which can create prisms or rainbow for stunning effects.
Field of Depth

To create an immersive photograph, you must consider angle and field of depth.  This is what gives you those shots that look almost 3 dimensional.  You can achieve a proper field of depth using a variety of lenses, it really depends on the exact shot your looking for. 

To better understand this, imagine standing in a forest and looking directly up to the sky.  The trees narrow the higher they get and appear to get closer together than the actual distance on the ground.  Another prime example is photographing down a corridor or hallway.  The farther it goes, the narrower and more enclosed it appears.  This easy type of shot is perfect for taking photos of trees and leaves in any season, but it is especially imaginative during Fall.

fall time

Color, Contrast, and Texture

Contrasting color will make your images pop.  It’s a simple rule we use in décor for your home, matching your outfits, and virtually every design every created.  The beautiful thing about nature during Autumn is that it encompasses all the colors and contrasts you need for a visually sophisticated photograph.  Take Aspen tree photography as an example with their chalky grey and white bark contrasting and highlighting the yellow and green colors of the leaves. 

There are many ways you can achieve visually stunning contrasts of colors and textures.  Here’s a few.

  • Photographing at angles which let other elements into the background such as the sun, sky, or water.
  • Choosing trees that sit alone, not near to other trees.
  • Choosing trees that have already lost their leaves, incorporating the fallen colorful foliage on the ground into your shot.

Sometimes, you can achieve a strong contrast and texture by avoiding color altogether.  Black and white tree photography can be powerful and filled with emotion when shot correctly.  A favorite for photographers is capturing the silhouette of the tree over a partly cloudy background using black and white contrasts.

Aerials and Candid

Having fun is a very important aspect of photography, as much as achieving the perfect shot.  Nowadays, you can achieve the most spectacular shots using a drone.  These unimaginable shots will take you to the perfect vantage point for you to capture the foliage of tree clusters, roads, and landscapes.  Some trees are very tall.  For such instances like white pine photography, which are amongst the tallest trees in northeastern America and can grow up to 70 meters, using a drone is perfect.

Often, you may be hiking with a friend on your journey of tree photography, or simply hanging out wherever.  It is easy to find the perfect trees in almost any place for the most perfect candid shots with friends and loved ones.  The Fujifilm Instax Instant Film Camera is a great tool for immediate satisfaction when it comes to candid shots, and Autumn provides the best photos with the perfect blend of emotion and playfulness.  Any outdoor location with trees and leaves will do.  This is also great for shooting your kids or dog playing in the leaves during the weekend when you’re doing yardwork.  Feel free to incorporate other props from bridges to swing sets.  What’s even better is that these photos instantly print, meaning you can share them with your friends and loved ones.

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