Fall Photography Ideas – 7 Useful Fall Photography Tips

Be fearless when it comes to creating fall photography compositions. With digital photography, mistakes costs you nothing more than time.  Here are some fall photography ideas to get you started shooting in this magical time time of year –  in my opinion, time spent in nature is never wasted.

fall photography ideas
Refer to Tip #3: Let the Light Shine Through with Backlighting

These seven fall photography tips will help you do more of your composing in the camera, outdoors and in nature, rather than inside and at a desk in that digital “darkroom.” After all, isn’t that what nature photography is all about?

Fall Photography Ideas –  It’s All About The Color

TIP #1 ~ Yellow keeps it from being too mellow.

Fall photos: road through trees with yellow, orange and red by Jeff Parker.

Ever wonder why we find fall’s fiery shades of yellow so attractive? Our eyes are attracted to yellows because they reflect high amounts of light. For the same reason, yellows “wake up” sleepy images.

Note the “mellowing” effect of green when you include a tapestry of pines. Good autumn photographs contain a balance of “yellow” and “mellow.” They catch our fancy and our eye when brilliant shades keep docile greens from playing too nicely. So think about yellow when it comes to fall photography ideas.

TIP #2 ~ Analogous colors offer tranquility.

Fall photos: colorful autumn trees reflected in a lake by Jeff Parker.

Not only do analogous colors provide your image with a harmonious feel, but they provide your fall photograph with depth.

What are “analogous colors?” Three colors next to one another on the color wheel. During autumn you never have to search far in nature to find such colors. Look at a 12-color color wheel and you’ll see exactly what I mean! When the nature’s colors don’t line up exactly next to one another, change your perspective—use your feet—until the three colors are analogous when you look through your lens.

With analogous colors one color will usually dominates and that’s okay—just don’t rely solely on color for your focal point. Be sure you have a place in the image where your eye can rest – a primary subject.

Graphic of color wheel by Marla Meier.

TIP #3 ~ Let the light shine through.
(Lead photo example above.)

Backlighting can add special magic to your fall photography ideas, this time of year. Picture the sparkling light hitting the edges of golden autumn leaves or knobby branches. When’s the best time to create autumn images with backlighting? Early morning or late afternoon is best, when the sun sits low in the sky.

TIP #4 ~ Find lines that “fall” diagonally.

Fall photos: orange, rust and red brush next to large rock by Jeff Parker.

Put any image in front of a viewer and his eyes begin to travel all over it. Thus, when you take a photo, ask yourself, “Where will the viewer’s eyes go?” Diagonal lines, in particular, take the eyes on a more energetic ride, so look for them in the autumn arena you’re photographing.

When it comes to landscapes taken this time of year, diagonals translate to the “zip” that sets your image apart from hundreds of other fall-color photos.

Discover diagonals along fence lines, branches, mountain slopes, tree tops, or create your own in the way you compose analogous lines of color.

TIP #5 ~ Get golden with the “Golden Rule.”

Fall photos: orange leaves against a blurred orange leaf background by Jeff Parker.

The “Golden Rule” of composition comes from ancient Greece. This rule asserts that the most important area of an image is the bottom fourth of its right-hand corner.

Perhaps this tradition stems from the fact that in most Western cultures we read from left to right, top to bottom. Regardless of its origin, the trick works especially well when composing landscapes that rely heavily on color, making it a perfect addition for your fall photography tool bag. But the old adage of ‘rules are made to be broken’ always applies – you get to take artistic license to create your vision as long as it is compositionally pleasing.

TIP #6 ~ Autumn teems with texture.

Close-up of fall leaves with red, orange and yellow coloring by Jeff Parker.

Usually, folks think of textures as something to highlight when working in macro, but consider how you can put textures into play with autumn landscapes.

Your foreground harbors lots of material, so whether it’s porous stone, fibrous stems, mottled leaves, woven grasses, or dried flowers, consider making its delicate details the star of your image. Make a textured foreground item your focal point. Consider composing with the Golden Rule (see Tip #5) in mind and create extra autumn awe.

TIP #7 ~ Bad weather can make good photos.

Fall photo: orange, rust and red leaves on brush by Jeff Parker.

While we’re usually after golden light for fall photography, an overcast day often brings with it soft, even light. In fact, those overcast days that also bring with them a bit of rain can actually prove to be some of the best times for creating autumn forest scenes.

Such weather and lighting evens out tonalities, making it easier to hone in on details. It also tends to highlight the colors found in the leaves, woods, and other myriad beauty that can otherwise get lost in brilliant light. Another bonus: wet leaves can also add a special “zing” to your composition. Hope you enjoyed these fall photography ideas

by Jeff Parker

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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