|Fall is a time for pumpkin hunting, apple picking, corn mazes... and spectacular fall photos! Here are some fall photography tips to help you make the most of your fall photo shoots this season, whether you are out and about in the Capital Region, heading north for Adirondack leaf peeping or elsewhere.
Photography is all about sharing your passions with the world through film. Fall photography in particular gives you the opportunity to capture the scenes that make you say, "Wow," and pass that on to others.
With camera in hand, set out
to local parks, take to the city streets or go on a day trip to find pieces of fall that make you stop.
Another piece of the puzzle is having the passion to do what it takes in order to get a great photo, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone a bit to get that truly great shot.
For example, fall colors are most vibrant and crisp after a rain, so put your boots on and head out into the mud. Early morning and late afternoon are the prime times for photographing scenes without stark contrasts, so set your alarm for dawn and get out there. If you pass by a great fall scene in your car, you may need to turn around and hunt for a parking spot.
Half of the battle is just making sure your camera is always by your side because you never know when you may need it!
Anyone can point and shoot, but what makes fall photography truly stunning is creating a new perspective. Try to avoid expansive long shots of the trees, but work into your shot elements in the foreground and the background to create depth and dimension.
A hanging leaf in the upper corner of your photo, a canoe, a naked branch, a lamp post, a park bench, a small tree, a boulder... take a look around and discover what you can use to "ground" the picture and give the viewer the feeling that they are standing there with you.
Take a different perspective on the world when you want to shoot truly unique fall photography. There is nothing wrong with squatting, "going out on a limb" or laying flat out on the ground to get those great perspectives (again, this goes back to the passion piece with how uncomfortable you may need to get). Note: Getting uncomfortable should never mean being unsafe, so be sure to practice caution when experimenting with new perspectives.
Need a new perspective? Imagine you are a bug on a fallen leaf, looking up at an angle to see the fallen leaves around you as well as the surrounding trees. Imagine you are a tree frog sitting on a branch, staring straight across the limb to the outer leaves. Imagine you are
a peeping Tom, peeking through the branches at a couple holding hands in the park. Imagine you are a young child reaching for a cattail or playing in the weeds beside a big old barn. The possibilities are endless, but really challenge yourself to take a new perspective.
Use props for your photos! Don't wait for a great shot to appear... create one! Scour nature for props, from fallen leaves to mossy logs, flowers, stones, pine cones, mushrooms and more!
Drop a colorful leaf into a puddle, and snap away. Set a flower across a park bench. Gather up some pinecones in a bed of colorful leaves. Use your imagination, and create great scenes using natural props.
While it is true that you can turn anything into a prop, you may also want to consider bringing a few things from home to set up some unique shots.
For example, an old stuffed animal forgotten among fallen leaves can appear totally unplanned. Or set up a couple glasses of wine beside a wine bottle on a make-shift table beside a scenic overlook. Throw those old Adirondack chairs in the back of the truck, or set them up in the yard for a fall shot, and test out different perspectives. The possibilities are endless!
Keep in mind that people make great natural props!
The trick to using people in your shots is to have them NOT look into the camera lens.
If you just want great shots for friends and family, of course it is perfectly fine to have your kids or family members looking at the camera, but if you want impressive fall photography to share with strangers, it is better to avoid putting the focus on faces, but rather on the scene itself.
Need some ideas on how to do this effectively? Photograph a couple holding hands from behind. Get a shot of a few kids throwing leaves into the air, faces and hands turned up to the sky. Capture a toddler in the grass, as he or she is looking down at the fallen leaves. Go hiking, and include a family in the distance as you photograph the view.
People help to add life to your shot, and even strangers will feel a connection.
You may be surprised to find this as one of our 5 P's for Fall Photography Tips, but you really can't downplay the importance of a good photo editing program to make your fall photos even better.
It doesn't necessarily have to be PhotoShop, but we chose it as our category name because it is widely known and because it starts with P.
Most computers come with a basic photo editing program where you can crop, straighten out photos, adjust the brightness and contrast, make the colors more vivid, remove red eye, etc. Or you can download a free program, like Google Picasa, which will give you all of those options and more.
In addition to basic editing,
you may also wish to go more in-depth and add special effects and enhancements to your photos. Feel free to get creative and experiment with all the features available in the program you are using.
These last-minute touch ups can make a big difference and may help turn a great photo into a spectacular one.
Keep these 5 P's in mind when you go out shooting your fall photography this season, and create masterpieces you (and others) will enjoy for years to come. Happy shooting!
Article & Photography By: Destiny Malone
Find more fall fun ideas in this Fall Guide to Albany!