Fall Color Road Trip Part II

Shooting Fall Color

by Kevin Moss

My Tips for Fall Color Shooting

1. Look for overcast or rainy days to shoot: That’s right! Bright sunlight can wash out the colors of the leaves, leaving you with “flat” looking images. The best time to shoot fall color is right after it rains, when there is still cloud cover, but the trees are wet, giving you nice dark bark contrasting with the color of the leaves.

2. Shoot on a tripod: This is a must for sharp images.

3. Use a small aperture setting: I often shoot my fall color shots at f/16 to f/22, small aperture settings, in order to get sharp foregrounds and sharp backgrounds, especially for wide-angle shots of trees.


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4. Get in close: Make it a habit of shooting your scenes wide-angle first, then proceed to zoom in for another series of close-up shots, maybe just of sections of trees and colorful leaves. Lastly, move in even closer for close-ups of maybe a handful of colorful leaves.

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Don’t forget to get in close…

5. Use a circular polarizer: Your best friend for many scenes of fall color, is to put a circular polorizer over your lens. The circular polorizer will reduce glare from the leaves, and help saturate colors in your shot. Experiment with rotating the filter element so as not to “overdue” it, darkening the scene too much. Just rotate your element enough to reduce the glare of the leaves, and to make the colors “pop” just a little.

6. Watch for windy days: You may have to make adjustments for faster shutter speeds in dark days and in windy conditions in order to make sure the tree limbs and leaves remain sharp. Alternatively, a little movement in some images add a nice effect. Experiment!

Your window for fall color shooting in your area is probably only a few weeks a year. Additionally, you don’t have to travel far. You can get some great fall color shots within a mile of your home if you look hard enough, maybe even as close as your own backyard.

Happy autumn shooting!


Next Up: Fall Color Road Trip: Part III, Shooting the Stars
Check out my BetterPhoto course Digital Nature Photography with Photoshop and Elements
My websites:
Kevin Moss Photography
The Kevin Moss Gallery


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Reflections in a pool




Article by Kevin Moss. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at BetterPhoto.com.