If you’re like us, autumn photography is something you eagerly await all year. Say goodbye to the bland, bleached colours and hazy, washed-out skies of summer and welcome in the russets, reds and golds that dominate the countryside.
Autumn is a period of transition, when life slowly drains from the land, but instead of fading quietly it goes out in a blaze of glory, creating some of the most spectacular photo opportunities you’ll see all year. Over the next month in our Shoot Like A Pro series we’ll explore the techniques you need to shoot stunning pictures of Fall, and tantalise you with a mouthwatering selection of autumnal shots.
Each week we’ll update this post with a new batch of autumn photography tips for you to put in practice as the summer hues turn into Fall colours. We’ll begin with composition, and how to make sure you get the best views possible for your autumn photography.
Autumn Photography Tips: 01 Work yourself harder
Next time you head out with a camera, push yourself harder. Walk a little further and see if the scenery gets better, climb that hill for a bird’s eye view of the world, hike to that distant headland where the view along the coast will be clearer.
There’s an old saying, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’ and this definitely applies to landscape photography.
So the next time you head out with a camera, instead of settling for the first viewpoint you find, push yourself harder.
Walk a little further and see if the scenery gets better, climb that hill ahead for a bird’s eye view of the world, hike to that distant headland where the view along the coast will be clearer.
There’s an old saying, ‘The harder you work the luckier you get’ and this definitely applies to landscape photography.
Autumn Photography Tips: 02 Just add water
Water in its many forms is a great ally when shooting landscapes – which is just as well, since 70% of the earth’s surface is covered in it and, as we head towards autumn, rainfall levels rise dramatically.
Still water in lakes and lochs is ideal for capturing reflections. If you get down to the water’s edge you can create sublime, symmetrical compositions, with the landscape occupying the top half of the shot and its reflection filling the foreground.
Use a polariser to increase colour saturation on sunny days, but make sure it doesn’t spoil the reflections. A neutral density (ND) grad filter can also be useful for balancing the landscape and its reflection.
Reflections always come out darker due to the laws of physics, and a grad over the top half of the shot will let you give more exposure to the reflection so the final image is more balanced.
Autumn is a great time of year to shoot abstract reflections of vivid colours. Overhanging trees clothed in autumnal foliage will reflect in rivers and streams, and the gentle flowing of the water ripples and distorts them.
Use a telezoom lens to home in on these eye-catching patterns of colour.
Autumn Photography Tips: 03 Get down and dirty
If you want to bag the best shots, you have to get down there in the thick of it all and not worry about muddy knees or a soggy bum.
So don’t be afraid to lie on your back in the middle of woodland to get a great view of the autumnal canopy, or scramble up a slippery bank for a clearer view of the landscape.
Similarly, while you need to protect your gear, sometimes you need to take risks in pursuit of a great picture – like holding your camera at knee-level to capture waves breaking on a beach or resting it on the ground for an unusual viewpoint.
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PAGE 8: Autumn photography tips 22-24
PAGE 9: The best places for autumn photography in the UK
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Dull day photography: what (and how) to shoot when the sun isn’t shining
Fall color: how to photograph autumn leaves and seasonal textures
10 common landscape photography mistakes every photographer makes