How to capture autumnal abstracts: video guide

The transitional period between summer and winter is an outdoor photographer’s dream. We all know autumn for its vibrant, warm colours and atmospheric sunlight, which makes it the perfect season to explore nature with your camera. 

Some photo projects require precision and concentration, but you can easily combine this particular one with a family day out. And if you've got kids, why not get them involved too? Rather than nailing any timing or camera settings, the key for success here is to hone your creative eye and really consider the lighting in the environment. 

We’ll be taking an abstract approach, and focusing on the golden hues and shapes rather than taking standard wide-angle landscape shots.

Max your aperture

To get started, you don’t need any fancy or specific kit. Our 50mm lens always does a fantastic job whenever we want to capture something that’s a little bit outside the norm. By throwing it open to the widest maximum aperture of f/1.8 for example, we were able to look up through the leaf canopy and focus manually somewhere in the foliage. Working with a fixed focal length generally forces you to reconsider what makes a good composition, so give it a go if you don’t usually. 

The direction of the light is also key to getting stunning autumnal captures. For example, back-lighting enhances the luminant hues of autumn leaves, as the sunlight pierces through. For the most brilliant colours, try shooting towards the canopy into a bright sky.

Handheld approach

Using a tripod is likely to be cumbersome, slow you down and hinder your spontaneity. This project is all about embracing your own creativity, and taking inspiration from the autumnal subjects surrounding you. Hopefully you’ll find handheld shooting freeing. Remember, abstract shots don’t have to be focussed perfectly to look gorgeous!

Fall fun with filters

This approach is less about getting technically perfect results. One of the biggest challenges here is throwing the idea of what makes a conventional shot out of the window. Force yourself to slow down, and try making use of manual focus to pull out different layers of the leaf.

We also had a play around with some warming filters: the Lee Filters Autumn tint set–in our shoot. There were three different coloured filters to choose from, and these gave our shots another level of warmth. The Autumn Tint Set makes the most of the rich golds, reds and browns that typify the Autumn season, and they can be used as both hard grads and standards in your scenes. 

There’s plenty to keep you busy with this project, so don your boots and a scarf and get out in those crunchy leaves.

Read more: 6 ways to get the most out of your kit lens