How to capture autumnal abstracts: video guide

1. Use live view

When you’re shooting at unusual angles or pointing the camera high into the trees, you’ll find it easier to shoot with Live View engaged rather than using the Viewfinder. Zoom in to the scene on the screen if you need to check the focal point of your images.

2. Look for subjects

Try shooting vivid subjects against contrasting backgrounds,such as a coloured berry against a plain green backdrop. You could also seek repetitive patterns and textures made by tree bark or piles of leaves. Look around your feet as well as at eye-level.

3. Aperture priority

As we were shooting handheld and moving around a lot, it made sense to put the camera into Av exposure mode. We selected a wide aperture of around f/1.8 and then let our DSLR set the shutter speed for us.

4. Use backlighting

For the dreamiest hues, aim to shoot towards the canopy into a bright sky. Because the bright light will cause your camera to underexpose the shot, dial in a positive exposure compensation of 1 stop.

5. Soft focusing 

Your camera lens might struggle to focus on backlit scenes and dense layers of leaf canopy (ours did). Try switching to manual focus instead. The results are meant to be abstract, so it doesn’t matter so much if the focal point is unclear – use your artistic instinct.

6. Boost the hues

A few simple enhancements in Camera Raw can make all the difference to your final shots. Boost the Vibrancy levels, take the Blacks down, and then bump up the Contrast and Clarity levels. For our shot, this processing helped to bring out veins in the leaves.

Read more: Cheat sheet: How to take the perfect landscape shot