How to take better Autumn photographs

Photographing the Best of Fall with Variety

Sep 15, 2020

Fall, although short-lived where I’m from, is one of my favourite times of the year. Cozy knitted oversized sweaters, leather booties, apple cider, a carefully crafted apple pie, the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg and that spicy scent lingering in the air after a marathon day of salsa creation all flood my senses with a warm nostalgic sensation. Since the autumn season spans only a few weeks before those winter snowflakes begin to fall, I like to prepare for myself a list of autumn images I hope to capture this year. As I plan my seasonal ideas, I've thought about a few ways in which I can infuse variety into the images I capture. Today I'm sharing these thoughts with you. 

1. Use a wide-angle lens

Lenses that are 35mm and wider are considered wide-angle—this focal range permits a photographer with the opportunity to capture a large scene. Wide angles during the fall are fantastic when the goal is to capture a larger setting. If you have a wide-angle lens, be sure to take it with you on your photo outings. All of that gorgeous autumn colour can be photographed perfectly with a wide-angle.

Wide angles are also fantastic when capturing images with a bird's eye view perspective. This highly attractive perspective is one you'll want to incorporate into your autumn images. 

ISO 1000, 35mm, f23.2, 1/200SS

2. Use a telephoto

70mm and greater are usually considered telephoto focal lengths. Telephoto lenses make your subject and background appear closer than what you visually observe with your own eyes. Telephoto lenses are fantastic for isolating your subject from other extraneous elements in a scene, and you remain far enough away from your subject so that they can play naturally.

ISO 400, 86mm, f3.2, 1/2500SS

3. Open up your aperture

Many photographers often favour the byproduct of wider aperture use. Buttery background bokeh, thin slices of focus and sparkly light are all attributes of wider apertures. When using wider apertures, make sure that you are still working within your focal plane. Sometimes large apertures can be too thin, resulting in what should be in focus within an image becoming out of focus or only partially in focus. I always recommend the use of a depth of field calculator should you question the size of your focal plane.

On the other hand, be sure to embrace the creative blur that comes with wider apertures. Take freelensing as an example, as this technique involves opening up your aperture to its most expansive. This large aperture results in a thin slice of focus with stunning blur throughout the rest of the frame.

ISO 400, 122mm, f2.8, 1/2000SS

4. Close down and capture the full scene in focus

Smaller apertures and fall go hand in hand. The show that nature puts on this time of year deserves to be in focus. Smaller aperture choices result in larger planes of focus, which will showcase a fall scene in its entire splendour. Autumn makes the landscape photographer in me giddy with excitement. There’s not enough time to capture the stunning colours of fall in the landscape scenes that I love the most. Even if landscape photography is not your passion using a small aperture is perfect for capturing your little people amidst a brilliantly coloured scene. The human element amidst a gorgeous landscape makes stunning autumn images! 

ISO 100, 24mm, f14, 1/200SS

5. Think creatively when capturing photographs

Take a few creative risks this autumn season. Don't be afraid to try a new technique or change up your go-to composition. Try shooting through a leaf or using light differently. There are many ways in which to infuse creativity into images. It's well worth it to take a few risks! You just might come away with something you love, and if not, then I can guarantee you've learned something by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

ISO 400, 175mm, f3.2, 1/2500SS

Autumn is nearly here! It's not too soon to start brainstorming image ideas. Jot down a little list of images you'd like to capture this season so that when fall arrives, you'll be ready to make the most of this beautiful season because it won't be long before fall fades beneath a blanket of snow.

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