Here are some tips to help you as you venture out this fall in hope of capturing some autumn color:
Pay attention to the direction of your light. Most trees will look great backlit which gives leaves a translucent quality and adds a nice rim light emphasizing their shape and form and helps separate them from the background as well as each other.
Use a polarizing filter to help darken your blue sky, saturate leaf color and reduce haze not to mention the removal of any reflective glare coming from wet or shiny leaves.
Look for complementary colors. Complementary colors work to enhance each other by making each appear more vibrant than they would alone. Think warm yellow/orange aspen leaves against a cool blue sky or bright red maple leaves against an evergreen backdrop.
Don’t forget to shoot the fallen leaves on the ground; these can be as colorful as those on the trees. Don’t be afraid to gather-up some colorful leaves and strategically arrange them on a foreground rock or log, the pros do it, you can too.
What setting should you use? You need to use fast shutter speeds to freeze motion and wide-open apertures to blur your backgrounds for those specimen shots. Try 1/250 or faster and f/2.8 – f/4. Of course, you’ll need to use a smaller aperture for those grand scenic vistas of mountain side color, try f/8 or f/11 for those shots where you are not including a close foreground element to maximize sharpness. Finally, when you are close to a foreground element you will need to go even smaller, f/16 or f/22 to maximize your depth of field.
Use these tips to help make your next fall foliage outing a success!