It's late September, and here on the coast of Maine I have already seen a few trees starting to show their autumn colors. Fall is my favorite season, I love shooting this time of year. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you are photographing fall foliage.
Check on-line foliage reports to find the best autumn colors in the area you'll be shooting.
Shoot early in the morning and late in the day for warm light, avoiding contrasty mid-day lighting. If the day is overcast, you can shoot all day! Blue skies are beautiful, but cloudy days will saturate those gorgeous colors. Just don't include that white sky in your composition, fill the frame with color.
I like early morning shooting best, morning mist can add wonderful mood and dew on the leaves is great for macro work. Bring your polarizer along to eliminate any glare on the leaves and boost color.
As with all of your photos, watch for distractions that do not add to the scene. Look carefully around the frame before you click that shutter. As my students frequently hear me say, "If it doesn't add, it needs to go." Eliminate anything that doesn't add to the story you want to tell with your photo.
Shoot from wide to macro, work your subjects!
Look up for backlit leaves....
Look down for reflected colors in streams, ponds, puddles and on any reflective surface.
I shot this one on the hood of a car!
Don't be afraid to make your own scenes. Adding that one perfect autumn leaf to a composition can add a wonderful focal point.
If it's windy, embrace that wind and shoot with a long shutter for a more abstract look.
Moving water with a long shutter speed creates an interesting look as well.
If it's not windy, you can play with camera movement instead. Pan, zoom, swirl and twirl, move that camera with a long shutter, it's fun!