Fall Foliage Photography 101, Part 2

phone-leavesIn the first of this two-part series, we covered some basic lighting compositional tips for photographing fall foliage. For example, don’t forget to shoot during sunrise or sunset hours, capture color combinations, move around fallen leaves if you want and try making a mirror reflection. Here are a few more helpful hints, plus some ideas for the more experienced photographer.

Tip #5: Isolate Colors and Detail

When you’re near a lake or river, take your foliage photography to the next level by isolating colors and detail. Rather than trying to capture the perfect reflection, you can aim to photograph the colors reflected in the water. This works especially well around sunset, when reflected light may make a lake appear golden from the foliage, though you can’t discern leaves in the reflection.

Tip #6: Create Fall Abstracts

If it’s too windy to get a clear photo of the foliage, embrace the impressionistic vibe. Photograph moving foliage using long exposures of a half second or more, for a blurry impression of the vibrant colors. This works best if there’s one static component in the photo, like a tree trunk.

If it’s not windy but you want to take an abstract photo, try creating your own motion blur using the panning technique. Set the shutter speed around the one-eighth mark and set a long exposure (half second to 2 seconds). Zoom in on a tree’s foliage, trying to frame it with some bright blue sky or a solid tree trunk. As you hit the shutter speed, pan your camera up and down or side to side. The result should be a blurry photo that appears to have leaves blowing in the wind.

Tip #7: Some Advanced Technical Ideas

For the best possible photos, try using a tripod, especially at dusk. Combined with a slow shutter speed and minimized noise, this will allow you to get a photo that focuses on still foliage while the background blurs away.

Here are a few more ideas: use a macro lens or macro mode for detailed close ups. Polarize your lens if you have an SLR or slightly underexpose your shots to deepen the saturation. Contrast and color saturation can be adjusted later on, in computer photo software. Experiment with your white balance settings.

Most importantly, once you’ve mastered these tips, don’t forget to back up your new foliage photos using the Fasetto app. Then, you can share your leaf-peeping adventures with family and friends, showing off your impressive photography skills in the process.


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