And it is a fact: summer is over and autumn has begun, a time that is usually associated with nostalgia and melancholy and brings us waning days and unstable weather. However, it is also a station highly appreciated by photographers for its possibilities that facilitate obtaining fabulous images of nature and landscapes. If you are thinking of going out to take autumn photos, do not miss these tips to make the results measure up, either using a camera or a mobile.
Don’t be scared by rain or bad weather: the fallen leaves of the trees, the rain, the early sunsets and a less polluted sky than usual (thanks to the rain and the wind) are a characteristic autumn scene and very appropriate for photography. Of course, to take your photos to a higher level, nothing like taking a look at the following practical tips to get the most out of fall photos.
What is ISO sensitivity and how to use it in your photos
Why in fall
But first let’s see why the fall it’s a great time to take photos. It is something we have already talked about but it is convenient to review the various reasons that support this argument. Starting because the days are getting shorter, so you don’t have to get up early to capture a sunrise or wait until very late to enjoy the sunset and the magical hours.
In addition, at this time the light falls from a lower height and with a different path (due to the axis of rotation of the Earth), which makes the light is especially beautiful, that the sunrises and sunsets last longer and that the reddish skies are more frequent.
As we said, the skies at this time have less pollution and are clearer and the climate is very varied, with rainy days combined with other sunny ones or with big clouds. Therefore, in the same week we can have a great variety of weather scenarios that allow us to obtain equally varied photos.
Finally, one of the most characteristic things of this era is the great variety of colors that we can find in nature, with a predominance of yellow and red tones. The leaves of deciduous trees take center stage, both because of their color change and because of the carpet that is usually created when they fall to the ground in wooded areas.
Before going out to take photos
Being, as we have been counting, a time of changing weather, before taking out the camera / mobile and throwing ourselves into the street or the field to take advantage of it we have to be forewarned: if the sun is great (although it can change quickly), but if it is raining or it is a gray and rainy day, nothing should prevent us from going out to take pictures.
Therefore, we must be prepared to endure a day of water and wind, with waterproof outerwear (a good idea is the well-known “onion strategy” —you know, based on layers—). The question is to be able to endure in the rain without getting soaked for a certain time, and also to endure the large differences in temperature that usually occur at this time without ending up catching a cold.
As for the team, it is crucial protect it from the elements with some kind of protection starting with our bag or backpack; if it is a mobile, it will be enough to carry it in your pocket, but be careful that the pants do not get soaked and the device ends up also affected by humidity.
Of course it is ideal if we can use a smartphone or sealed camera to hold in the rain without problems (in the case of a camera eye that the lens is also sealed), but if this is not the case, only the essential mobile phone or camera will have to be taken out and kept in the breaks, taking advantage of clean the humidity with a cloth that we have prepared.
How to take good autumn photos
Finally we come to the section dedicated to take advantage of the great possibilities that autumn gives us to photographers. The truth is that most are not especially technical but are based on taking advantage of the peculiarities of this time of year, so they are perfectly suitable whatever the device we are going to use. Even so, we are going to see them and, if it is the case, we will discriminate how to act depending on whether we are using a camera or a mobile terminal.
The light, always the light
Taking photos is writing with light is an axiom of this art that comes to the fore in autumn. The autumn light has a special color especially during sunrise and sunset, with a golden tone which increases the attractiveness of the landscape and enhances its tones (warmer than ever due to the fallen leaves).
And if light is important it is not less the shadows it produces, which at this time lengthen and create very attractive effects; for example light that passes at a very low angle through forest trees and the shadows that are created as a result.
Use fill flash
Of course, sometimes these shades are not flattering, for example if they fall on the face of the main subject of the photo. For these cases, and for especially gray days, it is advisable to use fill flash, which can also avoid unpleasant shadows and help to highlight the dull colors of a shot.
And this, of course, we can do both through the function of the cameras that have a built-in flash (and which is precisely called “fill flash”) and through the typical mobile torch. Of course, you have to be careful not to go overboard with the light and that the result is the typical burned image or with a flattened perspective.
Be careful when measuring light
We are talking about strong light contrasts in the fall, so you have to be careful when taking photos so that the camera or mobile don’t be fooled in tricky lighting situations, such as a landscape with thunderclouds or sun rays hitting the target directly.
That is why it is advisable to learn what the light metering modes are and how to use them in the case of cameras. And if we shoot with a mobile, we have to be careful where the mobile measures the light (we will notice it because that area will be correctly exposed) and rectify if necessary. It is also convenient to try the HDR (or similar) modes of the device and try to shoot in RAW format (be careful, this is also valid for cameras) to have margin in case we want to recover over or underexposed areas.
Take advantage of the bokeh
The autumn season is perfect to take advantage of techniques such as bokeh, taking advantage of the contrast of colors typical of this era. From photographing some of the typical yellowish leaves blurring the rest of the image to taking advantage of a warm-colored background for a portrait with the background out of focus.
If you have knowledge of photography, you will imagine that this is much more feasible if you use a specialized camera with a bright lens, but it is also something that can be done with a mobile (or any type of camera) by following a series of simple steps or, as a last resort, using the mode Portrait terminal or camera.
Use the filters
Filters, broadly understood, are a very useful resource for autumn photos. Starting with the classic polarizing filter that, placed in a camera, allows enhance the tone and colors, enhance the blue of the sky and highlight the autumn clouds. A neutral density filter (and a tripod) can also be useful if you want to get a silky effect from waterfall water, a technique for which autumn is ideal as the light is less intense.
Of course we also talk about the filters that can be applied to photos taken with the mobile (and also with most cameras) in the style of the Ligthroom presets, an excellent resource for get spectacular images with just a few clicks.
Be careful with the composition
Composition is a crucial element in any photograph, and there it does matter which “artifact” we are shooting the photo with. Of course in autumn photos you have to take great care of this aspect although, logically, with some own peculiarities of the time:
Look for elements that enrich
The autumn landscape has a series of typical elements that can add interest to photography; we talk about things like the fallen leaves and branches, the drops of water that moisten the environment or the mushrooms that appear everywhere. These elements can add texture, add lines, or become patterns and, consequently, allow us to make the composition more interesting.
Another element to consider are the colors and their contrast, very important in autumn but where we can fall into the abuse of golden tones and be repetitive. For this reason, it is important to play with the contrast and the differences in tones, looking for different varieties of trees and plants (and other elements).
Take advantage of the water
It can be used in many ways, one of them very interesting is through the reflections that are produced in the typical puddles of autumn rain, in the water of lakes, fountains, etc. or in the windows, shop windows and the wet asphalt of the cities . The important thing is to try to take advantage of them and remember that reflections can act as a mirror to reveal the intense colors of autumn.
Secondly, rain and its effects can take center stage of the image or enhance the autumnal idea; From photographing the rain on a glass or a railing, to capturing the reaction of people in a city at a time when it starts to rain; passing, of course, by capturing the small leaves of rain on a fallen leaf.
Take care of the perspective and look for the original
This is something that is valid for any season of the year but due to its importance it must be included. We talk about things like the need to explore different perspectives in search of suggestive frames. For example, the fallen leaves and the varied colors of the trees in autumn make it quite pertinent to take advantage of the different perspective offered by chopped and contrapicked planes.
Is about try to be original and escape the typical autumn landscape (which is not bad either). On the other hand, let us remember that not everything is landscape and think that in autumn it is easy find blurred backgrounds that can be the ideal background for a portrait or for a close-up of an interesting object.
And with this we have finished with our tips for getting good fall photos. If you follow them, we are sure that you will be better prepared to go outside to visit the city, parks, forests, capture their special light and “soak up the autumn.”