How to take a great fall photo: 8+ tips you should know

Oct 09, 2013
Photographers Dudley and Miller dish the tips that will make your fall photos pop.

Everyone loves dazzling fall photos. They capture the vibrant hues, golden light and fleeting beauty of the season. Expert photographers Byron Dudley and Gary Miller share 10+ tips that will help you take your own fab fall photo!

Some of their favorite spots: aspens at Indian Ford Meadow Preserve, cottonwood colors at Camp Polk Meadow, groves of aspen at Black Butte Ranch, reflections and foliage at Suttle Lake, and vine maples at the Metolius River.

  1. Take photos at times of day when your shadow is longer than you. “Use the wonderful light of the golden hours before sunset and after dawn whenever possible on sunny days,” says Miller.
  2. Use the weather to your advantage, says Miller: On bright days, avoid shooting mid-day when the light is the harshest. Instead, opt for twilight or dusk. Cloudy days produce even lighting without harsh shadows.  Miller loves rainy days: “Rain and moisture make natures colors come to life in a new way. Although I will actually shoot protected in a light drizzle, especially close-up shots, the moment the rain stops can be truly magic especially if sun, dark clouds and rainbows start mixing together. Fantastic light can happen. Be ready to go.” Moving, mixed clouds add character and interest in the background. They’re great for wider landscape shots.
  3. Think visually. According to Dudley, “most fine photographs appear first in the mind’s eye of the photographer.”
  4. Learn to see a potential photograph both horizontally and vertically, says Dudley. Experiment and shoot shots in different ways and a variety of angles. Try something new.
  5. Plan ahead. “Good photographs are not made by accident,” says Dudley. Scout spots and take mental notes of when the leaves begin to change at certain locations.
  6. Shoot aspens and fall leaves against blue skies. “Generally keep the sun behind you for the color to really pop,” says Miller. But beware of slow shutter speeds, especially in low light or wind—leaves are often moving objects.
  7. Use a tripod—the one that is in the back of your closet. “With the help of a tripod your photos will turn out crisp—even with longer exposure times,” advises Miller.
  8. Shoot the hues, shoot the huge, shoot the humble, says Miller. “Open your eyes to everything around you big and small—there is great beauty in simplicity.” Fall close-ups make great photos.