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The top favorite time of year to snap some fantastic pics is certainly Fall. It’s not just about the foliage — there’s also the soft golden light and the ambiance of the season. So grab your camera and get ready for some fun Fall photography projects!

Technical Tips

The Magic Hours

As always the time right after sunrise and before sunset is the best time to plan your shots. The soft golden light will enhance the colors of fall to their max.

Use a Tripod

Since you’ll be shooting in low light you’ll want to avoid camera shake. If you want to be in the shot try the ease and flexibility of a Gorilla Pod, which you can wrap around trees and poles to hold your camera.

Overcast Days

Don’t always think a brilliant sunny day will yield the best shots. Cloudy skies act as a filter for the sunset and the sun will not wash out the brilliant colors of autumn.


Underexpose your shot slightly to bring out the hue of the colors as well. Also, try different settings on your white balance to see what effects you can achieve.


To bump up the contrast and get a truly classic Technicolor shot, try a polarizing filter. If you don’t have a filter, try increasing saturation and contrast in post-production. You’ll want to do some extreme close-ups, so grab your macro lens. The variety in Fall leaves is as endless and unique as snowflakes. Use a wide-angle to capture the entire scene of an endless landscape of color.

What to Shoot

The Foliage

With unearthly shades of vibrant reds, oranges and golds, the turning of the leaves is going to be your go to shot. There’s also all the activities surrounding them including gathering, raking and project making. Here’s a few to try:

1. Call your local botanical garden and ask what they recommend as the optimum time for picture taking. If you want to get really adventurous, try sites like AAA where they can recommend a pre-planned road trip to visit all the best spots as the leaves change.

2. Bring some leaves back home to your studio as well. You’ll have more control over your shots (especially if you are trying to shoot on a windy Fall day.) Try placing the leaves against a light box or apply to a window to get the details and textures of each leaf.

3. Select your favorite tree in your yard or town and plan to take a shot each day as it transforms from its summer green to the intense coloring of the season.

See more: How to Shoot Fall Foliage

Fall Photography

Fall Activities

4. If you have a yard (or even a nearby park) grab a rake and some kids. Snap away while everyone rakes the leaves into several piles. Have your subjects toss leaves in the air. Then, get ready for some action and have them each run and jump into the piles. Experiment with shutter speeds and panning techniques with these shots to get really capture the mayhem and swirling of the leaves.

5. Plan a trip to a local orchard or pumpkin patch. Make sure you have permission from any strangers that you may want to capture in your images. Always carry some blank photo release forms with you.

The Ambiance

6. Visit a local farmers market and select the most unusual shapes and colors of the harvest fruits and veggies. Gourds, squash, apples, pumpkins and more provide a plethora of subject matter for still life shots in your studio. Gather extra items such as unusual sticks, pine cones and needles and seed shells to add to your set up.

7. Many markets also sponsor activities such as cider making, and corn mazes. Check out their sites to see what workshops and events you can attend. Offer your services to the market and you may be able to also make some extra income as well or at the very least have some great stock shots on hand or next season. Also, see if you can create a “pop-up” portrait studio for visitors. Take along some 4×5 ink jet printer and the Canon Selphy printer and you’ll be able to sell shots on the spot.

Cheryl Woods

Cheryl Woods is an accomplished photographer, designer and branding consultant with a career spanning 20+ years. Her photographic work includes editorial, fashion, portraiture and product photography for major companies in the consumer products field including QVC and Hanover Direct. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts and an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cheryl's work has been exhibited at the Lowes Museum of Art in Coral Gables, FL, The New York Independent Film Festival and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Check out her website here!


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