September 25, 2019 2 Comments

It’s officially Autumn and you know what that means? We’re officially on step closer to winter, the best season ever! Okay, okay we’ll admit. Even us winter lovers here at Vallerret get excited about the crisp autumn air and the phenomenal colour show we get to see as the leaves change from green to yellow to orange and red.

In addition to putting us closer to our beloved winter, autumn has a lot to offer when it comes to photography. Bold colours, high contrasts, warm white balances. Autumn is a great time to experiment and improve your skills. With a bit of planning, you’ll be well on your way to excellent autumn photos in no time! Here are our top tips for breathtaking autumn photography. 

1. Take advantage of the weather changes:

You might associate autumn with blue skies, colourful leaves and warm sun but often, the weather has its own ideas of what it wants to do. No matter how much you might want that blue sky, you might instead end up with an overcast day or even a spot of rain and mist.

Don’t worry! This weather can be perfect for your autumnal shoot. Misty, cloudy days help bring out the vibrancy and contrast of the leaves which can enhance your image by eliminating distracting colours. Don’t get discouraged if your colours seem a bit muted, you can always tweak and enhance in post-processing to get your desired mood. 

autumn trees on a misty lake
Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash.

2. Play with symmetry 

Autumn is the time to highlight nature’s beauty and part of that beauty lies within its ability to be perfectly symmetrical. Try focusing in on a single symmetrical leaf, using a narrow aperture to create visual depth of field. Or maybe you find a street lined with colourful trees that help create balance and symmetry while also directing your eye. Find a puddle to reflect a colourful scene. The bright colours paired with a symmetrical scene will create a compelling image.

drone shot of autumn trees and street
Photo by Lance Asper on Unsplash.

3. Don’t forget your composition

With all the beauty autumn holds, it can often be easy to lose track of your composition. Don’t worry, we’ve all be guilty of this one at some point. When an entire scene is so beautiful, it can be easy to use your wide-angle to try and capture it all. While this can sometimes work, it often results in a confusing image. The viewer isn’t quite sure what to look at and the eye seems to drift all over the photo.

Instead of trying to capture it all, spend time looking for things that stick out. A single leaf in a puddle, one branch for a tree with multicoloured leaves, reflections in a puddle. Don’t forget your photography basics like the rule of thirds and leading lines. Anyone can point and shoot a camera but the really interesting images give you a unique perspective on a common scene. 

railroad winding through autumn trees
Photo by Adam Bixby on Unsplash

4. Try minimalism

Instead of trying to shoot a large colourful scene, try instead to compose a minimalist photo. A single leaf. A lone tree. Getting granular and focusing on one item will help eliminate any distractions from the photo keeping the focus simple and clear. 

single hand holding a red leaf
Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash.

5. Seek the golden hour

It’s no secret that golden hour is already one of the most popular times of the day to shoot but this is especially true in autumn. The warm tones are enhanced by the yellow and orange leaves and the soft light makes for some exceptionally beautiful images. Because the tones are likely to be so warm, you might find that your camera’s auto balance may try to neutralize the colours, resulting in a bland or blue tone. You can change your white balance to sunny or if you’re shooting in RAW (and you should be!) you can always tweak the white balance later. Just be careful not to overdo it. Too much warmth will look unnatural. 

golden hour in autumn
Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash.

6. Don’t forget late autumn! 

When the leaves fall and the trees are bare, you might think your window of opportunity for a compelling autumn photo has closed but don’t be too hasty. Late autumn provides just as many opportunities for beautiful shots. Bare trees can add drama to your photo and the collection of brown leaves on the group will help create an interesting contrast. 

Bare trees can add a dramatic effect to your photo and the brown leaves will add an interesting contrast.

bare trees in autumn
photo by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash.

7. Experiment with wildlife photography

When autumn arrives, the animal world starts to shift, as they prep and get organized for the colder months ahead. Autumn can be the perfect time to capture animals as they prepare for winter. Many birds will start migrating south, some mammals will start storing food for the winter, many mountain animals will start to move down in elevation as the temperatures drop. Autumn is a great time to not only capture the animals but also to capture their relationship with the seasons and their seasonal routines. 

deer walking in a misty autumn scene
Photo by Esther Wilhelmsson on Unsplash.

Recommended settings for autumn photography

General Landscape:
ISO 100
Shutter speed: depends on how much natural light is in the scene. For handheld photography, the minimum shutter speed you want is 1/50 seconds. 

f/1.4 or f/2
ISO 100 or low
Shutter speed: at least 1/125 depending on what you’re shooting. Animals like a flying bird will need a faster shutter speed for maximum sharpness compared to an idle fox. 

Autumn Portrait:
f/1.4 or f/2
ISO 100 or low depending on the light
Shutter speed of at least 1/125

Autumn night photography:
f/1.4 or f/2
ISO for new moon conditions: 1600 to 6400
ISO for full moon conditions: 400 - 800
Shutter speed: 2 - 10 seconds
*Remember you’ll need a tripod for long exposures 

Moving water:
f/8 - f/11
ISO: as needed depending on the light. Try to keep it low.
Shutter Speed: 1/15 or slower
*Remember you'll need a tripod for a slow shutter speed


If you liked this post, you’ll love these too!

Winter is no joke! Keep warm and shop our range of Vallerret Photography Gloves.

2 Responses


November 11, 2019

Ha, René! That works too!

René Peterse
René Peterse

November 11, 2019

Moving water? Shutter Speed as short as you can! I want the splatter and the glinstering. No fairytale scene for me.

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