photography for kids

5 Simple Photography Tips for Amazing Fall Photos

Planning a family leaf peeping trip this weekend? Or would you just like a great excuse to get outside and enjoy a beautiful fall day with your child or grandchild? These photography tips are for you!

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As the American poet, William Cullen Bryant, so perfectly professed, Autumn is “the year’s last loveliest smile.” Why not capture its joy in your camera’s lens?

When I think of how Henry Beston, a New England writer and naturalist, summed up fall, I wonder if he too had the seasonal wardrobe difficulties we have in our family. Beston wrote, “The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” After all, as reluctant as the seasonal changes are outside our window, the clothing changes inside are even slower. Our drawers and closets are overflowing with too many seasons’ worth of clothes, since we need a little bit of it all right now, with rather warm sunny days feeding into frost-filled nights. When we headed out to try some techniques for our Fall Photography Challenge, my young photographer personified my thoughts and chose an outfit that exemplified the day’s weather: shorts, a winter coat, and of course Bogs, the quintessential New Englander’s choice of shoe.

Photo Tips for Fall

She and I had enjoyed our first two Mother/Daughter Photography Challenges, and, with the beautiful foliage surrounding our days, she was eager for some photography tips for capturing some stunning autumn images. Thus began our third challenge: a Fall Photography Challenge. Whether you would like to try them on your own or with a child or grandchild, you’re sure to find that these 5 simple tips lead to some great fall photos.

{{ See the forest and the trees }}

Don’t be afraid to zoom in on colorful detail in the landscape. My Blogger wrote a whole post around this shot she took yesterday:

photography tips

But some shots beg for a wide angle. The beautiful yellow canopy over my daughter as she bowed down to get her camera ready was one I had to zoom out to capture.

photography tips yellow canopy

{{ Tell a story }}

With the explosion of unnamable hues around us for the few brief weeks of autumn, words become inert. Let your lens tell the stories.

Her attire spoke volumes and her companion was quintessential. I couldn’t help but let my camera write this narrative.

Photography Tips on dirt road

And her image of this long-ago-deserted bob house leads each viewer to craft their own story. (A bob house is a small, portable fishing shack that die-hard ice fisherman set up on iced-over New England lakes every winter.)

Photography Tips to tell a story

{{ Build on all you’ve learned }}

Regardless of the breathtaking beauty around us, we can’t do justice to the heavenly hues if we forget all the other techniques we’ve been talking about. (Eight fundamental basic techniques are covered in this recent post, followed by this one.)

My Blogger captured a stoically beautiful image of our now-deserted bird house. Yet without the use of the rule of thirds, it would have been too simplistic. (Use your camera or almost any photo editing program, under the “crop” function, to see the 9-paneled grid, and line up focal points accordingly.)

Photography Tips Fall Foliage rule of thirds

When I noticed her endearing four-legged sidekick was far enough in the distance to be a strong background element, I got down low enough to make the grasses a blurry foreground element and focused on the photographer for this nice layered look.

Photography Tips layered images

{{ Think beyond the trees }}

All fall foliage shots don’t have to be arboreal. Fall is a wonderful excuse to get outdoors and expand what you see, not limit it to one subject. From vibrantly growing mycelium fruiting bodies (fancy talk for “mushrooms”–guess what Biology module I’m studying with my daughters?) to simple signs or buildings that are suddenly matted in autumn’s richness, there are so many other things to see this time of year. My blogger and I didn’t have to go far to find interesting subjects.

Photography Tips for fall

Photography Tips find interesting subjects

{{ Just add water }}

Admittedly, adding the mirror-like quality of water is an effortless technique if you happen to be leaf peeping in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, but any pond or even puddle can be conducive to a great shot. We enjoyed using the reflective qualities of quiet morning waters as backdrops and center stage.

Photography tips add water

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 1.44.34 PM

Photography Tips just add water

And I couldn’t resist the appealing polka-dotted-duckweed spots scattered on the blackness of shallow shore water.

Photography Tips leaves

A few other tips my Blogger and I enjoyed as we challenged ourselves to get the best autumn pictures we could capture:

If the sky is grey and overcast (which by the way is the perfect time to capture the true colors of the leaves), minimize the amount of sky you show in your frame. Save the sky shots for the clear-blue days.

If you often feel that your foliage pictures never quite do justice to the beauty of reality, do some adjusting. If your camera or your photo editing program allows for it, just slightly increasing your saturation, contrast, and sharpness options will help your camera mimic the true colors the way your own eye captures them.

Whatever techniques you decide to try, enjoy capturing “the year’s last loveliest smile.”

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Psalm 96:12

Don’t miss this post, full of a dozen more inspiring ideas–>



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13 Comment

  1. Wow these pictures are amazing . We have an all singing all dancing camera and one day would love to be able to use it to its full potential #KCACOLS

  2. Some amazing photos! The landscape around where you live is stunning. I wish I had read your tips before I took my autumn photos here. I’ll need to try harder next year. Thanks for your advice #KCACOLS

  3. Wow these are beautiful photos and your daughter is so talented too! The tips are great, and I know they help for taking the best pictures, but with the beautiful colours that you have in these photos, I’m sure even I could’t get it too wrong! #KCACOLS

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