Fall picture

5 Ideas For Your Fall Foliage Photos

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

While growing up, autumn was never my favorite season. I spent my childhood in Sinaia, a beautiful mountain resort nested in the heart of the Romanian Carpathians mountains. I was surrounded by beautiful peaks and forests, which turned into a potpourri of breathtaking colors in the fall. My relatives made sure to visit us during this time and they couldn’t get enough of the views from my balcony. I thought they were crazy. To me, autumn was all about the end of summer vacation and going back to school. September 15th was the first day of school back then.

While I wouldn’t say that fall is now my favorite season, I have to admit that I really enjoy and appreciate its beautiful colors a lot more –  especially since I’ve become passionate about photography. I would like to share with you some tips and ideas to get you started with your foliage photography this season.

Before you go shooting, I suggest you check a foliage map in your area. The peak is a very small window and you have to do a little bit of planning ahead, especially if you have to drive some distance to get to the best spots. Here is a good source for checking fall foliage in your area: Fall Foliage Maps.

The most important factors that affect fall foliage are out of our control. The colors and timing of the foliage are affected by temperature, precipitation, etc. Learn morehere. We can always hope for the best colors, but even if sometimes they are not vibrant, your photos can turn out very interesting with a little creativity.


1. Try the Starburst effect

Fall pictureThis is mostly trial and error and you might have to try quite a few shots until you’re satisfied with the results. Here is how I shot this photo. I set my camera on Speed Priority, ISO 100, speed at 0.5 sec.  I tried holding the camera steady and I zoomed out as I was holding down my shutter. Feel free to experiment with different shutter speeds and angles, but keep in mind that if you shoot on a bright day, you may need an neutral density filter.

2. Look for reflections

Fall picture

For this, you need to find a body of water. I think the vibrant autumn colors become even more dramatic when reflected in a lake, river, etc.

3. Zoom into a reflection

Fall picture

Since you found the water and took a few shots of the trees and their reflection, why not try zooming into the reflection. This can create a cool effect. It almost looks like an abstract painting.

4. Include people in your photos

Fall picture - couple walking in park BostonYou may have to be patient and wait a bit for the right moment – people walking by or why not ask your friends for help. In my opinion, including people in your shots helps the viewer connect more with your picture. And this holds true for any picture.You can even tell a story with your shot, while showing beautiful foliage in the background.

5. Shoot from a moving vehicle
Fall pictureThis can also create an abstract painting effect. You can achieve similar results by using a lower shutter speed and moving the camera as you press the shutter button. Don’t forget to check out my other fall blog post.
For more photography tips and ideas, check out my latest photography book, Picture (Im)perfect Photography, now available at Amazon.

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