After a summer of fun in the sun, fall is an ideal time to get back into photography. As leaves turn, the changing colors make for some excellent photo opportunities. You can include friends and family members in your photos, too!
The vibrant colors, the warm light and crisp air… it all makes for some very memorable photography sessions. You don’t want to miss out on capturing those memories!
This fall, be sure to take advantage of the gorgeous scenery around you by planning some photo shoots with friends or family members. Here are our favorite ideas for taking photos during this wonderful season:
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Fall harvest photography ideas
Photograph the harvest moon.
The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox and it’s also known as the corn moon, barley moon, and grape moon. This year’s harvest moon will be on September 6. A harvest moon is bigger and brighter than other full moons of the year because it occurs just before or during perigee—the closest point in its orbit of Earth (the farthest point would be apogee).
The small amount of light pollution we have here in Maine makes for a beautiful night sky!
Show closeups of leaves.
Fall is a great time to take photos of leaves. Not only are they beautiful, but focusing on the texture and patterns of leaves can also be a good way to practice macro photography.
Using a macro lens or close-up filter will allow you to get up close and personal with your subject, which will give you interesting bokeh (the out-of-focus areas that appear in your image) and help bring out all the detail you see in nature’s artwork.
Go to a corn maze.
Corn mazes are a classic fall activity, but they’re also great photography locations. You’ll want to go after the corn is harvested and you can walk around in it—and maybe even get lost (pro tip: bring a friend or two). Corn mazes are especially fun with friends or family members who are into adventure photography as well. A lot of corn mazes also have fun exhibits and games to explore, which will make for great photos as well!
Gather your friends and take a picture with pumpkins.
This is a great fall photo opportunity for any photographer. It’s not just about getting a good photo of the pumpkins, but also about bringing people together. You can do this with your family or friends, or even by yourself if you’re feeling brave! Buy some fresh pumpkins and put them in groups around your home – front porch, back yard or living room table – whatever feels right to you. Then get as close as possible with a wide angle lens so that all of your subjects are in frame (and maybe use a tripod to steady yourself). A flash will help illuminate the pumpkins so that they look their best against any background objects such as trees or wooden fences. Finally, reflectors are useful for filling shadows on those overcast days when there isn’t much light coming through the clouds
Capture the changing colors of leaves (keep an eye on weather reports).
The best time to capture the changing colors of leaves is in the early morning or late afternoon. Cloudy days are ideal for capturing fall foliage because they filter out the harsh midday light, which can cause dark shadows and blown-out highlights. In general, try to avoid shooting on sunny days—although if you have a really nice photo opportunity come up on one of those rare sunny fall days, go for it!
Also keep an eye on weather reports leading up to your shoot; if there has been no rain or wind recently (and if you’re lucky), then you’ll get some great photos with vibrant fall colors!
Go to a pumpkin patch.
A pumpkin patch is an ideal place to take pictures because there are so many things you can do there. You can take pictures of the pumpkins, or use your kids as a prop for a fun photo shoot. Your kids will love posing in front of the giant pumpkins and corn maze! If you’re feeling creative, try posing them on some hay bales—it’s an easy way to add some visual interest to the photo.
Photograph the harvest from above.
If you want to capture the harvest from above, try using a drone or high vantage point. This can be done with a crane and/or an elevated platform.
Another option is to use a telephoto lens with your camera to zoom in on the scene. You can also set up your tripod on top of a roof or tall ladder for higher compositions.
Have some fun with focusing techniques.
You can have a lot of fun with focusing techniques. Here are some ideas:
- Use a shallow depth of field. When you’re setting up your shot, focus on the closest object and then recompose so that the background is blurry. This will help create more interesting photos and draw attention to your subject in a way that’s dynamic and eye-catching!
- Use a wide aperture setting. The lower number on your camera’s lens (for example f/2 or f/4) correlates to its widest aperture and therefore produces the most blurred background possible for your photo, even if it’s just slightly out of focus; great for dramatic effect! You can also control how much sharpness is in an image by using hyperfocal distance—the point at which everything from half that distance all the way into infinity will be sharply focused when fully opened up at maximum aperture without stopping down any further than necessary (this works well under bright light conditions).
- Zone system: This method involves determining how far away from you each zone should fall based on its luminosity value relative to other objects nearby while simultaneously deciding whether they should be brighter or darker than normal so as not distract viewers who might otherwise find themselves distracted by colors instead of looking at what matters most….
Shoot some in-focus silhouettes, such as photos with sunbursts.
If you’re looking for a more dramatic fall photo, try shooting some in-focus silhouettes. A sunburst is a type of silhouette where the foreground is in focus and the background is blurred out. The effect can be created by using either a fast shutter speed or a wide aperture (lens opening).
Photographer Josh Rossi suggests choosing an exposure time between 1/100th to 1/1000th of a second when photographing sunbursts on sunny days: “Shutter speeds this fast will capture movement while keeping it sharp and crisp.” You can also use different lenses to get different effects: longer focal lengths like 85mm or 150mm will create softer backgrounds while wider angles such as 24mm will create sharper edges around your subject.
Capture the warm autumn light.
The warm glow of fall light is a photographer’s best friend. In the autumn, this golden light bathes everything with a gorgeous golden hue. This means you can take advantage of it to create dramatic and beautiful shots.
To make the most of this lovely light, try to shoot during the ‘golden hours’ of early morning and late afternoon when there are fewer sources of natural light around—and thus more contrast between your subject and its background. But be careful: if you wait too long into the day, you may have trouble getting enough exposure on your subject without blowing out (overexposing) all those whites in their fur or feathers. If that happens, simply dial down your camera’s ISO setting until they look right again.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you capture some of the magic of the fall harvest. It’s an incredible time to be outside and explore all that nature has to offer! Happy shooting!