“Fall In the Rockies”
© Copyright Vicki Tinnon
Autumn is here and you know what that means: Color! Check out Vicki Tinnon’s photo, shown above, entitled “Fall In the Rockies” for a beautiful example of a kaleidoscope of color on Bear Lake.
Sure, the other three seasons have their colors, but Autumn is right up there with Spring in the competition for best color. Summer and Winter just make Autumn and Spring look even better.
Honestly, there’s nothing special you need to know to shoot for Autumn, compared to any other time of the year. The list below, from Digital Photography School, is mostly a refresher on things to consider whenever you’re shooting. I’ve presented the items in a different order though: My list starts with easy things you can do, and ends with things that may be challenging for beginners.
1. Shoot in the Golden Hours. For best results, and typically the best, most interesting light outdoors, try to shoot between an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunrise, and an hour before sunset and an hour after sunset. We’ve talked about this topic before in the Photobird Daily, in the article “It’s All About the Light“.
2. Don’t ignore overcast days. Overcast days can be ideal because the scenery will have a distinct mood to it. On completely overcast days, the light from the sun will be flat because the clouds will diffuse the light. This type of light will create few shadows, which can be advantageous for photographing people, or just getting straightforward, clear shots of objects.
3. Avoid shooting into the Sun. Shooting into the Sun will result in shadows, glare, lower saturation of colors, and lens flares, if you get any useful shots at all. Keep the Sun at your back or to the side.
4. Look for contrasts. Accentuate the colors in your photos by framing your shots so you can pair different colors with each other. For example, golden leaves on a blue sky, or a red leaf on lush green grass.
5. Adjust White Balance Settings. One of the first things I do when using a camera outdoors is to change the White Balance setting to Cloudy, which will warm up and saturate the colors more. Some cameras allow you to increase the color temperature using numbers on a Kelvin scale. You can always test the difference yourself to see if you like the results: Take some photos of the same scene using the Auto White Balance setting and some with the Cloudy setting.
6. Underexpose your shots slightly. Lower the exposure on your shots just a bit and the colors will have a slightly deeper saturation.
7. Use a polarizing filter. It’s very rare for point-and-shoot cameras to have the ability to attach different filters to their lenses like SLRs can. Polarizing filters saturate colors, especially making beautiful blue skies. It’s a similar effect to what you see when looking through polarized sunglasses.
8. Consider shooting in RAW. In the days of film cameras, photographers could use warm up filters to give photos a slightly warmer glow. While digital SLRs can still use warm up filters, using your computer and photo software to post-process your photos can be easier and more flexible. If you decide to go that route, the RAW file format will usually provide better results than shooting in JPEG. But not all cameras can produce RAW photo files. We wrote earlier about the RAW file format in our Photobird Daily article “RAW Format Diet“.