Photography – Shooting Autumn Leaves

autumn-leaves1Leaves are a very popular subject when it comes to autumnal photography due to their great variation in color at this time of year. If you are creative these subjects can offer great photographic potential. Here are 5 quick tips to make sure you make the most of the autumn weather.

1. Ice – As the temperature drops outside leaves invariably become frozen in puddles, these can produce great photos. You can always pour cold water on the ice to remove the crystals and give it a really clear look, conversely you can scratch the surface to add some interest. If you can’t wait for the temperature to drop you can always stick some leaves in a water filled plastic container and freeze it overnight, just remember to fill your frame when you take the shot.

2. Falling leaves – As the leaves start to fall a rich carpet of yellows and reds starts to form. To get a sense of leaves falling without having to wait for a strong gust just ask an assistant to drop some whilst you snap away. Aim for a wide aperture to blur the background and go for shutter speeds of between ½ sec and 1/30 to get a sense of motion, you may need an overcast day or a neutral density filter as with the aperture wide open at this speed you may over expose during the day.

3. Soft focus – A quick, cheap way of adding a soft focus filter to your lens is adding a clear piece of plastic to the front of the lens (Cling film) and breathing on it, or on your UV filter if you have one. This will add a soft ethereal feel to your shots, just remember if you are breathing on your filters to give them a good clean after.

autumn-leaves24. Back lighting – A great way to capture the vivid autumn colours is use the sun to back light them. This works great if you can shoot with a dark, shaded background. Remember if the back ground is dark the leaves may over expose so dial in a -1 stop to compensate and keep the darks dark and correctly expose the leaves. If the background is very bright you’ll have to add +1 stop to stop the leaves under exposing.

5. Get low, go wide – To really emphasise the coloured carpets so abundant in Autumn, fit a wide angle lens and get low down, focusing on a close leaf and fill the frame with the leaves going away into the distance, open spaces such as parks are great for this.

I am a photographer based in the north of England, Check out my website at or my blog at

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