When I do an outdoor shoot at this time of year, I’m always bowled over by the colours and the light.
Overcast skies give a soft light, while bright sunlight picks up the rich colours of the leaves giving them a vibrancy and glow.
On good days you’ll get a lovely mellow light and if you’re prepared to get up early, you may be rewarded with an atmospheric mist.
To give yourself the best chance of capturing some autumnal magic, go out just after sunrise or just before sunset when lighting is at its warmest.
Here are some ideas for you to try
1 If you have children, try to get lots of movement into your photographs. Get them throwing leaves into the air or running through piles of them.
Set a faster shutter speed – try 250-300, or use the sports mode if your camera has one.
2 For general landscape shots, set your aperture to f11 or landscape mode. Try to get ‘leading lines’ into your images – a fence for example, or a fallen tree. The ideal is to have the line lead in to the centre from the bottom left. Your images will have much more interest and depth.
3 Look out for the unusual. Look out for leaves reflected in water. Wait for the breeze to create ripples or make your own by skimming a stone across the surface, then shoot away. You’ll get some great abstract results.
4 You’ve probably been told never to shoot into the light. However, pointing your lens at a canopy of leaves with the sun behind them will capture their luminescence and brilliant colours.
5 Try something a bit different. Take close-ups of leaves on the ground, especially against contrasting textures like bark. Or take close-ups of single leaves on branches. Look out for fungi too. Set your camera to the widest aperture or use close-up mode to fade out the background so your subject stands out sharply.
6 Later in the season we may start to get frosts. This creates all kinds of magic! Spiders’ webs thickly coated in white, frosty berries in the hedgerows, dewy leaves and plants – they all make great close-up subjects.
7 Animals make excellent autumn subjects too whether it’s the family dog running through leaves or wildlife getting about their business. I live near Richmond Park, which presents a wealth of photographic subjects from deer to squirrels and not forgetting our famous brightly coloured, wild parakeets! They look amazing in the mellow autumn light. It’s worth getting into the park early to take photos of the deer – particularly if there’s a mist. But make sure you keep your distance and use the longest focal length you can!
8 Don’t forget your phone apps. Instagram has some great new features that give you even more control, and of course it offers a wide range of filters to enhance your photos. All the park images except the family ones have been taken on my iPhone with the Instagram app.
Happy autumn shooting!
Annie Armitage – Photographic Artist
Annie Armitage is a photographer who specialises in producing timeless images. As one of the top contemporary, family lifestyle photographers in the UK she produces images of pregnancy, newborn, babies of all sizes, families, teenagers (seniors), dogs and also has a commercial side to her business which is predominantly headshots as well as formal but approachable portraits for annual reports or PR purposes and lifestyle images for SME’s portfolios and website.
Annie is based in Kingston upon Thames but is available for commission throughout the UK and Ireland and Internationally. Annie’s main working areas within London and Surrey are:- Kingston, Surbiton, ThamesDitton, NewMalden, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Clapham, Battersea, Putney, Mayfair, Sloane Square, Holland Park Richmond, Barnes, Fulham, Sheen, Chelsea, Kensington, Hampton, Twickenham, Teddington, StMargarets and throughout Surrey including Guildford, Godalming, Woking, Cobham, Weybridge, Esher, Claygate, Oxshott and Ottershaw
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