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Photographing Fall Foliage Part Deux

Last time we offered some suggestions on making fall colors pop. But how do you make your photos stand out from the thousands of other fall photos and avoid the old worn out cliches?

A good photo still needs a point of interest that draws the viewer into the photo. Find a point of interest to create a stronger image. Look for a lone tree in a field, some wildlife, a winding path or a fence. Don’t forget to find leading lines that bring a viewer’s eye where you want it.

Try different perspectives. Find an overlook above all that autumn color. An overlook is an ideal opportunity to create a panorama.

If getting above the action isn’t possible, try shooting low for a new perspective. Those trees will look bigger and taller if shot from below.


Take advantage of the fog or morning mist. Fall colors will be muted, but it will add an interesting moody atmosphere to your photo. Put a bright tree in the foreground while the background is veiled in a mist, softening the contrasts and adding depth of field which will separate your subject from the background.

The golden hour-- the hour following sunrise or preceding sunset -- will help avoid harsh shadows and create warm colors. A cloudy day makes colors look richer. Remember to increase your ISO to maintain a nice depth of field on these days.


This is also a perfect time of year to take advantage of reflections. Lakes, ponds, rivers, even puddles, can capture colorful reflections and add even more pop to your photo. Long exposures that blur waterfalls or fast moving water can be exceptionally striking against the fall foliage.

Focus on the details. Photograph a single leaf, an acorn, bursting milkweed pods or mushrooms growing on the side of a tree. Use a large aperture to blur background.

Have fun and practice some new artistic techniques such as in-camera double exposures or add camera movement to create motion. The trick here is to be sure the viewer still knows what they’re looking at.

For more inspiration, check out some of the photo sites on the internet to get some fresh ideas. Flickr, Instagram or 500px have stunning photos you can scroll through for free.

Minnesota is nearing its peak for fall colors, so I hope you all take the time and take advantage of the season.


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