The nine golden rules for great autumn shots

The Rules – The nine golden rules for great autumn shots.

1 Get planning

Making the most of any subject requires some planning, and that certainly applies in autumn. It’s important that you get out and explore. Start looking both outdoors and at home on the computer.

2 Be prepared to do some tidying up

Many photographers will shoot a woodland scene as they find it, and then be disappointed by the results when they get home. Fallen trees, branches, brambles and bushes can often spoil a potentially wonderful scene, so you need to be prepared to do some tidying up.

3 Just add water!

Riverbanks are often lined with deciduous trees and they can be the best place to start looking for colour. As the air temperatures are significantly cooler above water, trees that overhang will often be the first to show their autumnal colours.

4 Shoot reflections

Good reflections can occur at any time of day, but you’ll get the very best chance of a cracking shot by planning an early sortie; I’d recommend getting up at dawn if your sleeping patterns can stand it. At that time of day, before the sun’s up, the air is cooler and wind speed drops significantly so you’re more likely to get mirror-like smoothness on water.

5 Light is more important than location

One of the real keys to great autumn shots isn’t about where you take the shots, it’s when. The light is more photogenic when the sun is lower in the sky, which means shooting at the beginning or end of the day.

6 The devil’s in the details

Sometimes, getting that perfect overall autumn scene may prove elusive. Don’t get frustrated; shoot details instead!

7 Try a zoom effect

A fun photographic technique that can become very addictive in autumn is the ‘zoom burst’. Select aperture-priority (A or Av) and choose an aperture of f/16. Now, press the shutter and zoom into the leaves (towards 105mm) whilst the camera is taking the picture. You’ll need to keep an eye on the shutter speed the camera is setting so you’ll know how quickly you need to zoom the lens.

8 Head for the mist

Not only does autumn bring colour, it also brings mist and fog. As the days get shorter, so the nights get colder. This difference in temperature brings great opportunities to shoot mist over valleys and fields. Choose a high viewpoint that looks over a hillside, or even across the fields to sea if you live near the coast.

 9 An arboretum is your friend

It’s a really good idea to have an autumn backup plan and arboretums make the perfect place to go. Not only are they good to help practice your picture taking, but also for photographing an array of colourful and unusual trees from other countries.