Tips From Nikon For Shooting Better Fall Foliage Pictures

(photo by Rod Planck)

Growing up in New England, fall was one of my favorite seasons. We had four different kinds of trees in our yard and their leaves all changed a different color in the fall. It was a symphony of yellows, reds, oranges, and purples. Then they all fell off and it became apparent pretty quickly that it was my job to pick each one up. Let's just say it's much easier to travel to a place that has beautiful foliage, take some pictures and let someone else pick them up. 

Nikon and Rod Planck, a photographer and fall color photo tour owner got together to offer some great tips here are a few essentials.  


Although that should be apparent, you can't take any pictures of fall leaves if you live in an area where there isn't any significant foliage change. When asked about location, Rod says: "It's everything," He especially recommends the New England states; the Colorado Rockies; and the upper Midwest of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. If you're not planning a long trip, check with your state's board of tourism online or just do what you do with every question you have, Google it.


Again, this is kind of a rule for any outdoor landscape photography. You almost always never want to shoot when it's high noon and no clouds. The sun's rays do the most interesting things early in the morning just after sunrise and just before sunset when we get softer colors and light.

"People at the autumn tours will often tell me that the weather report calls for sun for the next seven days... but that's not good news. An overcast day is best--first, because you can shoot all day long, and second because the light is soft and even."
There's something you rarely hear from a photographer, an overcast day is best. But check out this picture he took on an overcast day. See how the saturated colors of the leaves contrast nicely with a gray day?

(photo by Rod Planck)


Rod recommends Matrix metering for everything, regardless of sunshine or clouds. He then checks the histogram to make sure no highlights are being clipped. "I'll check the LCD to see what I'm getting and dial in some exposure compensation if I need to increase or decrease saturation. Cloud cover will give you less light, and because you're photographing landscapes, generally you won't want to sacrifice depth of field by opening up the aperture, so I suggest pushing the ISO to keep your depth of field at a good setting while maintaining a high shutter speed if you're hand-holding the camera." Matrix metering is smart because it gets a feel for the exposure in the whole image which allows you to see more. Look at this photo and notice the reflections in the dark water against the leaves on the shore. All things are visible and, and it's got an even look to it. 

(photo by Rod Planck)

Check out the full list of tips on Nikon's website to make sure you get the best photos you can this Autumn because they don't last long. 

Source: NIKON