Prepare for Autumn
Autumn is one the favourite times of year for many photographers, from landscape shooters to portrait photographers, hoping to use the colourful environment as a stunning setting for on-location work
Autumn is one the favourite times of year for many photographers, from landscape shooters to portrait photographers, hoping to use the colourful environment as a stunning setting for on-location work. Although we’re not quite there yet, one of the many reasons photographers fail to capture the images they hoped for is that they lacked preparation – it always helps to know what you want to shoot and how to shoot it before the season arrives in your country.
Here are 5 top aspects that make a successful autumnal landscape to help you plan your first seasonal shoot
1- Sense of direction
One of the main reasons shots of autumnal woodland scenes fall apart is that they lack the usual compositional features we expect from landscape images. It’s almost as if the photographer becomes carried away with the colour and forgets to construct their scene appropriately. As always, leading lines work to draw the viewer into the picture, which is arguably more important than ever, due to the need to lead the eye around the often busy environment that is a forest or woodland. Ensure you compose your image so it has a clear sense of direction for the viewer to follow. Considering location now will help you pre-visualise potential compositions.
Simply shooting a set of trees face-on will not create a shot with a sense of depth. Woodland can appear very 2-dimensional due to the density of the trees. Find a point of view and arrange your composition to show subjects at varying distances to illustrate depth.
While warm colours will undoubtedly be dominant in your shot, look for contrasting colours to produce colour depth. Even in Autumn there are greens to be found in woodlands, so look for these to make a feature of in your images, for a pleasingly balanced colour range.
4- Plan a location
Research online to find locations with trees that will demonstrate maximum colour impact. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum), Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Maidenhair Trees (Ginko biloba) all show exceptional colour that looks fantastic in images, so visit local woodlands and check what’s there before the season starts, to plan what colour schemes each composition will have.
A vital consideration in any landscape is lighting, so although you’ll often be shooting under the cover of trees, plan ahead and find locations that will benefit from a range of lighting conditions for different ‘looks’. Autumn landscapes are unique in that they benefit from both overcast lighting and directional sunlight. Cloudy days are perfect for capturing rich colour, as the diffused light is conducive to this, while direct sun can look amazing through back-lit leaves. Plan to visit the same locations multiple times to get the most from each perspective.
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