Guest Post: Fall Photo Tips

Welcome to the first weekly guest blog post on the I Scrap, U Scrap blog! Our first guest blogger is contributing editor and avid photographer Erin Clarkson.

Fall Photo Tips

Tip 1: Make the most of fall colors as a backdrop when photographing people. This may mean doing a bit of work as the photographer! Perhaps a straight-on shot of your child shows a road and power lines in the background. However, if you crouch down and shoot from a lower angle, you may be able to have a canopy of colorful leaves as your backdrop. You can also take a shot from above, looking down at your subject surrounded by fallen leaves, pumpkins, straw, or some other type of colorful fall ground cover. One of my favorite fall shots I’ve ever taken is of a friend’s daughter and was shot from above in the pumpkin patch.

Tip 2: Wait for the best lighting. Early morning and the evening hours just before sunset are the best times to get a good shot. A photography instructor once told me, “Wait until your shadow is longer than you are.”  When the sun is lower in the sky (therefore casting longer shadows), it is diffused by particles in the atmosphere and casts a softer glow. Overcast days are also an opportune time to take photos, because you can avoid harsh shadows and squinting (see the first photo below) caused by too much sun. The clouds act as a giant filter for the sun’s rays and evenly diffuse light across the surface being photographed

For advanced photographers, you may want to consider utilizing light bounced from another source. When light is reflected off something, that light then takes on a color cast from the first object. In the 2nd photo below, the leaves are yellow and the light reflected from them has a yellow cast, resulting in a warm glow on the little girl’s skin.

Avoid harsh sunlight.

Tip 3: Utilize reflections whenever possible when capturing scenic fall photos. Search for areas where trees border a lake or pond and you’ll get double the color from the beautiful reflection. Windows, water fountains and puddles also work well as reflective surfaces.

Tip 4: Be prepared for fall photo opportunities. Always have your camera with you because this is a season where the scenery is constantly changing. Just because you see a beautiful tree full of colorful leaves today doesn’t mean it will still be there tomorrow. A heavy rain or strong gusts of wind can transform a fall landscape in an instant, so when you see a great shot—take it!

A few of the most popular fall scenes to capture on film are:

  • kids (or grown ups!) playing in piles of fallen leaves
  • families picking apples at an orchard
  • visits to the pumpkin patch
  • seemingly endless golden fields of wheat (this background makes for a classic portrait shot)

One final tip for fall shots is to try to tell a story with your photos (a good tip to remember in any type of photographic situation). In a fall setting, that may mean capturing small details—such as close up shots of leaves—in addition to sweeping landscape shots.

Advanced Tip: For those of you with SLR cameras, try using polarizing filters to make colors pop. A polarizing filter darkens blue skies and whitens clouds—adding contrast and reducing atmospheric haze. It also intensifies color saturation, reduces glare (particularly useful when photographing reflections in water) and tends to make shadows deeper and darker.

Erin began scrapbooking in 1997 as a creative way to share photos with long-distance friends and family members. She has contributed to numerous idea books with Making Memories, Provo Craft,  and Scrapbooks etc. magazine. Since 2002, Erin has been a frequent contributor to Scrapbooks etc. and currently works as one of their contributing editors. To see more of Erin’s work or to contact her, you can visit her blog at

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2 Responses to “Guest Post: Fall Photo Tips”

  1. Great tips. It will be easy to remember the one about waiting for your shadow to be longer than you are. Thanks.

  2. [...] We have some wonderful fall digital scrapbook products! All you have to do is add the photos. To that end, here are some hints on taking that perfect fall picture. [...]