Tips for Capturing Fall Colors

I realize that fall colors are rapidly fading, or already gone, in many areas. However, in my area (west-central Missouri) and southward, there is still some fall colors out there. This post will list a few of the tips/tricks I use to help capture the fall colors.

The first tip I recommend is to use a low ISO rating for your sensor sensitivity (or low ISO film speed, if you’re still using a film camera). I like to use either ISO 100 or ISO 200; both seem to work well for me. By using a low ISO rating, you will help maintain saturated colors in your images.

The next thing to do is to shoot in lower light conditions. I prefer early morning or very late afternoon, within about 2 hours after sunrise, or within 2 hours before sunset. The low light emitted from the sun will help to maintain great colors.

Since we’re shooting at lower ISO ratings and shooting in lower light conditions, I recommend you use a tripod if at all possible. As we shoot in these conditions, “camera shake” is much more likely to occur when making our images. If you don’t have a tripod, consider setting the camera on something flat (a rock, the ground, a car hood, etc.) … this will help minimize camera shake.

If your camera has a histogram, use it! By viewing images on the camera’s LCD, it often misleads us as to the quality of the images we make. But by learning how to use the histogram, you will KNOW, even without looking at the LCD, if your image is overexposed with burnt-out areas. And if there are burnt-out areas, you simply make some exposure corrections and re-make the image!

Another thing you can do to make good fall color images is to use a polarizing filter. These filters help to eliminate any reflections that may appear in your images, but also help to maintain saturated colors.

These are all pretty basic techniques, but if you try these, I’m sure you will find that the quality of your fall images improves.

As always, Happy Shooting!

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