Fall is a dream season for photographers. It’s the time when nature explodes with color, and misty mornings are whispering “Hey look at me, wouldn’t I make just the most amazing photograph?”
Besides the vibrant leaves, autumn gives you a good range of weather conditions to experiment with. The weather changes so quickly that you can photograph the same scene in rain, mist, sunshine, and the shade of clouds, all on the same day. The partly sunny, partly overcast weather gives you beautiful soft light, but also striking beams of sunlight to photograph.
Below are some stunning examples of this magical time of year. We’ve organized the photos into 6 groups:
- Fallen Leaves
- Tree Branches
- Paths and Roads
- Lakes, Rivers, and Waterfalls
- Parks and Forests
- Scenic Landscapes
Of course, autumn offers plenty more possibilities that aren’t included in this list! These photos are just a starting point for your own creative ideas and photography. For more tips, check out our Detailed Guide to Photographing Fall Foliage.
Fallen leaves are one of the easiest subjects to photograph in autumn. They’re easy to find and work into all kinds of photos. You can use fallen leaves to practice techniques like bokeh or macro photography, or to shoot a fast photo for a photography challenge like this one. You can move them wherever you want, so the lighting and composition are totally up to you. You can push your creativity or keep it simple, whatever the day allows.
Colorful tree branches are another simple subject to photograph in autumn. Though you can’t move them (not as easily, anyway), you do have a lot of possibilities to choose from. You don’t have to travel far to find a branch worth photographing. You might have one in your backyard, down the street, or in a nearby park, waiting to be photographed.
Paths and Roads
Autumn can turn plain roads and paths into breathtaking scenes, perfect for photos. This is because roads and paths provide strong lines to guide your viewers’ eyes through the photo. Whether the path is clear or covered with leaves, it can pull your viewer into the scene. For more advice on using lines and other composition techniques, check out these 10 tips to instantly improve your compositions.
Lakes, Rivers, and Waterfalls
To really bring out the fall colors, your photo needs to have contrast. For example, you could contrast brilliant red leaves against a blue sky, a dark tree trunk, or a source of water such as a lake, river, or waterfall.
Water can be especially effective because it allows for a lot of possibilities. You can shoot a long exposure, look for an awesome reflection, or use the water as a leading line, similar to a road or path. Or you can simply find a crisp blue lake and let the color contrast be the main focus of your photo.
Parks and Forests
Some forests completely transform in autumn, while others remain nearly the same. If you’re lucky enough to live close to a colorful forest, it’s probably already on your list of shooting locations. But if you’re low on forests or surrounded by evergreens, try visiting a local park instead. If the park has a grove of deciduous trees, you can make it look exactly like a giant forest in your photo.
Epic autumn landscapes are not as easy to reach as the other options on this list, but if you can travel, they’re worth shooting. An autumn landscape trip can be an unforgettable experience. You not only get incredible photos but also a lot of peaceful moments, as you take in the season’s beauty. For top scenic locations to photograph in the US, take a look at these 10 destinations for amazing autumn photography–though really, there are countless places you could go. All you need is a willingness to go out and find them.
Many of the above photos were selected from our wonderful Flickr group.