Fall Photography Tips from Dennis Glennon
Fall is the perfect time to get to know your camera and really 'get into' photography. Even if you don't have "an expensive" camera or a professional model, you can have lots of fun outdoors this Autumn, and later indoors this winter, enjoying a fun and exciting hobby. If you've always wanted to learn more about photography, Fall's the time to do it! Here's how:
1) Get To Know Your Camera
You camera came with a manual. Dig it out and read it. Before you ever set foot outside your door, learn what your camera does and how to operate it. Even if you have a simple model camera, it has features that will help you take impressive pictures, and you don't need to know how to program the clock on your VCR to use them! Just relax at home and read the manual FIRST. Then go out and explore the world.
They are written for novices and hobbyist especially and are all right here on this website. More in my newsletters. Subscribe to receive even more tips each season!
3) Resolve to Play!
Promise yourself that you will go out there and shoot for FUN, not for that one grand Fall photograph. Don't make a chore of this. The outrageous color of the season makes us all want to take spectacular pictures, but TRYING to do it can be stifling and creatively restrictive. Just for now, just for this year, take fall pictures because they are FUN to take, not because they may make a gorgeous image. Play. Let yourself relax and see with your heart, not with eyes that are looking for that one incredible shot. Playing is learning. Play to learn.
4) If you use film, use good film.
If you've never experimented with slide film, Fall is the time. Fall color lasts only
THREE WEEKS, so just for now, pick up some Fuji Velvia professional slide film.
The color saturation is the best any film has to offer. You will have to go to a camera store for it, not the local supermarket, but the extra trip is well worth it.
Not using slide film is a mistake. Looking at an image taken on print film is like looking
at a print. Looking at the same image taken with slide film is like looking through a window. It's that sharp, that clear. Using slide film can be a bit more expensive, as the slides you get back from the lab must now be submitted for development. However, the developed images will be outstanding in quality, and you can pick and choose which images you want to develop into print by going through your slides.
When you pick up your slides from the lab, be sure to purchase a small slide table or slide viewer. They sell simple ones for around twenty dollars or less. Again, it's only a three week stint ... and if you get a late start, only two weeks, you won't be investing much in your photography pursuit compared to other seasons. Do get yourself the ability to see your slides as they should be seen. Holding them up to the light does not work! Once you've chosen the images you want to see in print, submit the slides to a photo lab and then prepare to be wowed! You'll be amazed at how gorgeous the pictures develop, and I promise you'll convert to slide film over print film for all your special occasion photographs!
5) Keep your camera in your car and always with you!
Fall is filled with great images, but Fall is a short season. You only get about three weeks of good color and then it's gone. You never know when you'll pass a sumptuous tree, a great Halloween lawn display, or a rustic fence surrounded by fallen leaves, so when picking up the kids from school, driving home from work, or going to the supermarket HAVE YOUR CAMERA WITH YOU! Don't tell yourself you'll come back later to get that shot. Rarely do we get back to it, and the great shot may not be there when you do return ... not the way you see it now.
6) Extend the Day
The sun is lower in the sky in Autumn. The resulting light is warm and beautiful, giving a soft cast to everything you photograph. Shooting just before sunset during the Fall season creates some evocative images. Stay out until sundown and capture what you can. If you find a great place to shoot, be there late in the day to get pictures as the sun goes down. Remember, it's not the sun you want to photograph, but it's setting light that you want to use to illuminate whatever it is you are photographing.
7) Extend the Season
Most people enjoy fall weekends only. If you are fortunate enough to have a more flexible weekday schedule, take advantage of it and get more days out of the season by getting outdoors during the week when places are less crowded. Take a stroll around the neighborhood. Bring the dog for a hike in the woods, or the kids for some leaf collecting. Just get out there and photograph, even if you only get out for an hour. I cannot stress enough that the Fall colors fade quickly. Any opportunity to enjoy it should be grabbed. Put off what you can do once the trees are leafless and get out there.
8) Free up time for photos!
Free up time by getting your holiday shopping over with early. Purchase my prints, eBooks and/or Gift Certificates on my website! What unique, practical and fun gifts!
9) Overcast Days are Good Days! Use them!
Cloudy days filter sunlight, making fall colors even deeper. The film 'drinks' in color, leaving you with rich images. Try shooting in the rain (beneath an umbrella) or under very overcast skies. Just leave the sky out of the picture, shoot off a roll and see what happens!
10) Windy Days Work. Work withg them!
Leaves fluttering around give a feeling of movement. They can really enhance a shot.
I have even had my assistant stand outside the camera's view and toss leaves at a puppy as a photographed the pup frolicking in the woods on a windless day. Let a windy day work for you!
11) Get the kids involved.
No reason not to photograph just because you have to watch the kids! Children enjoy taking pictures just as much as, and sometimes more than, adults do. Grab a few on-sale disposable cameras and let them snap away while you all enjoy an afternoon photo hike in the park, the woods, or even in a graveyard!