Autumn Photography Tips You Need to Know

By Shauna Mazenes


When it comes to photography, there are no bounds. You can get as unconventional and animalistic as you always hoped you could be. That is, if you’re willing to learn these super cool tips.

As a photographer, I take note of settings that provide me with a wide spectrum of options regarding photo composition, elements, and principles of design. When you pay attention to these things, your pictures are bound to be quality shots.

Before we get into the tips for taking perfect fall photos, check out this quick infographic to help you get an understanding of the basic elements and principles of design, and how this can help you creatively!


Landscapes photos

Fall is my favourite season for taking landscape shots. The warm yellows, reds and oranges create jaw-dropping foliages that will never fail to amaze on your ventures as a  photographer. Plus, trees are easy to find making it for an instant opportunity to capture some real beauty. I’ve found that using the vivid setting (if your camera has it) is beautiful for capturing the colours of autumn. If you don’t have any vivid or enhanced colour settings, you can easily edit the photo after by increasing the hues and saturation. If you’re just looking to edit photos a little more thoroughly before posting to Instagram, I highly recommed Adobe Lightroom-- I think it’s by far the most advanced photography editing software you will get on a phone. You can use Lightroom on your computer too, although you have to purchase and install the software.


(Stanley Zimney/Flickr)

Value photos

One of the elements of design is value. In photography, value refers to the sense of space and form that is communicated through the shading of a photo, which generally creates a bold statement. In other words, the contrast between the blacks and whites in a shot develops a sense of boldness-- this is known as value. Value is predominantly concerned shades, meaning greys and blacks as opposed to colours, with the exception of white and different variations of it. This ‘boldness’ is often established through space, contrast, form and emphasis.

(Shauna Mazenes/Her Campus at Ryerson)

For example, the beige space in background creates a sense of airiness; we then see contrast in the shadows of the flowers in relationship to the background, emphasizing the branch in a bold, confident way. The subject of the photo is always emphasized against the background. You can see that the background branches are blurred so as not to distract the eye, strongly pronouncing the form of the branch.

I did some minor editing after I took the shot, but the value of this photo was almost entirely created from overcast weather. That’s why fall is a great time for capturing these photos; the atmosphere of gloomy days make for an exceptional canvas for taking value shots. Keep your ISO low and don’t attempt to over-expose the photo-- the aperture should be set at an average setting like f/5 (although you can lower it to create a more shallow, blurry depth of field), and the shutter speed should be significantly quick to capture the sharpness of your subject, such as 1/400. Switching your camera to B&W mode is also a go-to option for taking value shots, if the weather isn’t providing you with the right shading.


The Bokeh Effect

With so many fun and festive things happening around Halloween, taking pictures becomes a lot of fun. If you go to a Halloween party, take advantage of the opportunity to play around with the festive lights and your camera’s aperture or shutter speed. For example, by lowering your aperture when you take pictures of lights, you are met with a soft, gorgeous bokeh effect. The aperture of the below shot is f 1.8.


(Shauna Mazenes/Her Campus at Ryerson)

This is because aperture controls the depth of field; depth of field essentially refers to how blurred or how sharp the background is, beyond the focal point in the photo. The lower the aperture, the wider the shutter, the softer the blur. The higher the aperture, the more narrow the shutter, and thus-- the more focused the lights. The picture below has an f-stop of 5.6.(consider making a graphic showing this). See the difference in how pronounced the lights are?  

(Shauna Mazenes/Her Campus at Ryerson)

When taking pictures of lights you can create a glowing effect by lowering your aperture or slowing down your shutter speed.


Action shots

Capturing movement in a shot always makes for a more interesting photo. Take waterfalls, for example: in the photo below, you can see the water running.

(Derk Delbaere/Flickr)

You need to be handy with the camera to master this kind of shot. In order to achieve the seamless look of the water you need to adjust your shutter speed to something really slow, like ½ or ¼, which is half or one fourth of a second. It creates this effect because the shutter speed is so slow, it blurs the movements. In contrast, a fast shutter speed will create a very pronounced, detailed shot of the rushing water. Have a look at the shot below. This one was taken at a shutter speed of 1/500. If you make your shutter speed fast, like 1/1000 of a second, you will capture the intricate textures of the water.

(Shauna Mazenes/Her Campus at Ryerson)


I hope you found this quick easy-to-follow and helpful! If you wanna see what I’ve been doing with my photos lately, feel free to follow me on Instagram: @shaunaanicole.