Autumn Full of Colours: How to Capture Best the Beauty of Autumn in Photographs

Autumn Full of Colours
Colourful leaves are perfect for close-up pictures.

Autumn is definitely the most photogenic of seasons. Colourful leaves falling off trees and creating an impressionistic carpet underfoot, unforgettable sunrise and sunset moments, the cloud-studded sky, animals preparing for hibernation– all of which you can capture outside with your camera…

These are only some of those autumn images which look as if have been created by hands of artists. The picturesque autumn sceneries make for unique backgrounds for all photography lovers and are bound to satisfy both landscape and portrait photographers. Here are some tips for taking beautiful autumn photographs that may become gems of your photo album or just simply decorate the walls of your room.

Autumn Full of Colours
Sunrise and sunset in autumn enhance the beauty of the landscape.

A Time of Changing Leaves

Colours and leaves are inseparably associated with autumn; green leaves turn hues of red, yellow, or ochre and swirl slowly to the ground where they form a colourful carpet. With its beautiful natural features, autumn is a perfect season for portrait photography. There are many ways of using brightly-coloured leaves as props in photographs: we can throw them in the air, put them in our hair or cover half of our face with a big leaf. When frolicking in autumn leaves we loosen up and act naturally, which is then reflected in photographs.

During the time of changing leaves, depth of field plays a crucial role in portrait photography as it enables us to focus either on the people or on the surroundings and thus to highlight the subject. A deep depth of field creates a sharp background whereas a shallow depth of field creates a blurred one. The latter is therefore better when it comes to portraits since it allows the subject to stand out. When photographing in autumn leaves you should use the iris diaphragm that allows layering and focusing on the face as well as on the leaves around it. Naturally, falling leaves, too, can be in focus – they will add a touch of mystery to your portrait.

Autumn Full of Colours
Autumn offers beautiful props for a portrait photograph

A shallow depth of field is also a good choice for close-up pictures such as those of seasonal fruits and vegetables, leaves, tree bark and insects.

Photographing Autumn Landscapes

Stunning autumn landscape pictures can be hung on the walls to decorate your house. During autumn the best time for landscape photography is the golden hour just after sunrise and before sunset when the beautiful sunlight gives the landscape a honeyed glow, which is considered the best lighting. Autumn sunrise and sunset moments are definitely worth the wait. Photographer Jan Berghauer stresses the importance of exposure. “Take photos of the same scene with different exposures – that is, both light and dark pictures and then choose the one that captures the mood and atmosphere. In some cases, a pitch-black horizon silhouette against the brightly-coloured sky is preferable whereas in others it is better to decide on long exposure to create dramatic images of not only the clouds moving slowly across the sky but also of the landscape above the horizon. It all depends on the situation and lighting so don’t be afraid to experiment.”

Autumn Full of Colours
Autumn still life photograph of a cup of tea and colourful leaves.

Autumn Paths

Fallen autumn leaves can turn a winding, seemingly endless country path into a breathtaking scene. A trail wandering across meadows, a forest path, a track weaving through mountains; we are somehow attracted to all of these images as they symbolise change, mystery, infinity, adventure…The emotions they evoke can also be captured in a photograph. How to immortalise the magic of an autumn path? “If the centre of interest is a path going nowhere you can use central composition While in some cases it is better to avoid central compositions, it can enhance the impression of an infinite path. To make your photograph more dynamic, use wide-angle lenses. Make sure you eliminate background distractions in your photograph – keep the image simple and balanced, that is to say harmonise the background with the subject. Beware of intrusive elements that do not belong in the scene; an abandoned can or plastic bag may completely ruin the picturesque scenery,” says Jan Berghauer.

Autumn Full of Colours
A path is a sign of mystery and adventure which in autumn is even more enticing than usual.

Text: Linda Vojancová, photo: