How to Photograph the beauty of Autumn Colours

How to Photograph the beauty of Autumn Colours

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Autumn offers many photographic opportunities for the beauty of his colours and moody shots and is therefore one of the favorite seasons of landscape photographers. Capturing the colours and the atmosphere of autumn is not so obvious, so in this guide we will see how to photography the beauty of the autumn colours following this 8 tips:

1. Prefer the Golden Hour

This applies as a general rule not only in autumn photography, golden hour helps to get much more vibrant and pop colors that best suit to get that perfect glow effect for fall colours

Since many autumn photos are taken in wooded environments, photographing during the golden hour in an area with very dense and closed trees can be counterproductive so in this case prefer times with the highest sun position

2. Use the Right White Balance

Usually automatic white balance is one of the most used one, automatic mode is comfortable and often reliable but this tends to flatten and neutralize the colours of the photos. To emphatize the autumn colours it would be preferable to choose a white balance using Shade mode. The light in shade is normally a little cooler than in the daylight, so this mode will add some warmth to your image

A pro tip is to use the Kelvin mode in your autumn shot, so you can adjust the temperature as your taste using live view in order to obtain more customizable results

3. Take Advantage of Fog and Clouds

Fog is that high-impact element that will incredibly help you create more atmosphere in your autumn landscapes, this because fog softens the contrasts of the scene and gives a nice depth of field. Fog is that high-impact element that will incredibly help you create more atmosphere in your autumn landscapes

Cloudy sky likewise comes to our aid, rain and overcast skies are all conditions that help to focus on the colours of the autumn composition

4. Use Polarizer Filters

In autumn photography the polarizing filters are of great help to enhance the colours and contrast, this will give you a base image more easy to start editing. Other benefits of using polarizer filters are: reduce the glare, make sky more clear, allows to using lower shutter speed in case you shot for water

5. Use the Right Lens

In landscape photography the wide angle lens is often used, but knowing how to vary the lenses according to the condition allows you to capture the best image in the right moment

In autumn photography the attention to detail is the key, that’s why I take many photos with my 70-200 telephoto. Using a telephoto will help you to focus on a single spot and better enhance the scene details

6. Natural Frame your Shots

Framing is a very effective photography composition rules, taking advantages of the colours of the foliages, the trees, rivers and rocks can be a great help to better composite your shot and emphatize the viewer’s eye on the main subject.

Playing with colours while taking advantage of natural framing completes this tip even more

7. Look for Water

Adding water in your autumn shots will add a strong element to enhance your image, imagine a lake that reflects all the beautiful autumn colors in your scene, or a waterfall that with its flow guides the viewer’s eye towards other elements of the photo

Water is in general a very strong element in landscape photography and especially in autumn photography. To get the most out of the water combine it with the golden hour for a very powerful impact effect

8. Bonus Tip

If the colors of your autumn photographs do not seem so impactfull, I suggest you download my TTS Fast Panel or my TTS Pro Panel, in both of these adobe extensions panels there is an effect to enhance the autumn colours and bring out the best of your shots

Conclusions

Autumn photography offers many photographic ideas but mostly made up of opportunities, a planning phase is fundamental as is knowing how to exploit all the changes in the light conditions. To win this challenge, take the right time to go out, experiment and you will get to photograph the best autumn photos


The Waterway

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Near Rome there is this graceful waterfall which takes the name of Mola like the millstone located next to an old mill, built in the 1500s. The artifact was used for the milling of wheat from flour, exploiting the waters of the river

The waterfall is surrounded by greenery a few kilometers from the town and the canalization works, the lock and the remains of the tuff perimeter walls are still visible from the old mill

I captured this shot using focus stacking technique so capturing a series of exposures near the foreground water and another series for the trees, no other shots was necessaries for the mid elements

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I blended all the shots captured using focus stacking in order to create the image perfectly focused. In this shot I also used another technique which I have never talked about so far but which I promise to deepen in the coming months, that is the perspective blending

With the use of perspective blending I corrected the perspective between the water in the foreground and the waterfall which was distorted by the vertical line, it often happens that moving the angle of view too low, the images in the background are excessively affected by the distortion of the wide angle but correcting properly the perspective can achieve a optimal result

Once corrected all I started adding details, contrasts and correcting the lights using TTS Pro panel, after this I added  orton effect, I love this effect in nature sceneries and the glow tool over the water and the sky

I increased the yellow colors using luminosity masks applied to shadows and blue tones applied to highlights. I also fixed the vibrance of colors and the whole luminosity of the shot

As final step I also added a manual vignette to the foreground

I really hope you will find this usefull! I like e to ear this from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Three Shots (-1; 0; +1) focus stacked

ISO: 100 at f/13

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Autumn Leaves

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This week I take a break from the tutorials to return to publish some new photos and today I propose an old photo taken in Japan in 2018. I had discarded this photo at the time because I did not like that framing of leaves so blurred for which I didn’t have to chance to capture the shot using focus stacking for logistical problems…

In fact, to capture this temple with this view I had to climb through a very high bush for which not even the easel could reach, I took it freehand and on tiptoe. All this set of non-technical details, made me think that something wrong in this shot but that I reevaluated it today, also looking at the many images that run on web with very prominent framing like this

The blurring of the leaves on the left gives an idea of ​​the context in which this splendid temple is located in Kyoto, a beautiful garden that I could safely admire and turn at the opening of the temple gates to avoid finding tourists in the area


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I take this shot as single exposure so no digital blend was done for this, I started fixing highlights, shadows and contrast using luminosity masks.

I removed some chromatic aberrations around the corner of the leaves and I fixed colors first removing any color cast than increasing the purple tones and increasing vibrance

I added some more details selectively, than I added a soft orton effect. As final step I added a small vignette increasing the light in the center to make the image more pop

I hope you will find this usefull! I like to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Sigma 24-70 f/2,8 (used at 70mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 200 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


From Red to Green

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Here is my first photo published in 2020, for this image I resume the location of my last photo published, I am talking about the beautiful Dolomites and its incredibles scenery

These are the waterfalls of Fanes, imposing waterfalls that are located inside a gorge and can only be reached through a wide climb on the promontory which must be followed by an equally descent to see them from below

I photographed the waterfalls from the top of the promontory in front of me in order to portray as much as possible the flow of water from the source to the end

The same atmosphere of the low clouds can be seen in the upper part of the photo above the trees giving them a mysterious look


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I blended the shots using digital blending to create the image to work on, the final bled is not so much far from the original shot, I just take some point of the brighter exposure to give more lights around the rock and to increase the softness of the water

I increased the yellow colours applying a warmer filter to the highlights through luminosity masks, after this details was increased using TTS Pro details effects

I fixed contast and lights around the rocks, after this I pushed up some colours like the autumn colours and the end of the waterfall to better look the amazing blue colour of the water

I also created a small vignette to give more darkness of the area around the waterfall and concentrate the viewer’s eye on the waterfall

I hope you will find this usefull. I always love to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Sigma 24-70 f/2,8 (used at 30mm)

Three Shots (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 100 at f/13

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Hiding II

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Some scenarios of the beautiful autumn colors that I found during my last trip to the Dolomites. On a rainy morning I captured some low-cloud scenarios on trees with autumnal colors near the Fanes Watefalls

At the end of the path that leads to these beautiful waterfalls, a gorge opens up with a great view, in front of that day I couldn’t see much of the mountain behind the clouds but my intent was to portray the trees in their beautiful colors just behind a neutral white cloud

All this clearing was exactly on the other side of the gorge but right in front of me, not was so much far I took this picture with my 24-70 captured at 46mm to get a close-up image of the trees and create a hat-effect with clouds


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

For this shot no digital blending was necessary, I just used a couple of shots and make some ajustments using brush with luminosity masks

The main area affected was the trees: first I increased the luminosity using the brighter exposure and a brush, than I added details and contrast using TTS Pro and launching two effects related to this

Always with the use of luminosity masks I decreased the light in the clouds and I decreased the luminosity in the whole frame. I increased the autumn colours decreasing the opacity to 10% and I increased all the vibrance by +15% in order to give more result to greens and reds of the trees

As final step I added a small vignette to create more visibility to the trees in the center of the frame

I hope you will find this usefull. I always love to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Sigma 24-70 f/2,8 (used at 46mm)

Three Shots (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 100 at f/13

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Losing Sight

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During the days I stay at the Dolomites, the splendid scenery of the mountain in autumn was constantly changing. Very intense days of cloudiness alternated with low clouds to rainy days, unfortunately not always all suitable for taking good photos

That afternoon I was literally surrounded by low clouds on the horizon and I took a lot of photos in this mountain scenery so particular and engaging. In this photo the clouds moving towards the forest below

It was a very beautiful atmosphere, rarely seen in the past at these levels as I said in my previous post. More photos will follow with similar scenarios of those days


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

This image is a result of a digital blending with 2 exposures (of course I captured 3 but used just 2) that I blended using TTS Pro with auto blend darks function inside that instantly blend a darker exposure into a brighter exposure

After this I started edit the shot using luminosity masks correcting lighting in the sky and shadows, I also fixed contrast using midtones masks. I increased details that I partially muted with a orton effect.

I fixed up colours adding more vibrance and giving more yellow tones around the trees and the part of the mountain touched by sunlight

I made a small crop to cut off an empty space below and I made some small intervention with clone stamp tool to remove some rain drops

Last touch was to add a small vignette excluding the sky because it makes the clouds too dark

I hope you will find this usefull. I’m happy to listen it from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 70-200 f/2,8 (used at 102mm)

Three Shots (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 320 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Wood of the Giant

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I recently spent a few days on the Dolomites to take a different tour than I did last time. To tell the truth, every time I try to do a different tour because the alternatives of beautiful natural places to visit here are really very much

Among my stops there was certainly a decent excursion to Passo Falzarego where I could admire a beautiful autumn scenery, in fact the whole area had a splendid view of red trees with low clouds, the one you see in the picture is a portion of what he surrounded me, in the next posts I will have the opportunity to show you the fullness of the autumnal scenery of the area

I also love the beautiful atmosphere that creates low clouds, on this day the colors and the atmosphere of the sky have really created a show that I have rarely seen. It must be said that I also had to face quite difficult days from a meteorological point of view, some days the clouds were so low that visibility was practically zeroed and rain don’t spared me, so a good mood but with moderation 🙂


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I captured 3 exposure in bracketing to make this shot, I make a blend manually using luminosity masks and my panel TTS Pro. I increased the yellows applying a warm filter to the highlights and shadows and I lighten up the light source using the glow tool

After this I increased details selectively and I applied a orton effect to create a dark dreamy look atmosphere to the mountain than, with the use of dodge and burn I increased the light source and the lights rays through the trees

I set the contrast and highlights and I increased the highlights, after a soft shadow recovery the last touch was to set the vibrance to give more show to the colors of autumn

I hope you will find this usefull. Love to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 70-200 f/2,8 (used at 105mm)

Three Shots (-1; 0; +1)

ISO: 320 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Autumn Path

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This is a photo taken last autumn during my tour along the Friuli Venezia Giulia, were days of heavy rain and very adverse weather but during those days I could admire beautiful autumn landscapes

It often happened that I stopped with the car along the routes to get off to take pictures. Among these landscapes that have impressed me there is certainly this view of the valley of Raccolana wrapped in the fog and the colors of autumn, down the walking path through the woods

What struck me was the mix of colors not only present in the valley between the green and the red that blend the leaves and the trees but also the perfect meeting between the warm and the cold light at the end of the day

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I take this as single shot, so I edited the image by using luminosity masks applied to curves adjustment layer, without any blend

Using my panel TTS PRO, I launched autumn colours to increase the red look of the autumn foliage, with the same tool I launched high details to increase the details over the frame

My next step was to give more warm look to the photo so I applied a warm filter to the highlights, after this I launched orton effect  to give a more soft look to the landscape

Using dodge and burn applied to luminosity masks I give more lights over the fog, after this I fixed contrast between highlighs and darks

Latest steps was to decrease the general lights and to add a soft sharpen to the final frame

I always hope you will find this usefull. I’m happy to ear this from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Sigma 24-70 f/2,8 (used at 31mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/6,3

Software: Photoshop CC2019

Plugin: TTS Pro


Cave In

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Back from Japan, on my lastest trip I visited Friuli region in Italy, during the course of my itinerary I have marked many photographic spots and this is precisely one of those. This famous waterfall in this area is named Fontanon di Goriuda that faces to a mountain recess inside a wood. It’s amazing to be near and feel the loud noise of water coming from it, in the area that is exactly behind there is a flow of air that brings a lot of water so the wash is assured 🙂

During my days in those areas I found a really bad weather, the rain was strong beating most of the day, many roads were closed for collapsed trees and even the day I went to visit the Fontanon di Goriuda it was raining heavily, fortunately the recess in the rock allowed me to take pictures in complete calm sheltered from the rain

Finding the exact position to make this shot was not easy considering the too much water  coming under the waterfall and on the other side the ground was sloping with mud … at the end with a little patience and getting muddy 🙂 I could find this point of view, my intention was to portray an overview of what I was facing: the beautiful Friulian landscape with the Fontanon di Goriuda on the left

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I captured 5 exposure brackets to make this but I don’t used all the shots for blending because the tree on the right moved too much from one pictures to another, so I just used one darker and one brighter exposure to fix the main darkness inside the cave and to decrease the lights in the sky

I launched  luminosity masks to made the main adjustments using contrasts and curves to lights and darkness, with the use of TTS PRO  I increased details and I launched orton effect to smooth the effect and to create a soft dreamy look around the waterfall. After this I used a white brush applied to a layer with soft light to intensify th glow effect selectively, you can see more of it here.

I little intensified the yellow look of the frame by applying a warm filter to the luminosity masks and then I stepped up the full color scale through the LAB Coloring

I also used dodge and burn around some areas that I wanted to lighten, as a final touch I lowered the brightness a little while preserving the light on the waterfall

As always I hope you will find this usefull. I love to ear that from you!

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8

Three Exposures (-2 ;-1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/10

Software: Photoshop CC2019

Plugin: TTS Pro

 


The Old Mill

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This picture is always from the natural valley near the river Bussento, the valley around the river is wonderful and full of this great waterfall spot. This is probably the main area of the oasis, the an old mill who as long lost his wheel, where in its place now there’s a small waterfall

I created this image with my nd1000 filter for about 60 second time long exposure, I used 7-shot bracketing function to have a full range of exposure, I started working on the image with the longest exposure time going to recover lights lightly on the darker images

 

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

By selecting the best exposures  I blended them using luminosity masks. saving the rocks from overexposure and the flow of the waterfallDodge and burn  has helped too much to finish this work.

Also in this picture I incresed the yellow colors of the leafs using my filter autumn colors. I also launched details using TTS Fast Panel. I used orton effect to create a soft dreamy look and I pushed up lights coming from the top part of the frame, as final touch I fixed some contrast and lights adding a small vignette

I hope you will like this and find usefull my info. I always love to ear this from you!

 

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Seven Exposures (-3; -2; -1; 0; +1; +2; +3)

ISO: 100 at f/16

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel


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Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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