Five Tips For Shooting Better Fall Photos

Happy Monday! There’s only one week of October left, eeek! Grab your camera and go take a walk in the woods, but before you head out, learn how to take better fall photos. This post was originally published on October 30, 2014, but after a wonderful hike in the woods this weekend, I thought it was worth another look.

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Autumn really tends to steal the show in terms of natural beauty, dontcha think?  This year I took a trip to Asheville, NC and after cruising up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway I don’t think I’ll ever take fall for granted again.  I spent three days hiking, driving and simply sitting and looking at leaves.  After the trip I mentally cataloged what went well and what went wrong in terms of the photos I took.  I thought it might be helpful to share a couple fall photography tips here in case you want to capture the season.

  • Zone in.  Don’t be afraid to focus in on one tree, one branch, even one leaf!  Get close, choose your angle and go for it.  While the whole forest is beautiful sometimes when we constantly shoot at a wide angle, the viewer’s eye doesn’t really know where to focus when looking at the picture.  The resulting image will be a mess of pretty hues instead of that amazing sugar maple with fiery red leaves. While you’re busy looking up, don’t forget to look down and around too.  There are multitudes of berries, fungus and seed pods waiting to be photographed too.

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  • Photograph your subjects in open shade or on cloudy days.  Cloudy days are great for photographing people; the clouds act as a huge soft box eliminating all shadows.  Obviously you have no control over the weather, but avoid midday sun and its harsh shadows, instead find a big wide open area of shade (near a building, under tree cover, etc) and take portraits there. You should find that the light is even and diffused because of the shade, but still bright enough because you’re in a wide open area.  If the sun is peaking through and creating hot spots (over exposed areas) in your photo, it will be pretty distracting so look around and try to avoid that as best you can.  Shooting in open shade is more comfortable for you (not so hot!) and your subject (no squinting) and the balance of light between your subject and background won’t be as drastic and therefore much less confusing for your camera in turn creating a better image.

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  • Shoot when there’s weather. Shooting during a sunny day with blue skies is nice, but shooting when it’s stormy, foggy or rainy is more dramatic and interesting. Weather easily adds mood to a photograph without a subject present.  I especially like shooting dark blue stormy skies during the fall because the contrasting colors of the deep blue sky makes the orange leaves pop even more. Shooting in the rain (or right after if you want to stay dry) looks fantastic during fall.  The colorful leaves that normally look dry (well, cause they are) glisten and shine, which really brings out their color.  Think about how nice a car looks when it’s freshly washed and still has drips of water on it or how shiny your nails look when you put a clear coat on.. it’s all about the glisten 😉

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  • Try setting your white balance to Shade.  (Its symbol is usually a house with three diagonal lines next to it)  Shade basically warms up your photograph, which in turn will result in leaf hues closer to what you are seeing with your eyes.  Sometimes photography can be frustrating and disappointing because what we see isn’t what our camera sees.  It’s ok to use the camera as a tool to better create the scene in front of you.  Using Shade white balance is one way I’ve found to help the camera represent changing leaf colors more accurately. Try it and see if it works for you.

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  • Coordinate with the fall foliage.  We think about color whenever we’re trying to create something visually pleasing (interior design, picking out an outfit, choosing a palette for an art project) so it only makes sense to do the same when we’re creating photos.  If you know you’ll be the subject or the shooter, dress to compliment your scene!  This is especially easy in the fall because you generally know what colors to expect. Next time you are the subject of the photo, you’ll compliment the scenery and visa-versa.

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I planned on only dishing up five tips, but here’s a bonus that works for shooting in any season and setting: Shoot during the golden hour.  This rule basically runs every photographers life.  The light is warm and shadows are long, which creates for interesting and beautiful photographs.  If you want to shoot the changing leaves and natural scenery, shooting during the first hour and last hour of light is highly advantageous.  The colors of the yellow, orange and red leaves will look even more brilliant during the golden hour so plan your walks just before sunset!

Have fun and happy shooting! Oh and if you snap a shot using one of these tips, tag us on IG @liveseasoned because we would love to check it out 🙂

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Winter Photography Tips

Sarah is a professional freelance photographer – she’s always sharing tutorials. Learn how to find flattering natural light for selfies and portraits or catch tips on photographing kids and pets. See what camera Katie shoots with or check out my favorite lenses.

Live Seasoned Spring 16 Photographing Winter Landscapes08Live Seasoned Spring 16 Photographing Winter Landscapes14 We agree, it’s a little bit strange to talk about Winter Photography Tips in mid-April, but did you see all the snow that fell in Boulder this past weekend? It wouldn’t stop! With a house full of food and relatives and the fire on full blast, we enjoyed every second of the snow.  We even made it outside for a hike up the mountainside.  If you’re still enjoying wintery snowscapes, here are a few practice pieces of advice for photographing in the snow. Continue reading

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Our Camera Equipment – Sarah’s Camera

We often get asked about the cameras we use to take pictures for the blog and our instagram account, so today we thought it would be fun to do a series of posts where we each talk about our equipment and how we use it. This won’t be a lesson in photography, rather just a discussion about what we use and why it’s worked for us.

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Sarah here:

I use a Nikon D300s with 24-70mm f2.8 & a 35mm f2.

If I’m being honest, (which of course I’m always striving to be) I’m due for an upgrade. I’ve had this camera for over five years, but I truly love it so the years fly by and I keep clicking with this babe.  The tricky thing about shooting with DSLR cameras is that the lenses are just as important (some would argue more important) than the camera body and the good lenses tend to cost more than the camera body itself, so it’s always a struggle, for a frugal freelancer like me.

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Our Camera Equipment – Katie’s Camera

We often get asked about the cameras we use to take pictures for the blog and our instagram account, so today we thought it would be fun to do a series of posts where we each talk about our equipment and how we use it. This won’t be a lesson in photography, rather just a discussion about what we use and why it’s worked for us.

Katie here :

I use the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7. And sometimes my iPhone 6s.

In the best of ways, I sort of fell into my camera. Calder gave it to me for a gift about five years ago (maybe longer!), and once I started using the LX7, I’ve never wanted anything else. Below I’m listing some of the selling points for me, together these may not seem worth the ticket price for this camera, but what I’ve left out is that this camera is just f’ing amazing for its size. It’s packed with features, and I’m only highlighting a handful.

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How To: Find Flattering Natural Light for Portraits

Sarah is a professional photographer, from time to time she shares general photography tips and specialized tutorials to teach you to take better images.

Did you ever see the Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s girlfriend looks extremely different depending on the lighting? If you haven’t, click the link and get caught up! If you’re a photographer, amateur or professional, you know that lighting is everything in photography, especially when it comes to photographing people and objects.

For the purpose of this post, let’s define flattering natural light as soft, even lighting without hard shadows. Let’s also aim for photos that reflect the true color of the subjects being photographed. We’ll also pretend that these photos are going to be self portraits because everyone is taking selfies these days and really the best way to master a technique is to practice, practice, practice.  You can be sure that you’ll always have yourself and your cell in most situations, so practice looking for flattering light every day that way when you need to find it, you’ll know where to look.

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How To : Photograph Pets

Apparently we loooove giving advice. Here’s a whole archive of How To: posts.  Often times we’re chatting about travel or sharing photography tips.

Happy Monday! We’re keeping it light today with How To: Photograph Pets. One of my favorite photography subjects is my dog, actually any dog or cat or bird. I love animals therefore I’m always trying to take stellar images of them. Added bonus? Photos of pets make the best presents.  Read on for ten simple tips to create better pet portraits.

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Cheap Oversized Photo Art

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How many times have you google searched cheap prints? I have a  l o t. Pretty much every time I have a show or event.  I’m always trying to figure out the best way to produce LARGE photographs inexpensively.  Katie recently introduced me to a new method: Engineer Prints.  Engineer prints reproduce line drawings and graphics with high definition and contrast, but they’re also really great for making large black and white photography prints.  Engineer prints are the perfect low-cost option when you’re looking for a statement piece without the price tag.  Since these prints range from only a buck to $10, the quality is obviously not fit for The Louvre, but they’re definitely awesome enough for a wall in your home or as a focal point at your next art show.

In addition to sharing our love of engineer prints, we also wanted to show you a simple way to add some structure to your print before hanging it. This will help to turn the image from something that looks like a poster into a more substantial piece of art.

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How to: Photograph Young Siblings

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Family portraits are hard.  There’s a good chance everyone involved has varying levels of interest in taking a great portrait.  I’m usually the one in the bunch groaning, so I’m here to tell you how to make future family shots a little less painful, specifically portraits of young siblings.

It all comes down to making it quick, easy and safe for the little ones.  You’re not going to walk away with fifty amazing portraits, but if you get one great shot, the squawks and squeals are all worth it.  In previous posts, we gave you a primer on photography, newborn portraits and kid candids.  I advise skimming those posts to get a better understanding of light and photography before setting up your mini models.

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5 Tips For Taking Better Kid Candids

Taking great kid candids is an important skill to have.  Give any parent a stellar photo of their son or daughter and you’ll be invited over for dinner often.  Throw all those kid candids in a photo album and BOOM you have the best mother’s day present ever, one that will never be duplicated or lost.  If you need more dinner dates or a great father’s day present (it’s already June!) than read on my friends, read on and charge those camera batteries because today’s post includes 5 Tips For Taking Better Kid Candids.

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How To: Take a Newborn Portrait

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Hey baby mommas and poppas! From time to time I like to share photography tips and bits. Today I’ll show you a simple setup for a newborn photography session.  If you have a DSLR, this tutorial is especially for you!  If you’re working with an iPhone or point and shoot camera, these tips will totally help you out too, but there’s going to be some information that you don’t need so just skim through all that junk.  Like I said, this is a simple setup.  Nothing crazy goin’ on here.  I think it’s best to master the basics first and that’s what we’ll be focusing on in this post.

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