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Backlit Autumn Leaves Tutorial

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Category: Flowers and Plants

Backlit Leaves In Autumn - Want to make your autumn images 'pop'? Learn how to use backlight.

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'shades of autumn' by alfpics

One way to exaggerate the colours of autumn is with backlit leaves. Plus, it'll really make the intricate pattern of veins stand out and focus the viewer's attention.


Working close with wide-angle lenses can give creative results, however flare can be a problem. A macro or telezoom lens are ideal but still fit a lens hood to prevent flare. Do check the frame to make sure the lens hood hasn't crept into frame though.

'Pop' And Flare

If you can, move around to position the subject against a darker background to enhance the effect and make sure the camera is shielded to prevent flare. You could use a branch, your hand wrapped around the lens or as mentioned above, fit a lens hood if you have one.

Add Some Flash

If you find the leaf is silhouetting against the sky just add a little fill-in flash. You can also position the flash behind the leaf to create your back light if the sun's not playing ball.


It's best to take a meter reading from the leaves to ensure they are correctly exposed and switching to spot metering will help. If the background's dark you may need to reduce the exposure by about half to one stop to ensure it stays dark. If it's light open up half to one stop. Bracket if you are unsure. Check your histogram too to make sure your shot is correctly exposed.

To make the light around the edge of your subject 'sparkle' you may need to over expose the shot slightly.


Having space between your leaf and its background will help create the distraction, free blurry background we're after. Using an aperture to throw other leaves out of focus can help too.


If you don't want to work outdoors take a few leaves home and photograph them backlit on a lightbox. Or if you don't own one, place a piece of tape over the leaf's stalk and stick it flat against a window. You won't have to worry about wind blowing your subject around at home either.

More Autumn Photography Tips

If you want to learn more about photography during the autumn season Steve Gosling will be holding an OM-D Event titled: 'Autumn Colours' on Monday 5 November 2012 at Bolton Abbey. The course is priced at £50 (normally £99) and more information can be found here: 'Autumn Colours' workshop

You can find more information about other Olympus OM-D Events here: OM-D Events

Find out more about Olympus and their products by clicking these links:


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