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6 Tips For Capturing Better Autumn Portrait Photos

Autumn is bursting with colour and amazing light which makes it perfect for outdoor portraits.

| Portraits and People

6 Tips For Capturing Better Autumn Portrait Photos: Portrait

Photo by Joshua Waller


Autumn is a great season for many reasons, the obvious being the colours of leaves, but also the colour temperature of the light. The light of early mornings and late afternoon compliments the subtle warm hues of ambers, yellows and rusty reds which make Autumn a perfect time for outdoor portraits

If you're photographing family, autumn portraits also have a great informality about them, as people feel more confident in casual clothing and can just enjoy the outdoors while you focus on capturing images of them.


Location, Location, Location 

Woods, leafy parks and lanes are always the first choice for locations and from a selling point of view, that's what people are looking for as when you think of 'Autumn' shafts of light flowing through autumnal leaf canopies, children having leaf fights and lovers kicking leaves are probably the pictures that come to mind. Yes, it is a little clichéd but they are popular and when done right, can look great. 


Natural Light Is Your Friend 

What makes Autumn shots great is the quality of the natural light, so make sure you use plenty. Speedlights can be used to add extra light to a scene but do remember children have a short attention span so setting the lights up while they are preoccupied. Plus, it can be a pain carrying lots of gear to the woods so if you can, stick to natural light and use reflectors to bounce light in where it's needed or use your flashgun / onboard flash to add a 'pop' of light to faces.


Time Of Day

Even though early morning or later afternoon is always a good time for photography, the beauty of shooting in the Autumn months is that the sun is quite low in the sky all day so it doesn't present too much of an issue. Later in the year, light can be quite harsh on cold frosty mornings, but you can use this to good effect and shoot contre jour.


6 Tips For Capturing Better Autumn Portrait Photos: Portrait

Photo by Joshua Waller


Think About Colour 

Autumn shoots are also about using leaf colour as colourful, out of focus backdrops. Shooting a portrait of a young child with a burgundy hat and scarf against an autumnal scene thrown completely out of focus will create a stunning seasonal shot. 

Also, multi colours work great with children while colours which compliment work well for adults. If you're unsure on colour choices for clothing, grab a colour wheel from a good decorating shop or paint manufacturer and see what works well and what will push the boundaries.


To Pose Or Not To Pose?

A little direction will always help but if you're photographing your family, just watching them enjoy the space, the occasion and each others company makes for great pictures. If you do want a little more structure, go for some full lengths, 3/4 shots and ones which focus just on the head and shoulders. 

For kids, in-your-face style shots work well, particularly when they're wrapped up in hats and scarves, while family group shots can look great when more of the background is in the photo. 


Lens Choices

Longer lenses, such as a 70-200mm that is around the f/4 mark, will help compress backgrounds and really make colours and highlights standout. For the wider, big shot, you can reach for the 18-55mm but do try walking further back with the 70-200mm fitted to see how the scene looks as well. 

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