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The Ultimate Guide To Autumn Photography

Here's our ultimate guide to kit, things to shoot and places to go in Autumn.

|  General Photography
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Autumn can be a magical season for photographers. Orange leaves on the trees, misty mornings, later sunrises and earlier sunsets all play a part in creating a mystical atmosphere. Some of the conditions can be more challenging than in other seasons, but it's well worth persevering for the beauties you can capture when out and about. Here, you'll find everything you need to know about photographing the season and the kit that will help you to do so. 

Subjects to shoot in autumn

landscape reflection

As with most things, the subjects you shoot in autumn are available all year round but they are in a certain state in autumn that can justify their photography more. Here are some key things that sum up the season:

Fallen leaves - Few things shout about the arrival of autumn like the leaves on the ground as the trees shed their cover and create a carpet of fallen leaves. These are photogenic in many different forms - piles of dry leaves, macros of single leaves, wet mulch patterns on the floor and even skeleton leaves can be found to create interesting textures in your images. Collecting them and bringing them home for staged still life photos opens up your options even further. 

Spider webs covered in dew - Spider webs are intricate and interesting subjects throughout the year but you don't realise just how many are around you until they suddenly become bejewelled and stand out to you in the cold early morning air of a crisp autumn day. Beaded spider webs can actually be quite awe inspiring when photographed up close - the usual places they can be found are fences, conifer trees and on buildings and cars, as well as iron gates and fastenings. Take the time to frame your shot appropriately and you'll have a seriously good macro image on your hands. 

Misty morning sunrise - Autumn signals the end of summer's early rises and as such morning mist tends to linger a lot longer than it used to. As the sun slowly rises (at a much more agreeable time), find yourself a low lying field or a cluster of rolling hills to capture the mist with a bit more interest in the scene. You shouldn't have to travel far most mornings to find somewhere that sets a good scene and offers the mist you're looking for. 

Fiery landscape of trees - As well as the leaves on the ground, you shouldn't discount the ones that remain on the trees earlier in the season. As the leaves start to turn in late September, some fantastic landscapes of trees can be captured showcasing the stunning variety of colours on offer at this time of year. 

Wildlife - As well as the landscape and macro images, there are also some wildlife opportunities that shouldn't be missed. Stags and deer, if you can find them, fit into the autumn scenery very well as they begin to rut. If you have the patience then animals such as foxes, squirrels and rabbits can be captured preparing for the winter. The lack of leaves on the trees can also aid bird photography. 

The first frosts - Later into the season as autumn wears on, you'll begin to see the first frosts of the year and these can be fantastic macro subjects. Look for frosted plants, ironwork and grass - open areas are more likely to frost. In really cold weather woodlands with their fallen trees and stumps can provide really interesting subjects.


Autumn techniques

ePHOTOzine has a wide range of techniques to hand that will help you in your pursuit of fantastic autumn imagery. Here's our pick of the best: 

autumn colours


Places to go

Anywhere with trees, and possibly a body of water for reflections will be a great starting point - your local woodland or country park will be a good start. However there are some truly stunning locations throughout the UK that should be on your bucket list if you're passionate about photography.

For wildlife lovers: 

Richmond park

'Deer at Sunrise In Richmond Park' by NatalieCHurrell

Richmond Park - If you want to photograph deer, Richmond park is a haven that's located in South East London. The deer rut in September and October so it's a great time to catch the stags showing off in the morning and evenings. It's also a protected site and is home to a range of rare species and ancient trees, making to a unique take on the autumn image. 



'Chatsworth House' by Kevin63

Chatsworth House & Gardens - Although payment is required to walk around the formal gardens, Chatsworth House is set in 1000 acres of free to access beautiful park land with a backdrop of trees and a river running through the grounds to boot. It is also home to fallow deer, sheep and cattle. It's a beautifully preserved space that's fantastic for photography. 



'Red.' by mex

Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland - Kielder is a reservoir park that offers fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding woodland. its major selling point though is that it's home to red squirrels. There is also an on-site birds of prey centre as well as Kielder salmon centre, the largest conservation hatchery in England and Wales. 


For spectacular trees:

shades of autumn

'shades of autumn' by bumbleb3

Blickling Estate, Norfolk - This National Trust property offers free entry to those wishing just to walk in the park - perfect for photographers after autumnal trees. The formal gardens and house can be accessed at a fee. There is also a lake that will give you stunning views of the foliage, which will be in all its orange glory by late September.


'Westonbirt.' by sherring

Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury - This is in fact the national arboretum, housing 15,000 specimens of tree from all over the globe. There is lots to learn about the trees while you're there and in autumn there is spectacular variety in colour thanks to the many different species. There is a small admission fee but it's the ideal place for a really wide range of trees.

padley gorge'Padley Gorge 1...2014' by RayHeath

Padley Gorge,  Peak District -  Padley gorge is a hidden gem in the Peak district that has a magical feel to it. Moss covered tree roots and the winding stream offer a great place to explore for all ages and in the autumn the trees that line the gorge add an extra layer of awe. The surrounding land also offers interest to photographers, with rugged sheep and the remains of stone circles dotted around. 

llangollen sunset

'Llangollen Sunset' by Satlight

Llangollen, Denbighshire - The Llangollen area in North Wales is ideal for capturing the autumn colours with a bit of something else in the frame too - whether that be the railway or many of the other points of interest local to the area such as Dinas Barn castle and Valle Crucis Abbey. You can ride the railway for unique views but the images will be just as lovely with the train in shot from a distance, too. 


For reflections:

autumn at derwent

'Autumn at Derwent' by MikeMcCuskerLRPS

Derwent Dam, Peak District - Visit the dam on a still autumn day and you can achieve stunning reflection photos on Derwent Reservoir Ladybower and Howden reservoirs, which are joined. The place was made famous by the Dambusters, who practised and flew on this site. Stunning views of the water can also be captured by hiking Stanage Edge, for the more limber. 

The boathouse on Ullswater 'The boathouse on Ullswater' by RocketRon

Ullswater, Lake District - Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District and offers wonderful rugged scenery along with atmospheric mists in the Autumn. In the neighbouring Glencoyne park which can be reached from the lake William Wordsworth found the inspiration for the famous poem 'Daffodils'. 


Handy kit for autumn

There are a few accessories that will aid your autumn shooting - here's our pick of the best for the season:

Light box 

leaves lightbox

A light box is a great piece of kit for photographing fallen leaves as when placed on the box, you'll be able to get some fantastic macro images of the intricate veins and textures of the leaf. 

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Amazon tripod

For the sweeping landscapes and vistas of fiery orange trees, it can help to set the camera up on a tripod in order to frame the ideal scene and make sure everything is straight before shooting. Something light and portable will do the trick if you're walking a long way - it doesn't need to be anything too heavy. Amazon sell a wide range of lightweight tripods - their basics 50" tripod is a steal at under £15. 

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Polarising filter 

Polarising filter

A polarising filter is ideal in autumn because it deepens blue skies and cuts glare - making shades of leaves deeper and richer. Low sun at this time of year can make unsightly glare on windows and metal objects that might also be in the frame, and a polariser will help to combat this. Just make sure you purchase the right sized filter for your lens. 

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Grad filters

Graduated filters

Grad filters can help to give a more even exposure in landscapes where the brightness of the sky might cause the landscape to appear underexposed or even silhouetted. This isn't what you want if the main punchline of your image is the fantastic colours of the trees. Apply a graduated filter for more even exposure. 

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waterproof jacket

Autumn can be a changeable season and any walk is likely to involve showers so it's best to be prepared and take waterproof clothing with you. 

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Camera rain cover 

camera rain cover

Inclement weather can spell trouble for your kit. A lot of kit these days is weather resistant however it's always better to exercise caution. Rain covers will allow you to set up and shoot in all weather - some of the best shots can be achieved when it's raining!

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Walking boots


For hiking long distances in the woods to achieve your autumnal images, sturdy footwear is recommended for your comfort and safety. Invest in a good pair of hiking boots to keep your feet warm, supported and dry. 

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