Monday, 2 October 2017

How to take a perfect Autumn photograph

The first of many Autumn themed Blogtober posts! I see a lot of questions online about how to create that perfect Pinterest worthy, burnt orange and red hued Autumnal photograph. Here's my top tips on how to do just that!

Step one: Subject & Background 

People & Places
Personally, I always aim to achieve what I want the end result to be in-camera as much as possible. Some photographers disagree and tend to do the bare minimum then and there, and leave the rest to Photoshop (or, even worse, VSCO, sorry not sorry). However my advice would be to try and do as much as you can before the editing stage. This all starts with your choice of subject. 
What are you photographing? A person, a landscape, an object? If you're like me and use a model, pick a model with warmer hair tones. Do their/ ask them do their make up in a very fall inspired way; think vampy lipsticks, warm toned eyes, etc. There'll be at least one Autumn make up post coming in Blogtober, so keep your eyes peeled for that, too. For general advice on how to do make up for photography, check out this post.  Have them wear Autumn appropriate clothing, for example. 
It's also important to think about your background. Standing on a beach albeit windy, wet and miserable doesn't exactly give 'fall' vibes, does it? If you're taking a photograph of the landscape itself, it's even more important to pick wisely. Lush green fields won't do. Think of the colour palette: think warm tones, browns, mustards, oranges, reds. Think of crunchy leaves, cosy cafes and all things rustic. If you get a chance to visit a pumpkin patch, definitely do! It's the ultimate fall photography junkie experience. 

Ideas for places to visit for Autumn colours: 
Farmers market/food market
Independent grocers & organic food stores
Pumpkin patch
Florists (always lots of orange displays!)
Quaint/vintage cafes
Forests/parks

Note: if you're visiting a shop, do ask permission to take photos. From my experience it's always yes, it's just considerate to ask.

Objects
There are a lot of things that probably come to mind when you think of Autumn: pumpkins, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice latte, leaves, candles. These are all perfect for photography. Even if you think the object is boring, when photographed in a certain way, it creates a mood and atmosphere. Getting really into the Autumn mood can help, and beginning with an item that is very fall-esque is a good starting point. Even photographing leaves can stimulate an idea of cosy Autumnal days. 

Step Two: Technical & Editing 

When it comes to editing, I think it's a lot more simple than people think. Colour balancing! Just add red. I use photoshop which gives me a lot more control and flexibility, but in a lot of photo editing apps you can find a simplified tool which is usually "add warmth". If you have the tools available you can even select an individual item to make warmer, like a pumpkin, to emphasise the warm tones. Here's an example of targeted colour balancing: 

Colour Balancing Portraits
When it comes to colour balancing portraits, using the targeted colour balance technique (as shown above with the pumpkin) is very important and is something I do for every single portrait I take, no matter the season. Sometimes when you colour correct the whole image, the face can end up an unnatural colour. So when you're adding a lot of red, your model can end up looking unnaturally flushed. Here's how I colour balance portraits:

Lighting
One of the few downsides of Autumn is that it brings poor lighting. It's usually overcast, raining, and the evenings draw in earlier. You can't really fix what nature gives you (I always work with natural light). Use the poor weather to your advantage to create a mood (see step one), it's perfect for eery, halloween-esque photographs! However, when you want brighter photos, it can be an issue. My tip is to use a reflector, particularly one with a gold plate (most are double sided) which will add warm tones. See my photo shoot with Ellis as an example of what kind of results you get with a gold plated reflector. Here's the link to the reflector I use.

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17 comments

  1. That was very helpful. Thanks!

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  2. Great tips and I look forward to shooting some of my own but with a spooky Halloween theme

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  3. Absolutely beautiful photography, and some great tips xXx

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  4. I probably won't do any of these and I'll continue to get plain photos but I loved this :D I love it how you edit photos, but they're still really similar to the original and they don't look edited at all, nice!

    xo Honey - blog Royal Lifestyle - Twitter - Instagram

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  5. Such a great post! The photos are stunning so definitely following your advice.

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  6. Love this post! Anything to do with autumn makes me so happy, such a help as well X

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  7. Your photos are always so inspiring! I wish I could be as good of a photographer as you are!

    Julia xx
    theglassofclass.com

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  8. Love it! Autumn is definitely a time for taking great instagrams! !

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  9. Great tip. Do love taking photos but aren't very good at getting the colours so vibrant. :) Have taken some of the tigers at our local wildlife park but their colours aren't as bright as I would like. :) Only have a relatively cheap camera (gets dragged everywhere) so don't think that helps as I don't like to mess about with the settings too much.

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  10. Thankyou! Me and my husband are visiting the pumpkin patch with our little boy this weekend, and my husband just got a new phone with some great camera tricks so this post is really handy for us to follow, hopefully we will get some great family photos!
    Happy Autumn

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  11. some great tips, and lovely photos. I love taking photos but just don't seem to be able to get the right creative angles these days. I really need to get out there and take some autumnal photos before winter sets in.

    HAYLEY // Wear A Halo

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