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3 Tips For Fall Landscape Photography

Kelsey Johnson
Photographer and Adventurer

The Secret To Taking Better Fall Photos

Having trouble managing tricky lighting conditions when shooting? Add a little oomph to an otherwise lackluster shot by adding some interesting effects to your photos.

I’m Kelsey Johnson (@heykelsey), a freelance travel photographer, who is always up for a new adventure. It’s officially Autumn, my favorite time of year, which means it's the season to get out there and chase some fall colors! For those of you out there that are trying to get the perfect fall foliage photos right now, I wanted to give you a tip that's a complete game  changer—if you want your photos to look more professional, start shooting with filters.

In this post, we're going to go over a couple of my favorite lens filters and in what circumstances you should use them to help enhance your images this fall!

1. Utilize a Polarizer to Capture Fall Colors

A polarizer can really make the colors of fall leaves pop and brighten up a bright blue background for them too. The impact of the circular polarizer can be seen most clearly in the brightening of the sky and in the increased saturation of the colors in the right-hand image.

Before / After (unedited) using a circular polarizer. The circular polarizer helps keep the details in the sky and water reflection without blowing out the highlights.

Without Filter

With Filter

Polarizers are used for a few reasons:

1. Remove glare from the sun (usually on water and glass)

2. Add contrast

3. Enhance and intensify colors

All of these are especially important when shooting in mid day light, which is the #1 you're going to want to use your CP. However, I've found that I really like the little extra punch of color you get from using a polarizer, so I leave one on my camera almost all the time. Most of the images you see on my Instagram I shot using a polarizer!

2. Make Fall Color the Secondary Subject

The temptation is for you to make the primary subject all about the fall colors. Find other primary subjects such as streams and waterfalls that are accented by the fall colors, to make images that have more depth and complexity.

3. Get Creative and Play With Reflections

While this can also work with Spring blooms, photographing a group of colorful trees behind a body a still water make a beautiful mirror image of the scene. Consider taking it a step further by using an ND filter. An ND filter provides photographers the ability to add a dynamic feel of movement, especially noticeable with subjects like flowing water.

Without Filter

With Filter

Neutral density filters are used in order to reduce the amount of light that reaches the camera, so that you're able to do longer exposures during the day. This allows you to capture silky smooth water to compliment the fall colors in your images. I've been having a ton of fun shooting waterfalls this fall using my ND filters.

With this said, it is without a doubt that I will be bringing my PolarPro QuartzLine filters along with me this fall. No matter what type of landscape or colors I am trying to capture, these filters enable me to maximize my creative freedom. Hope this post helped you learn a little bit about how and why to use camera filters to step up your photo game, especially when shooting fall colors!

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